Freethought Today · June/July 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF convention lineup nearly finalized!

Reserve hotel rooms before they're gone

You aren't going to want to miss out on FFRF's 40th annual convention the weekend of Sept. 15-17 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis., featuring amazing guest speakers and performers, including comedian Paula Poundstone, writer Katha Pollitt, activist Maryam Namazie, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and many more!

But don't delay in reserving your hotel rooms or they might be gone! FFRF offers convention blocks at three hotels this year to accommodate more registrants! (See below for more hotel information, or go to ffrf.org/outreach/convention.)

Take a tour of Freethought Hall during its open house on Friday, Sept. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

FFRF convention attendeees are invited to take a boat cruise on Madison's Lake Monona Friday, Sept. 15, from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., prior to the start of the convention. For $50 per person, you'll be treated to a two-hour tour with a buffet and a cash bar for beverages. And for dinner on Friday, join us for the Wisconsin Tailgate Party buffet, which will feature the Forward! Marching Band.

Here are the confirmed speakers/entertainers:

Paula Poundstone

Poundstone is one of America's top comedians and is listed in Comedy Central's list of "100 Greatest Stand-Ups Of All Time" and also won an American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup Comic. She routinely identifies as an atheist in her performances.

Katha Pollitt

Pollitt is well known for her column that runs in The Nation, "Subject to Debate," which the Washington Post called "the best place to go for original thinking on the left." She will be receiving FFRF's Forward Award at the convention.

Kimberly Veal

Veal is president of People of Color Beyond Faith, president and host of the Black FreeThinkers Radio Network, IT trainer and community and social justice activist.

Maryam Namazie

Namazie is an Iranian-born secularist and human rights activist, commentator and broadcaster living in London. She will be receiving the 2017 Henry H. Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religion Award.

Steven Pinker

Harvard's Pinker is FFRF's honorary president, a cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is one of the world's foremost writers on language, mind and human nature. He is Harvard's Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology.

Cara Santa Maria

Santa Maria is a Los Angeles-area Emmy and Knight Foundation Award-winning journalist, science communicator and host of the weekly science podcast, "Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria." She'll receive FFRF's Freethought Heroine Award.

Michelle Goldberg

Goldberg is an author and columnist for Slate and frequent MSNBC commentator on the Religious Right. Goldberg's first book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, was a finalist for the 2007 New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Brent Michael Davids

Davids is an American composer and flautist and is a member of the Stockbridge Mohican nation of American Indians. He has composed for Zeitgeist, Kronos Quartet, Joffrey Ballet, the National Symphony Orchestra and Chanticleer.

Roy Zimmerman

Zimmerman is an American satirical singer-songwriter and guitarist with a repertoire of irreverent songs. He wrote a series of satirical musical revues in the 1980s.

Zenos Frudakis

Frudakis, of Philadelphia, is an award-winning sculptor of public monuments, portrait statues, busts and figurative sculptures, including his new statue of Clarence Darrow.

Kelly Helton

Helton, a 12-year-old seventh-grader from Kentucky, will give a short talk about her activism, including sitting down for the Pledge of Allegiance.

A roster of victorious state/church plaintiffs, who will be named Freethinkers of the Year, include Marie Schaub, Jesse Castillo and Kevin Price, and Jerry Bloom. FFRF staff attorneys will also give a legal presentation.

Hotel info

Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, 9 E. Wilson Street, is the official convention hotel and connects to Monona Terrace. Call 608-255-5100 to make a reservation for the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" group rate. The group rate cut-off date is Aug. 16.

Best Western Premier Park Hotel, 22 S. Carroll Street, is right on the Capitol Square, just 0.3 miles from Monona Terrace. Call 800-279-8811 or 608-285-8000 to reserve rooms in the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" block. The group rate reservation cut-off is Aug. 14.

Sheraton Madison Hotel, 706 John Nolen Drive, is 2 miles away from Monona Terrace, with shuttle service available. Call 608-251-2300 or 866-716-8134 (toll-free) to reserve a room. The group rate cut-off date is Aug. 15.

For specific information about the convention, including the registration form, go to ffrf.org/convention2017.

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