The 46th Annual Convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation took place on
October 13–15, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Photos by Staff Attorney Chris Line and Photographer Kyle Hilker
FFRF ATTORNEYS & LEGISLATIVE STAFF
FFRF attorneys presenting include:
Legal Director Rebecca Markert, Senior Legal Counsel Patrick Elliott, Associate Counsel Liz Cavell, Intake Attorney Maddy Ziegler. Legislative staff presenting include Governmental Affairs Director Mark Dann and Senior Policy Counsel Ryan Jayne.
2023 LEGAL REPORT
2023 ANNUAL REPORT
Bryanna, in a cameo appearance, introduced one of the two student activist awardees suing over cancellation of a drag show sponsored by student clubs on the West Texas A&M campus. She’s performed for 19 years and won Miss Gay WI USofA 2011 and Miss Club Wisconsin 2018.
Marcus is 19, and is a junior majoring in political science at West Texas A&M University. He received the Stephen and Diane Uhl “Out of God’s Closet” Student Activist Award of $5,000 as a plaintiff challenging university censorship of 19, a junior majoring in political science at West Texas A&M University, will receive the Stephen and Diane Uhl “Out of God’s Closet” Student Activist Award of $5,000 as a plaintiff challenging university censorship of a secular student club’s drag show benefit. View Marcus's speech here.
Latina, in a cameo appearance, introduced one of the two student activist awardees suing over cancellation of a drag show sponsored by student clubs on the West Texas A&M campus. She’s in an all-Latina group with her drag sisters and has performed as a backup dancer at a national pageant with Wisconsin’s 2023 Entertainer of the Year.
Bear, 21, is a senior majoring in civil engineering at West Texas A&M University, and received the Richard and Beverly Hermsen Student Activist Award of $5,000 as a student plaintiff challenging university censorship of a secular student club’s drag show benefit. View Bear's speech here.
Gordon received FFRF’s “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” award for giving secular invocations before two commissions in Florida this year.
Jen is the national director of abortion service delivery at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She accepted on behalf of Planned Parenthood the $35,000 Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award. View Jen's speech here.
Kate received the Freethought Heroine Award. She is a contributing columnist to the Washington Post, an Emmy Award-winning documentary script writer and author of three books, including the just released We of Little Faith: Why I Stopped Pretending to Believe (And Maybe You Should Too), which she signed.
Elie Mystal, who received FFRF’s Clarence Darrow Award, is a Harvard Law School graduate and Justice Correspondent for The Nation, who signed copies of his bestseller: Allow Me To Retort — A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution.
Emily is a business owner and member of the city council in Owosso, Mich., and she received a special “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” Award for attempting to persuade the council to discontinue prayer.
Lizz, a political satirist, received FFRF’s “Emperor Has No Clothes Award.” She was co-creator and head writer of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” She co-founded Air America Radio, and is a founder of Abortion Access Front, a team of comedians, writers and producers who use humor to destigmatize abortion and expose the extremist forces working to destroy reproductive rights access in all 50 states.
Mary, a noted abortion rights legal expert/advocate and Harvard Law School graduate, received FFRF’s “Forward Award.” The 2023 Guggenheim Fellow has written six books on abortion history and rights and will sign copies of Dollars for Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment and Roe: The History of a National Obsession. She is a will sign copies of Dollars for Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment and Roe: The History of a National Obsession. She is a law professor at the University of California–Davis.
STUDENT ESSAY WINNERS
CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM PANEL
SAMUEL L. PERRY
(Ph.D., University of Chicago) is professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma and co-author of the award-winning Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (with Andrew Whitehead) and The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy (with Philip Gorski), which he’ll be signing.
Andrew is VP of Strategic Communications at Americans United, is an attorney and will be signing copies of his books: The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American and American Crusade: How the Supreme Court is Weaponizing Religious Freedom.
Mike has been a Minnesota state representative since 2013, after serving on the Golden Valley City Council for nine years. He’s a founding member of the Minnesota Secular Government Caucus. Freiberg works as an attorney for a nonprofit organization committed to improving public health.
Athena is a Minnesota state representative first elected in 2020. She has a law degree from St. Thomas School of Law, is vice chair of Rules and Legislative Administration and is part of the Minnesota Secular Government Caucus. She represents St. Paul, District 66B.
Kelda was first elected to the Wisconsin state Assembly in 2008. She served as minority caucus chair in 2011 and was elected to the state Senate in 2020. She earned her B.A. in Drama, Politics and Cultural Studies, New York University 2000, and her J.D., magna cum laude, University of Wisconsin Law School, 2004.
Jeremiah serves on FFRF’s Executive Board. He is an author and the filmmaker of “Contradiction: A Question of Faith” and “Holy Hierarchy: The Religious Roots of Racism in America,” both screening on Amazon. View Jeremiah's speech here.
ROBERT P. JONES
Robert is founder and president of Public Religion Research Institute. He is author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity and the new The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future and will sign copies.
Mark is U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 2nd District, FFRF’s home of Madison, Wis. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, among others. He previously served 14 years in the Wisconsin Assembly and owned a small printing business.
CLEAN MONEY DRAWING
WATCH GODLESS GOSPEL'S PERFORMANCE
FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, executive producer.
Songs by Dan and Andre.
Tahira Clayton, jazz vocalist; Candace Gorham, author of The Ebony Exodus Project; Cynthia McDonald, Freedmen of Chicago activist; Heather Kinley, country singer; DeAngela Morant, businesswoman;
Mandisa Thomas, Black Nonbelievers president; Steven Phelps, Nashville Sunday Assembly; Emily Sundin, make-up artist. Keyboard: Andre Forbes. Drums: Charles Wilson. Bass: Amos Perry. Organ: Aaron Hill.