Meet an Office Volunteer: Charles D. Hoornstra

hoornstra chuckName: Charles D. Hoornstra.       

Where I live: Madison, Wis.   

Where I was born: Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Family: My wife and two daughters — one with two children, a girl age 13 and a boy age 11.       

Why I volunteer for FFRF: Like Madison and Jefferson, I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. For me, as a nonbeliever, FFRF is a home for like-minded people who insist on intellectually honest thinking.       

What I do as a volunteer: So far, I have graded student essays. 

What I like best about it: I am very impressed with the quality of the young people. They are resolute in their independent reasoning. They don’t let myths or false assumptions get in the way. Plus, many of them are outstanding writers with compelling personal stories to tell.

Something funny that’s happened at work: Being retired, I have no current work story to tell. But I must confess the other day I stupidly emailed my water bill payment to Madison, Ala., instead of to Madison, Wis.

Education: Madison West High School, 1959; B.A. and M.A. in philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1963, 1965; J.D., UW-Madison Law School, 1967.

My day job is/was/will eventually be: I am a retired Wisconsin assistant attorney general. I worked in a variety of areas in my 36 years, including positions in state government and at the University of Wisconsin. I taught business law courses at UW-Platteville and UW-Madison. For many years I served the Law School in an ad hoc capacity, teaching the practicum courses. I still help out with the moot court programs.

Education: Undergraduate, graduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

These three words sum me up:  According to my grandchildren, I am awesome, funny and fair. But of course, they are the least objective people in the world on that question.

My freethought heroes are: David Hume, John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell.

Things I like: Sports, history and being a grandfather.

Things I smite: Confirmation bias (starting with a desired conclusion, rejecting conflicting facts and cherry-picking supportive facts). 

Why did I closet my atheism so long? Because I did not want to tarnish my father’s community legacy. He was an effective and popular local pastor.

More in this category: « Meet an Intern: Noah Brunell

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