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

Don’t miss out on FFRF’s convention!

Vol. 38 No. 08 October 2021
Margaret Atwood                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

We are closing in quickly on FFRF’s 44th annual convention in Boston that begins Friday, Nov. 19! Sign up now if you haven’t already, as seats are filling up fast! You won’t want to miss out on all the great speakers and entertainment lined up for that weekend.

(Reminder: The event is limited to those who are fully vaccinated for Covid-19. See page 28.)

The conference will open informally on Thursday night, Nov. 18, with early registration and a two-hour appetizer reception at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Registration resumes at 7 a.m. Friday, Nov. 19, with early morning coffee, tea and breakfast pastries. The full, two-day program formally opens at 9 a.m. Friday and continues through Saturday night. The membership meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, followed by a short meeting of the State Representatives, concluding by noon.

The convention will include a report on FFRF accomplishments by Gaylor and Co-President Dan Barker, an hour-long legal report by FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert and FFRF’s attorneys, a little music at the piano by Barker, FFRF book and product tables, the traditional drawing for “clean,” pre-“In God We Trust” currency, and some complimentary food receptions. 

FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel, author of The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American, will lead a workshop on Christian nationalism and its ties to Jan. 6. 

Receptions

There will also be two optional author receptions. After “An evening with Margaret Atwood” Friday night, a short private reception for Ms. Atwood will take place, limited to 100 individuals. Tickets to the reception are $500 and will include a copy of The Testaments, her sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale..

Friday evening will end with a complimentary dessert reception and hot beverages for all participants.

Gloria Steinem will be interviewed by FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor on Saturday afternoon, taking some audience questions, followed by a half-hour reception limited to 50 individuals. (Act quickly as that reception is nearly sold out.) 

Mail in the handy registration on Page 28 or register online at ffrf.org/convention-2021.

Speakers

Below are shortened bios of this year’s convention speakers. To read more about each speaker, please go to ffrf.org/convention-2021 and click on “Speakers 2021.”

Margaret Atwood is the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Edible Woman, The Robber Bride, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake. 

Atwood will receive FFRF’s “Forward” Award, which is reserved for those who are moving society forward. 

Randa Black of Florida has won FFRF’s Nothing Fails Like Prayer contest and will recite at the convention her secular invocation.  Black is a professional actor, appearing in hundreds of television commercials and episodic TV shows. 

Christopher Cameron, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is author of the new book, Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism. 

Ann Druyan is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and director specializing in the communication of science. She was the creative director of NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project and program director of the first solar sail deep space mission. 

Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D. is an educator, author, playwright and director. She is the author of Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles.  Hutchinson will receive FFRF’s “Freethought Heroine” Award.

Megan Phelps-Roper, author of Unfollow: On Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church, was raised in the Topeka, Kan.-based church known for its protests. Phelps-Roper will receive the $10,000 “Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism” award.

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist, experimental psychologist, linguist and popular science author. He is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. His latest book is Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters. 

Sasha Sagan is author of the new book, For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World. She is a graduate of NYU, and has worked as a television producer, filmmaker, writer and speaker. 

Sushant Singh is an Indian actor and presenter known for his work predominantly in Hindi cinema. He has appeared in almost 50 movies since 1998. Singh will be receiving the Avijit Roy Courage Award, which includes a crystal plaque and $5,000. 

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. Steinem, who’s been billed as “the world’s most famous feminist,” is a journalist who co-founded Ms. Magazine in 1972. Steinem will receive FFRF’s “Forward” Award. 

Katherine Stewart is the author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. She writes about religion, politics, policy and conflicts over the separation of church and state for The New York Times opinion section. 

David Tamayo is co-founder and president of Hispanic American Freethinkers in 2010. He was vice president of the Reason Rally 2016, former host of the TV show “Road to Reason – A Skeptic’s Guide to the 21st Century.” 

David Williamson is co-founder of the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC). Williamson and other winning plaintiffs in the Brevard Co. lawsuit will accept FFRF’s Freethinker of the Year Award.

Phil Zuckerman is the associate dean and professor of sociology at Pitzer College, and the founding chair of the nation’s first Secular Studies Program. He has authored several books, including What It Means to be Moral.