FFRF Brian Bolton Graduate Students/Older Students Essay Contest

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brianboltonFor Graduate Students to age 30 or Undergrads 25 to 30

First Place, Brian Bolton Award — $3,000

Second Place — $2,000

Third Place — $1,000

Fourth Place — $75o

Fifth Place — $500

Sixth Place — $400

Honorable Mention(s) — $200


Eligibility: Currently enrolled graduate student up to age 30, or undergrads ages 25-30, attending a North American college or university, including but not limited to someone graduating or earning a degree in Spring or Summer 2014.

Topic: Write a persuasive analysis of the newest danger to the Establishment Clause: The radical redefinition of “religious freedom” to include the right to impose one’s religious beliefs on others. Research and include at least some examples, such as religious litigants opposing Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate or states passing laws to allow businesses to decline services to same-sex couples based on religious objections, or other issues, such as statutes exempting faith-healing parents from prosecution. Or analyze what’s right or wrong with the Supreme Court’s ruling this summer in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby (in which a corporation claims its “religious beliefs” are violated by permitting employees to exercise their own freedom of conscience).

Length: 750 to 1,000 words. Include word count. Submit typed, double-spaced essay with standard margins.

Other Requirements: Choose own title. Do not include resumé. Please staple and place your name and essay title on each page. Include a separate paragraph identifying your age, birthdate, hometown, college or university, year in school or degree being earned, previous degree(s) earned, major and interests. Include your name, mailing address, phone number(s), and e-mail address. Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Essay must be submitted both by mail and e-mail by deadline (see below). 

Dean & Dorea Schramm, FFRF members, are offering a $100 bonus to any student winner who is a member of FFRF, a secular student club or the Secular Student Alliance, at the time the essay is submitted. Join SSA free online at: www.secularstudents.org, under donate. To be eligible for the bonus, be sure to specify in your bio whether you belong to FFRF, a secular student club (please name) or have joined SSA online.

By entering contest, students agree to have winning essays printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF’s newspaper, and later posted online at FFRF’s website. Winners agree to promptly provide a photograph suitable for reproduction with their essay. Winners will receive a school-year subscription to Freethought Today. All eligible non-winning students will be offered a subscription or a freethought book. Note: FFRF monitors for plagiarism.

Deadline: Postmarked no later than July 15, 2014. Winners announced in September. Mailing specifications: Send both by email and mail, no later than July 15, 2014. Email your essay no later than midnight, July 15, 2014, to: [email protected]. Use the word “essay” and your first and last name in the subject heading. Example: Essay: (Your full name). Also mail (postmarked by July 15, 2014) to:

Graduate/Older Student Essay Competition


PO Box 750

Madison WI 53701

The competition is generously endowed by Brian Bolton, an FFRF Lifetime Member who is a retired psychologist, humanist minister and university professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas.

Freedom From Religion Foundation