Meet a member: Fred Spoerl wants to make the world a better place
Name: Frederick “Fred” Spoerl.
Where I live: Sun City, Palm Desert, Calif.
Where I was born: Born and raised in Great Falls, Mont. I lived in Denver for 22 years, Las Vegas for five years and Reno for three years.
Family: I am divorced and have one daughter (Kimberley, 59) who won’t talk to me because I am an atheist. I have one sister (Charlotte, 87) and one brother (Erick, 62), a Mormon who also doesn’t talk to me.
Education: I’m just a high school graduate, though I’m pretty much self-taught.
Military service: I served in the Air Force for four years.
Occupation: I started my own manufacturers’ representative company in the office supply business when I was 28. I eventually built the business to where I owned two office supply stores. I was also a partner in a furniture store and a travel agency, all located in the Denver area. I lost most of my assets in the recession in late 1980s and to the big box stores. I moved to Kalispell, Mont., and opened an art gallery in Bigfork, Mont. Eventually, I sold the business and retired.
When my doubts about religion started: I was saying the Apostles Creed in church one day when I was 23 years old and realized that it didn’t make any sense, so I started to search for the answers. I stumbled into the Church of Scientology and thought that was going to be great, until I heard L. Ron Hubbard say we came from other planets billions of years ago in planes like DC-6s, thrown into volcanos, then were blown up to occupy humans with implants call engrams. “Now that,” I said to myself, “is crazy.”
I was at a craft show and saw an atheist booth. That’s where I picked up FFRF’s book The Born-Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible by Ruth Hurmence Green. After reading it, I almost immediately became a “born-again atheist.” I have read most of the books written by Dan Barker, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and many others like that.
Ways I promote freethought: While living in Kalispell, I headed up the Flathead Freethought Forum group and was the first one to have an atheist booth at the county fair. I’ve had more “I’ll pray for you” comments than I could count. Kalispell is a city where there is a Ten Commandments sign every couple blocks. I have written dozens of letters to the editor to the Daily Interlake, Kalispell’s newspaper, causing a lot of controversy. I have had hate mail sent to me and was personally threatened a couple times.
I am a Lifetime member of FFRF and have FFRF in my will. I love to discuss religion and politics. Whenever I am with a group of people that starts to discuss religion, I immediately say, “I am a born-again atheist” to get the conversation going. I believe that if everyone does that, people will see that we are probably one of the most honest and kind groups of people there is.
Person in history I admire and why: By far, the person I admire most and my favorite author is Robert Green Ingersoll, who has many great quotes, such as “The way to be happy is to make others happy,” and “Tolerance is giving every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”
Things I like: People who are nice and thoughtful, and dogs who have the power to love no matter what.
Things I smite: Those “Jim Jones Republicans” who are trying to destroy our country. They are always angry and won’t discuss anything with you without becoming so angry they can’t talk cognitively and just leave. The same as trying to talk to evangelical Christians. Their idea of making America great again is to go back when the “N” word was acceptable, when whites had their own neighborhoods, bathrooms and schools, and gays stayed out of the public eye.
Before I die: Even being over the age of 80, I would like to find a companion who has similar ideals; someone who I and my dog Rylie could share the rest of our lives with. I have so much to share and believe the best years of my life are in the future.
My goal (and passion) is to make the world a better place by exposing the harm religion has done to our planet. Religion and major corporations are the obstacles in achieving this because corporations control the money and religions control the mind.
I want to see the day where an outspoken atheist can be elected to Congress, and then see the beginning of a new kind of government built on honesty, integrity and common sense, far away from those who believe in imaginary supernatural belief systems.
I wish you would have asked me: About my book. I have recently published a children’s book titled Beyond the Next Star, where I try to get children to question those things they were told by others. It is self-published and available on Amazon.