Atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists have long been active allies in the fight to grant equal rights to our LGBT friends, family, and strangers across the country.
Opposition to their rights to equal treatment under the law is based in outdated religious dogma, and today a majority of our Supreme Court Justices have upheld what we have long known to be true: that religion does not and cannot trump our secular government.
The Tri-City Freethinkers will once again play host to Australian Indie singer/songwriter Shelley Segal, who will be back in town to grace us with her enchanting and thought-provoking songs infused with “elements of jazz, folk, pop, blues, reggae and electronica.”
“An artist, an activist and an explicit storyteller, Shelley uses her music not only to express the way she sees the world, but to create the world that she wants to see.”
She will also be playing Geeks Who Drink trivia that night before her set, so if you want to invite her to play on your team or pit your team against hers, be there by 8:00 pm!
Please RSVP via Meetup by clicking below.
In case you missed seeing Shelley Segal the last two times she was in town performing for us, take comfort that you will get another chance late this summer! Details coming soon, but for now, enjoy this video taken in April 2013 when she played at Zinful in Kennewick.
For Mid-Columbia Pride Week, the Tri-City Freethinkers will host special guest speaker, Greta Christina, the well-known author and public speaker on atheism, sexuality, sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is co-founder of the Godless Perverts, a performance series and social community that promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion.
Greta will discuss what the atheist movement can learn from the LGBT movement. “The atheist movement is already modeling itself on the LGBT movement in many ways — most obviously with its focus on coming out of the closet. What else can the atheist movement learn from the LGBT movement… both from its successes and its failures?”
Greta will be doing a book signing following the talk. Books will be available for purchase.
This free event, cosponsored by Pride Foundation, will be held on Tuesday, June 16th at 6:00 pm at the Shilo Inn International Ballroom at 50 Comstock St. in Richland.
Pride Foundation is a regional community foundation that inspires giving to expand opportunities and advance full equality for LGBTQ people in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Visit www.pridefoundation.org.
The Tri-City Freethinkers will participate in Yuri’s Night, an international celebration held every April 12th to commemorate milestones in space exploration. Dr. James Conca will speak on the Planetary Geology Survey of our Solar System, followed by a live presentation of the sky and the film Secret Lives of the Stars.
Dr. Conca is a Senior Scientist with UFA Ventures. Conca obtained a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1985, as well as a Masters in Planetary Science in 1981, and a BS in Geology and Biochemistry from Brown University in 1979. He has worked at NASA JPL and JSC, PNNL, WSUTC, Los Alamos and NMSU.
This is the description of the film:
“Some stars are massive. Others are tiny; almost insignificant. The specific characteristics of a star will determine what type of life it will lead and how long it might live. We will witness the amazing variety of stars and peer into their secret lives. Narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart. Recommended for first grade children and up. 25 minutes.”
This event is exclusive to the Tri-City Freethinkers and will take place at 2 pm on Sunday, April 12th at the Bechtel National Planetarium on the Columbia Basin College campus at 2600 N. 20th Ave. in Pasco. Please RSVP at our Meetup event page. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated!
Should atheists take an active role in the conservative political movement? Join the discussion at the next Tri-City Freethinkers meeting at 1:30 pm on March 22nd at the Mid-Columbia Library on Union St. in Kennewick.
As you may be aware, last month the American Atheists had a presence at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for the first time in history, and board member, Jamila Bey, controversially addressed an audience there to little fanfare.
This meeting is to be an exploration of the role atheists can or should have in trying to make inroads with political conservatives and whether the ideals of conservativism or Libertarianism, once stripped of religious issues and leaders, can be compatible with the values of humanism.
We will watch the video of Bey’s speech (just under 7 minutes long) and follow it up with a civil conversation.
We have a very diverse group of people that are involved with the Tri-City Freethinkers. Though an easy majority likely identify more with liberal values and politics, there is a sizable constituency of group members who identify as conservative or Libertarian. Obviously, atheism in and of itself does not define our values or politics as it is merely the lack of belief in a deity. Not all of us in this group may even identify with the label atheist.
The Tri-City Freethinkers, as a nonprofit organization, takes no political sides. Our mission is to serve and support the nonreligious community, regardless of their political views. We want those of all political persuasions to feel welcome to attend and express your views at this meeting, with an emphasis on civil conversation.
RSVPs at our Meetup event page are appreciated, but not required.
Nominations for the positions of vice president, secretary, and at-large director will be accepted at the January 18th meeting at 1:30 pm at the Richland Public Library. Each nominee will be given an opportunity to speak briefly about their background, experience, how they will benefit the organization, etc.
Nominations will be followed by a general discussion about upcoming events in 2015.
Voting will take place at the Annual Election Meeting on February 8th at 3:00 pm at the Mid-Columbia Library on Union in Kennewick.
Voting members are limited to those current on annual membership dues as of the date of the election meeting. Dues are $50, which can be paid with cash or check at the meeting, or you can pay in advance with a debit/credit card via PayPal by clicking on the “Donate now” button at www.tricityfreethinkers.or
Calling all secular people in the Southeastern Washington area who want to stand up for separation of religion and government, civil rights, and equality and stand against Christian privilege and bigotry. There is a very important court date coming up, and you are encouraged to attend. Arguments in the nationally known Arlene’s Flowers case will be heard at 1:30 pm on Friday, December 19th at the Benton County Superior Court.
All previous court hearings on this case, including one last Friday, have been heavily attended by Barronelle Stutzman’s religious supporters. Comparatively few have attended to support the cause of equality and freedom from religion. Stutzman’s smug defenders believe that because they have the numbers they have the right of way in this.
A lot of misinformation and propaganda has been produced by the legal entity defending Stutzman, the Alliance Defending Freedom (the same legal entity behind the infamous Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case), to twist the facts of the case, turn public opinion to sympathize with Stutzman, and demonize the couple that was wrongfully and illegally discriminated against.
Secular people are needed to turn out in force to show that government cannot show preference to religion, that a religious person’s beliefs cannot trump the rights of others, and that bigotry will not be tolerated in the Tri-Cities or elsewhere. Please show support for this couple and the laws that protect not only the rights of the LGBTQ community, but the rights of all of us, by lending your secular presence to the courtroom.
Here are links to additional information about the case:
If you will be attending the court hearing this Friday, please heed the following advice if you don’t want to damage the case and the cause in general:
Please sit in the pews with your poker face on. It is important that the judge not feel like he is being influenced by people’s reactions in the court room. It is likely that the Alliance Defending Freedom attorney for Stutzman will say derogatory, outrageous, and offensive things about gay and lesbian people. We must not roll our eyes, make gestures, or display any verbal or nonverbal court outbursts.
This case is a BIG DEAL, and there will be media there. In the event you are approached by media to comment, please do not make disparaging, villainizing, or hateful comments against Ms. Stutzman. The ADF has framed this case as an attack on a poor sweet grandmother from the big evil gays and liberals. As you know, they have claimed she is being persecuted by the public and the government for expressing her religious views, so it is not helpful to attack her or express any anti-religious views. Don’t play into their religious persecution narrative. That’s what they want. They want a reason to play the victim in this. We must take the high road. Instead, we need to stick to the facts of the case, that she was in violation of the law, that if you open a business to the public, that means all of the public, that discrimination is wrong and hurtful, and that gays and lesbians are our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors who are decent human beings just like anyone else. Point out that real people have been hurt by her actions.
It is also not helpful to compare LGBT rights to the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s and the plight of African Americans, so it’s best to avoid making this comparison. Focus on the positive message of fairness and equality.
There may be demonstrations outside the courthouse. Should you choose to also demonstrate, please keep the positive messages in mind if you will be carrying a sign or making any statements.
Finally, the court is certain to be packed with supporters of Arlene’s Flowers. Please arrive by 1 pm. Leave yourself plenty of time to get through security at the court house. Be careful to leave anything that might slow you down in your car. I think sealed bottles of water are allowed, but no other food or beverages. As has been pointed out elsewhere, remember to dress appropriately for court in business casual attire. If you are wearing a hat, you will be asked to remove it.
Thank you to all of you who are attending this. It’s a very exciting day as we anticipate that justice will be served and real American values will be upheld that all men are “created” equal and will be treated as such in our great country.