Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Sign up now for FFRF’s 42nd annual convention!

Vol. 36 No. 02 March 2019
Andrew L. Seidel                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

You’re invited to join the Freedom From Religion Foundation at our 42nd annual national convention on the weekend of Friday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Drive, in Madison, Wis.

As always, it will be a weekend of great speakers, awesome people, good food, irreverent music and a chance to recharge your secular and freethinking battery. You won’t want to miss it! Please make your hotel reservations early to avoid disappointment.

Early-bird confirmed speakers include:

Frederick Clarkson is a senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank. He is the author, co-author or editor of several books, including Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy and Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America. He has written about politics and religion for a wide range of publications for more than three decades, from Mother Jones, Church & State, and Ms. Magazine to The Christian Science Monitor and Salon.com.  Last year in Religion Dispatches, he broke the story about Project Blitz, a Christian Right state legislative campaign with long range theocratic intentions.

Anthony B. Pinn, a professor of humanities and religion at Rice University, is the founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning at Rice. In addition, he is director of research for the Institute for Humanist Studies. He earned the African American Humanist Award from the Council for Secular Humanism; Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association Humanist of the Year (2017), and the Harvard University Humanist Association Humanist of the Year (2006). He is the author/editor of over 35 books, including many on freethought, humanism and the intersection of race and religion. He will be receiving FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award.

Andrew L. Seidel, the director of strategic response at FFRF, where he uses his law degree to challenge religious bullies. Andrew’s first book The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American features a foreword by author Susan Jacoby and a preface by FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. The Founding Myth, published by Sterling Press, comes out in May and is highly anticipated with positive reviews. Seidel also appears on FFRF’s podcasts and shows, and has debated religion and government on networks such as MSNBC and Fox News.

Mandisa Thomas, the founder and president of Black Nonbelievers (“Walking by Sight, Not Faith”), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2013 with 14 affiliates around the nation. Black Nonbelievers connects with blacks (and allies) who are living free of religion, and who might otherwise be shunned by family and friends. She has a number of media appearances to her credit, including “CBS Sunday Morning,” CNN.com, Playboy, The Humanist and Jet magazine, as well as FFRF’s TV show, “Freethought Matters.” Thomas currently serves on the board for American Atheists and previously for Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Coalition for America. Additionally, she was named the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association’s 2018 Person of the Year. Thomas will be named FFRF’s 2019 Freethought Heroine.

General Schedule

The pre-convention open house is Friday, Oct. 18, at Freethought Hall, FFRF’s national office.

The official starting time of the convention, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center (1 John Nolen Drive, Madison) is 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, continuing through Saturday night. FFRF’s membership and state representative meetings take place Sunday morning, ending by noon.

The schedule includes irreverent music, FFRF book and merch sales tables and book signings. Plus, there is the always-popular drawing for “clean” (pre-“In God We Trust”) currency on Saturday night.

Return the handy registration form or sign up at ffrf.org/convention2019.

Hotels

Please reserve your hotel rooms now to avoid disappointment!

FFRF is using three Madison hotels. The Hilton Madison, attached to the site of the convention, is the main hotel venue. The other two hotels offer overflow roooms, and require either a three-block walk or driving or taking a free shuttle to the convention site. All hotels have blocs Thursday through Saturday nights, with a few more limited rooms Wednesday and Sunday nights.

Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, 9 E. Wilson St., Madison, WI 53703. Call 1-877-510-7465 or 414-935-5941, or visit bit.ly/2SPTPlz and mention “Freedom From Religion Foundation.” Rates are $185 (1-4 people), plus tax. Valet parking: $20/day.

Sheraton Madison Hotel, 706 John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53713. Call 866-716-8134 or 608-251-2300 or visit: reservations.com/hotel/sheraton-madison-hotel, mentioning “Freedom From Religion Foundation.” Rates are $156 (1-4 people), plus local taxes of 14.5 percent and fees. Parking is free and so is the shuttle to Monona Terrace, a 3-mile walk or 8-minute drive.

Park Hotel Madison, 22 S. Carroll St., Madison, WI 53703 (3 blocks from Monona Terrace). Call 800-279-8811 or 608-285-8000 or visit [email protected], mentioning “Freedom From Religion Foundation.” Rates are $194 (1-2 people, one bed); $214 (1-4 people, 2 beds); $254 (suite). Two-night minimum length of stay. Guaranteed parking for one vehicle for overnight guests ($15 per night, valet only).

Freethought Hall Reception

On Friday, Oct. 18, from 9:30-11 a.m., you’re cordially invited to tour the four-story Freethought Hall in downtown Madison, enjoy light pastries, Mimosas, coffee and tea in the Charlie Brooks Auditorium, get your photo by the life-like model of Charles Darwin in the Joel B. Landon and Wanda Y. Beers Freethought Library, and socialize with other members and staff. Please RSVP.

Complimentary receptions include light brunch fare at the Freethought Hall Open House,  ice cream and hot beverages Friday afternoon and dessert reception with cupcakes and hot beverages at the conclusion of Friday night.

Optional meals (veggie/vegan/gluten-free substitutes available) include:

Friday Dinner Buffet, $35: Bucky’s Tailgate Buffet includes Wisconsin Waldorf salad, home-style potato salad, fresh vegetable and relish tray, beer-boiled Johnsonville bratwurst with sauerkraut and chopped fresh onion, grilled boneless chicken breast, black bean burgers, fresh sliced tomato and lettuce, vegetarian baked beans, buns and coffee, tea and milk.

Saturday Nonprayer Breakfast,  $20: Cheese & chive scrambled eggs, apple smoked bacon, rosemary wedge potatoes, ketchup, petite muffin assortment, chilled juice, coffee, tea and milk.

Saturday ‘Grab and Go’ Box Lunch, $25. For your convenience, we offer a box lunch containing deli-sliced turkey on fresh Kaiser roll, fresh sliced tomato and lettuce with condiments, piece of whole fruit, home-baked cookie and chips. Vegetarian option is marinated grilled tempeh sandwich. Kaiser is replaced with gluten-free roll upon request.

Note: There is a two-hour lunch and sightseeing break Saturday. There are many lunch spots open on the nearby Capitol Square and on State Street (about five blocks away).

Saturday Dinner, $50: Roasted airline chicken breast with truffle butter glaze, potatoes, fresh seasonal vegetable blend, house salad, bakery-fresh hard rolls & butter, plated dessert trio (strawberry pistacio tart, flourless chocolate diamond cake, and white chocolate passionfruit mousse cup), coffee, tea and milk. Cash bar.

Meals are not a fundraiser for FFRF, but your participation enables FFRF to meet significant hotel room bloc and meal minimums, and provides a chance to socialize. 

More details are at: ffrf.org/convention2019