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 and we will watch a film (TBD).
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 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!
The Tri-City Freethinkers will be holding a community yard sale to raise the rest of the funds needed to bring David Silverman, president of American Atheists, here this fall. He has agreed to come, but we need more funds to make it happen.
If you have items to donate for the yard sale or can volunteer to help run the actual sale, make and post signs, etc., please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also appreciate any culinary volunteers who can provide baked goods to be sold.
The sale will be held on Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, April 19th from 8 am – 4 pm each day. The location will not be posted on this public website, so if you wish to know where it is, please visit our Meetup event page, our Facebook group, or email me.
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.
Want to avoid holiday shopping crowds and shop online at Amazon, all while benefiting the Tri-City Freethinkers? Amazon’s Smile program donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. You can support the Tri-City Freethinkers by going to smile.amazon.com and selecting our organization from the drop-down menu. These small contributions add up and help us to bring guest speakers to our community, sponsor events, and more. We appreciate it!
This year we will hold our annual winter festivities after the actual Winter Solstice, so it’s a Solst-ish party! On Saturday, December 27th at 6 pm, we are taking over Zinful Panini Grill & Wine Bar in downtown Kennewick for the entire evening. Join us for delectable hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Wine and beer will be available for purchase. Enjoy music, Cards Against Humanity (and any other games people might want to bring), and great conversation with fellow freethinkers.
A suggested minimum donation of $20 members/$25 non-members is requested to offset the cost of the event, but if you can’t pay the full amount, please do still attend and give whatever you are able. Cash and checks will be accepted the night of the event. Not a member and interested in becoming one? Email email@example.com for details.
The maximum attendees Zinful can accommodate is 75, so please get your RSVPs in early via the Meetup event page and if your plans change and you can’t make it, please remember to change your RSVP so someone else can take your spot.
We will be collecting school supplies at the party to donate to a local elementary school (Amistad Elementary in Kennewick) with children and teachers in need. Lots of attention is paid at the beginning of the school year to donating school supplies, but at this time of year these consumable supplies have been exhausted and teachers often end up paying out of their own pockets to replenish the tools their students need. I think we can all agree that education is important and we should support our teachers and students, so lets show them our appreciation!
If you can, please bring some sort of consumable school supply, such as loose-leaf paper, notebooks, colored construction paper, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, dry erase markers, colored pencils, erasers, boxes of tissue, hand sanitizer, etc. You can also give cash or a check and designate it specifically for school supplies and I’ll purchase Staples gift cards or you can just bring a gift card from your favorite office-supply store.
Tri-City Freethinkers president, Jennifer Goulet, is the coordinator of the Mid-Columbia Coalition of Reason and spoke to Don Granese at KNDU today about the bus ad campaign launched this week to reach out to the nonreligious population of the Tri-Cities. By late afternoon, comments on the KNDU Facebook post had exceeded 1,000. Many expressed outrage over the ads, but there were also a lot of supportive comments, including from people who do believe in god but support our First Amendment right to speak our minds. Find out more about the coalition at MidColumbiaCoR.org.
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.
Dr. Jason D. Heap (Jase) is the Coalition of Reason national coordinator who has helped make the upcoming launch of the Mid-Columbia Coalition of Reason bus ad campaign happen. He will be joining us via video conference from Washington DC.
Jase is the current applicant to become the first Humanist Chaplain in the history of the United States armed forces. After being away from America for nearly 15 years, he has recently returned to serve as the National Coordinator for the United Coalition of Reason, based in Washington, DC. Through his work with UnitedCoR, Jase nurtures almost 80 local Coalitions of Reason, in addition to supporting over 800 cooperating and affiliated groups within these local coalitions.
Jase took double majors in philosophy and practical theology at Howard Payne University before attending Brite Divinity School (Texas Christian University) for an MDiv. He then studied for an additional Master’s in history and religion at The University of Oxford before completing further post-graduate certification from Sheffield Hallam University that allowed him to teach in the UK’s state-maintained schools. Among the 9 subjects that Jase teaches, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and personal/social/health education have been his favorites. After working in the UK schools for 5 years, Jase went on to give 6 years of experience as the Headteacher (the UK equivalent of a “Teaching Co-Principal” in the US) of UK-curriculum “international” schools, and throughout his work, he has lived in and visited nearly 40 countries. He has recently completed a Doctor of Education in administrator leadership and his dissertation focused on empowering non-Western grassroots schools and teachers.
Jase is a Humanist celebrant, a regular contributor at TheHumanist.Com, and gives regular volunteer time to chaplaincy work with student organizations at major American and British universities.
Come hear Jase speak at the Richland Public Library on Sunday, November 23rd at 1:30 pm. Please RSVP via our Meetup event page.