Nation’s largest nontheist organization congregates in Pittsburgh

The nation’s largest nontheist organization has a fascinating lineup to offer at its annual convention in Pittsburgh in early October.

After eight years as a closeted atheist in the Bible Belt, a former conservative pastor will be coming out publicly at Freedom From Religion Foundation’s gathering in Pittsburgh the weekend of Oct. 7-9. “Adam Mann” is co-founder of The Clergy Project, a support group for clergy who lose faith.

Humanist activist Rafida Bonya Ahmed, who survived a machete attack by fundamentalists in Bangladesh for being an atheist, will receive FFRF’s new “Forward” award. (Her husband, Avijit Roy, was killed in the same attack.) Pennsylvania author Lauri Lebo, who covered the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, will be named 2016 Freethought Heroine. Marie Schaub will be honored as an “atheist in a foxhole” by FFRF for her work as plaintiff in a local FFRF lawsuit against the New Kensington-Arnold School District for having a granite Ten Commandments monument in front of a high school. And FFRF’s Co-President Dan Barker will take to the podium to discuss his lawsuit against Congress and his new book God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction.

The Friday keynote speaker will be Lawrence Krauss, the internationally known theoretical physicist. He will receive the Emperor Has No Clothes award from FFRF, reserved for public figures who make known their dissent from religion.

Barker, a former minister who became an atheist, and eminent Tufts philosopher Daniel C. Dennett are among the other founders of The Clergy Project. Dennett will be one of the convention’s keynote speakers. His Saturday night speech is titled, “Has the dam broken? Omens and worries.”

Other notables speaking at this year’s convention include author Susan Jacoby and science author Jerry Coyne. Jacoby is the author of 11 books, most recently Strange Gods: A Secular History of ConversionJacoby is a previous recipient of FFRF’s Freethought Heroine award. Coyne is professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. He has written 119 scientific papers and 150 popular articles, book reviews and a trade book about the evidence for evolution Why Evolution is TrueCoyne will sign copies of his latest book, Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.

Another co-founder of The Clergy Project who will speak at the convention is Linda LaScola. She is co-author, with Dennett, of Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind and Preachers Who Are Not Believers. She is also editor of the Patheos blog, Rational Doubt: With Voices from the Clergy ProjectLaScola is a clinical social worker with years of professional experience as a qualitative researcher and psychotherapist.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Send this to a friend