Vol. 39 No. 10 December 2022 FFRF convention photos 2022 (San Antonio) Tahira Clayton of the Godless Gospel, produced by FFRF, sings “Let’s All Give Thanks,” written by FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, during FFRF’s national convention on Oct. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk in San Antonio. The Alamo is perhaps the most iconic and famous building in San Antonio, Texas. It is located less than a block from where FFRF’s national convention was held on Oct. 28-29. Esteemed author John Irving speaks remotely to the FFRF convention audience on Oct. 29 at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio. In the background you can see his Oscar and FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award. Adrienne Martin, right, earned FFRF’s Strong Backbone Award for fighting book banning, advocating against discrimination and organizing to promote equality in Texas. She was introduced at the convention by FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. Jim Hightower thanks the audience after giving his speech. Buzz Kemper grabs a selfie with members of Godless Gospel, including Tahira Clayton (hidden), Mandisa Thomas, DeAngela Morant, Cynthia McDonald, Steven Phelps and Candace Gorham. Will Larkins, a senior at Winter Park High School in Florida, talked about his protests of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and other attacks on LGBTQ students. He received FFRF’s $5,000 Catherine Fahringer Student Activist Award. FFRF Legal Assistant Great Martens and FFRF Bookkeeper Eleanor McEntee were mainstays at the Help Desk throughout the convention. Rogiérs Fibby gets animated during a rendition of Dan Barker’s “I Don’t Need Jesus.” Barker is executive producer of Godless Gospel. Max Nibert, a student activist from Huntington, W.Va., received the Richard and Beverly Hermsen Student Activist Award of $5,000 for orchestrating a walkout at his high school over a religious revival held on campus. Daryl Cobranchi, right, is handed the Freethinker of the Year Award by FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott for being a successful plaintiff in FFRF’s court challenge of recitation of the Lord’s Prayer to open meetings of the Parkersburg, W.Va., City Council. Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt, right, was given FFRF’s Champion of the First Amendment Award. FFRF Board Member Jeremiah Camara presented the plaque to Hunt. Daniel Mach, right, accepts, on behalf of the ACLU, the Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award. Presenting the award is FFRF Board Chair Stephen Hirtle. Alice Greczyn, right, shows off the Freethought Heroine Award presented to her by FFRF State Advocacy Specialist Ryan Dudley. The award recognizes the special contributions of women to freethought and the battle to keep state and church separate. Hector Garcia, a psychologist and assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center, gave a speech titled, “Apes, Gods and Reproductive Health Policy.” Former gospel producer Andre Forbes is the artistic producer of Godless Gospel and wrote the songs “Never Be Ashamed” and “I Believe in Honesty.” Val Benavidez, president and executive director for the Texas Freedom Network, spoke on the topic of “As Politicians Mess Around, We Organize!” FFRF Board Member Todd Peissig and Eric Lawrence have been in charge of the “clean money” tickets for years. Candace Gorham, a mental health counselor and atheist-humanist activist, held a breakout session during the Friday lunch break called “On Death, Dying and Disbelief.” Jason Benell, right, receives FFRF’s Nothing Fails Like Prayer Award from Freethought Today Editor PJ Slinger. Benell won the award for giving a secular, rather than sectarian, invocation at the start of a session of the Iowa Legislature. The Black Activist & Nonbelief Panel included, from left, moderator Mandisa Thomas, Candace Gorham, Rogiers Fibby, Andre Forbes, DeAngela Morant and Cynthia McDonald. All six were also part of the Godless Gospel that performed later that evening. FFRF Attorney Chris Line was the main photographer for the convention. FFRF thanks Steve Solomon and Gonzo Pozo for also taking photos. Stephanie Benicek keeps an eye on the stage as she controls the camera. Dr. Anthea Butler, right, earned FFRF’s Champion of the First Amendment Award. Butler is associate professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Presenting the award is FFRF Board Member Sue Kocher. Aaron Hill is keyboardist for Godless Gospel. Buzz Kemper calls out a winning namer after Elle Harris pulled it from the tumbler. DeAngela Morant takes her turn as lead singer during the song “Never Be Ashamed,” written by Andre Forbes. Godless Gospel drummer Charles Wilson and bass player Amos Perry (not pictured) keep the beat. Ensaf Haider accepts the $5,000 Avijit Roy Courage Award on behalf of her husband, Raif Badawi. Badawi spent 10 years in Saudi prison for “apostasy.” He was released this year, but remains in house detention. Barbara Alvarez, FFRF’s former Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights intern, held a breakout session on “What You Can do to Support Abortion Rights.” Meggie Gilfillan took care of audio and video responsibilites throughout the convention. FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert, center, speaks with FACT volunteer Katie Gaines as Freethought Today Editor PJ Slinger helps a member get checked in. FFRF staffers Ryan Dudley and Kat Grant work the registration table during the opening night reception at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk. Mallory Johnson was in charge of floor manager duties for the convention, which included helping out on the camera, as needed. FFRF Communications Director Amitabh Pal worked the books sales tables during much of the convention. Winners of the 2022 “clean money” drawing are, from left, Kevin Gough, Stephen Hirtle, Fred Holden, Robert Joy, Robin Caldwell, Marcy Garb, David Murray Solomon, Shirley Scribner, Stephen Griffiths, Jim Moss, Tim Heywood and Julie Olsen. Fruits and cheeses were among the delicious hors d’oeuvres offered at the reception. Julia Sweeney and Dan Barker enjoy a conversation that touched on a multitude of topics. Cosima Hensley works on a notebook while her mom, Mikel, an FFRF state rep and Kentucky chapter activist, rests between convention sessions. FFRF Events and Outreach Manager Sadie Pattinson handled many of the convention details, and is shown here introducing student essay winners. Deana Williams, Candace Gorham and FACT volunteer Katie Gaines are all smiles. FFRF Director of Operations Lisa Strand and FACT volunteer Phil Session helped at the convention registration tables. FACT volunteer Gonzo Pozo handled many duties, including assisting with photography of the convention. FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert moderated the “Ask An Attorney” Q&A session while FFRF Attorney Sam Grover, among others, answered questions from the audience. From left: FFRF attorneys Patrick Elliott, Chris Line and Ryan Jayne and FFRF Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann discuss FFRF’s legal, legislative and lobbying efforts in the past year. Margaret Downey and Mark Dann show off a photo of the proposed Thomas Paine statue, still awaiting congressional approval. FFRF Shop Manager Katina Gehn, FFRF Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence and FFRF Attorney Ryan Jayne take a brief break from their convention duties. Jason Benell, FFRF’s Nothing Fails Like Prayer awardee, enjoys a laugh with a group that includes Dan Barker and Margaret Downey. FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker welcome 500 attendees to FFRF’s 45th annual convention. Gourmet pizzas were part of the hors d’oeuvres offered during the opening night reception. Convention attendees grab lanyards for their name badges after checking in at the registration table. The famous San Antonio Riverwalk flows past the Hyatt Regency, site of FFRF’s 45 annual convention. Josiane Martinez, FFRF Board Member David Tamayo and SSA Director Kevin Bolling enjoying a laugh. Student activists Max Nibert, left, and Will Larkins, right, pose with FFRF Board Member Todd Peissig. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin gives a pre-recorded speech that opened the evening session on Friday, Oct. 28. U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman also spoke at the convention via a video. Erin Johnson handled much of the camera work during the convention. An enthusiastic FFRF member checks in at the registration table on Thursday, Oct. 28. Elle Harris, age 11, received the first “Out of God’s Closet” $5,000 student scholarship, endowed by the late Diane Uhl in memory of her husband Stephen Uhl. Elle is the author of two books, including Elle the Humanist. She was introduced by Stephen’s nephew, Greg Uhl. Erin Louis (California) listens intently to a discussion at her table during the opening reception. Will Jeudy (Texas) chats with FFRF Board Member David Tamayo and Mandisa Thomas. Julia Sweeney claps during the performance of Godless Gospel, which closed out the Friday session. Gonzo Pozo, a volunteer with the Freethinkers Association of Central Texas (FACT), helps check in an FFRF member. Lifetime Members Mira and Dave Peck of New York made the trip to San Antonio to join in the convention festivities.