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

Phil Zuckerman added to convention speaker lineup

Vol. 37 No. 02 March 2020
Phil Zuckerman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is happy to announce that secular studies pioneer Phil Zuckerman will be speaking at FFRF’s convention in San Antonio the weekend of Nov. 13–15.

Zuckerman will join legendary activist Gloria Steinem and literary titans Margaret Atwood and John Irving, along with many others, at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio on the famed Riverwalk. The convention venue is limited to about 900 attendees, so please plan ahead. For more details and to register for the convention, turn to the back page or go to ffrf.org/convention2020.

Zuckerman is the associate dean and professor of sociology at Pitzer College, and the founding chair of the nation’s first Secular Studies Program in Claremont, Calif. He is the author of several books, including What It Means to be Moral (2019), Living the Secular Life (2014), Society Without God (2008) and Faith No More (2012), among others. Zuckerman is also the editor of several volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of Secularism (2016) and The Social Theory of W.E.B. Du Bois (2004). 

Steinem and Atwood both will receive FFRF’s “Forward” Award, which is reserved for those who are moving society forward. The award includes a statuette designed by world-renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis.

Steinem will take part in a conversation with FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor on Friday, Nov. 13, at 3 p.m., breaking for audience questions. She will then sign copies of her newest book, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off! from 4-4:30 p.m. at a private reception, a fundraiser for FFRF. The reception is limited to the first 50 individuals who sign up for the $500 private event, which includes a copy of the book.

Steinem, who’s been billed as “the world’s most famous feminist,” is a journalist who co-founded Ms. Magazine in 1972, helped found the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Media Center, and was president of Voters for Choice, a political action committee, for 25 years. She is founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, Take our Daughters to Work Day, and many other initiatives. Her books include the best-sellers Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, Marilyn: Norma Jean and My Life on the Road.

A life-long reproductive rights activist, Steinem has said: “Do not hang out any place where they won’t let you laugh, including churches and temples.”

“An Evening with Margaret Atwood” will take place Friday night, to include a conversation with journalist Katherine Stewart, who will be speaking herself on Saturday. Atwood has agreed to sign books after her talk. The book signing will be followed by a private reception. Those signing up, also a $500 fundraiser for FFRF, will receive a copy of Atwood’s new and much-lauded The Testaments, which won the 2019 Booker Prize and is a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

Atwood is the author of more than 50 volumes of fiction, poetry, children’s literature and nonfiction. Her best-known novels include The Edible Woman, The Robber Bride, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake, which is being adapted into an HBO TV series by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. A serialized adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale has received 13 Emmy nominations and eight awards including for Best Drama.

“Every totalitarian government on the planet has always taken a very great interest in women’s reproductive rights,” says Atwood. Both women have previously been named Humanists of the Year.

Others confirmed to speak at the convention include:

• Journalist and author Katherine Stewart. In addition to conducting the on-stage interview with Margaret Atwood, Stewart will talk about her new book, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. She is also the author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. In 2014, she was named Person of the Year by Americans United for her coverage of religion, politics, policy and state/church conflicts.

• Black Skeptics Los Angeles founder, novelist and activist Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D, will be receiving FFRF’s Freethought Heroine Award. Hutchinson is an educator, author, playwright and director. Her books include Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars (2011), Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels (2013) and the novel White Nights, Black Paradise (2015) on the Peoples Temple and the 1978 Jonestown massacre. She also wrote, directed and produced a short film of “White Nights, Black Paradise.”

• Brian Bolton, an FFRF Lifetime Member, has recently endowed a professorship at the University of Texas at Austin that will focus on the growing segment of the population adhering to a secular worldview. The executive wing of FFRF’s office, Freethought Hall, is named for Bolton, due to his support of FFRF’s headquarters expansion. FFRF will be publishing Bolton’s new work, tentatively titled Why the Bible Is Not a Good Book, this year. Bolton is a retired academic psychologist with a background in mathematics, statistics and psychometrics. He has edited and authored 10 books.

Future issues of Freethought Today will update the list of speakers and honorees. See the back page for registration form and convention information, or go to ffrf.org/convention2020.