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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Meet a Member: Helping refugees rewarding for Executive Board member

Name: Stef Moritz

Where I live: Downtown Madison, Wis., just a few blocks from Freethought Hall.

Where I was born: Elgin, Ill.

Family: Husband Vince Jenkins and 17-year-old cat, Ginger.

Education: I have a master’s degree in what they used to call “library science.”

Occupation: Retired public librarian. For 28 years, I worked in libraries in Illinois and Phoenix.

How I got where I am today: I have a stubborn streak, inherited from my late mother. Sometimes it’s a liability, but, on the positive side, it makes me persistent!

Where I’m headed: Well, not into the afterlife, for sure. I just want to live a good life while I’m here, respect the planet and its myriad, diverse forms of life, and when my time is finished, donate my brain to dementia research.

Person in history I admire and why: Charlotte Bronte, because she invented the admirable, strong character, Jane Eyre.

A quotation I like: “The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.” — Dan Millman.

These are a few of my favorite things: Orange tabbies, extra-dark chocolate, gummy bears, quiet evenings on the couch reading with my hubby, traveling to new and exotic places.

These are not: People who call mainstream media “fake news,” creationists, climate-change deniers, racists and bigots. (Do you see a pattern here?)

My doubts about religion started: Actually, later on in life. I was raised in a devout Catholic family and my education in parochial schools did not encourage me to question the tenets of the religion. In adulthood, I became aware that my personal beliefs were more and more out of sync with church teachings regarding homosexuality, birth control and the exclusively male power structure. The final break came after the devastating attacks on 9/11, when I fully realized what a destructive force religion could be. Since then, religion has played no role in my life and I am at peace with that. I’m OK with people who get something out of religion, as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on anyone else.

Before I die: I’d like someone, somewhere, to feel that I changed their life for the better.

Ways I promote freethought: I serve as secretary on FFRF’s Executive Board and support other organizations which champion not only freethought, but freedom of expression. As a former librarian, I abhor censorship and believe that we cannot have a free society without freedom of expression.

How I like to spend my free time: I volunteer in a number of capacities, but what is most rewarding is helping recent refugees adapt to their new lives in the United States. I enjoy one-on-one English language tutoring and am currently working with some refugee women from Iraq. I also volunteer on a regular basis for the Wisconsin chapter of The Nature Conservancy, where they have bestowed upon me the title of “Land Inquiries Specialist.”

Stef Moritz