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Civil Rights Issues and Church/State Seperation

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Speakers About Civil Rights

Dan Arel
  • Lives in San Diego, CA
  • Writes Op-Ed's for AlterNet, Salon and The Huffington Post
  • Author of an upcoming book on raising children in a Christian America
  • Has a column in American Atheist Magazine called Danthropology
  • Is the newsletter editor for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
  • Is the author of Parenting Without God: How to Raise Moral, Ethical and Intelligent Children Free From Religious Dogma
  • Also now the Ethics Expert for the Global Secular Council
  • Twitter: @danarel

Murali Balaji
  • located in Washington, DC
  • Hindu American Foundation's Director of Education and Curriculum Reform
  • former award-winning journalist
  • social activist
  • academic whose research focuses on political economy and media representations of minorities
  • teacher trainer and curriculum specialist for Hindu American Foundation, overseeing education reform efforts
Jeremiah Bannister
  • I live with my wife and four children in Dorr, Michigan, midway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
  • I graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communication from Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan. I also minored in political science.
  • I'm the creator and host of PaleoRadio, a talk radio program focused on politics, religion and culture.
  • As a protestant, I was a pastor and advocate for presuppositionalism, theonomy, and postmillennialism--put together, Christian Reconstructionism.
  • As a Roman Catholic, I was a Knight of Columbus, a catechist, and a guest speaker on matters of politics and religion. My final year as a Roman Catholic--and as a Christian--was spent as a sedevacantist.
  • Twitter: @Paleocrat
Dan Barker
  • Located in Madison, WI
  • Former evangelical minister
  • Co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Author of Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist
  • Author of Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists (with a foreword by Richard Dawkins)
  • Author of The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God
  • Dynamic Speaker and Debater (and singer!)
  • Frequent media appearances including the Phil Donahue show, Maury Povich, Hannity & Colmes, and Oprah Winfrey
  • Co-host of Freethought Radio
Magdalene Bedi
  • I was a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit when I was 16
  • I speak about my experiences as a plaintiff and as a student entrenched in toxic religiosity
  • I'm currently 19 and enrolled in an undergraduate program at American University in Washington, DC
Carlos Bertha
  • Located in Colorado Springs, CO
  • Teaches Ethics, Logic, and Philosophy of Science at the US Air Force Academy
  • Faculty Advisor for the USAFA Cadet Freethinkers Club
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Military Association of Atheists and Freetinkers (MAAF)
  • Have spoken at various atheist conferences, to include AAIC, AHA, and The Amaz!ing Meeting

Rob Boston
  • Located in Washington, D.C.
  • Assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State
  • Assistant editor of AU's monthly magazine Church & State
  • Leading writer and researcher on church-state topics
  • Serves as spokesman for AU and has appeared on NBC's Nightly News, CNN's Headline News, Fox News, and other programs.
Cecil Bothwell
  • Located in Asheville, NC
  • One of a small handful of openly non-theist politicians in the U.S., dubbed the most Courageous Elected Official of 2010 by the American Atheists.
  • Author of Whale Falls: An exploration of belief and its consequences, and The Prince of War: Billy Graham's Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire.
  • Winner of national and regional awards for investigative reporting, criticism, humorous commentary and slam poetry.
  • Author of Geoffrey Wasn't Rash (chapbook and tape) and Can We Have Archaic and Idiot? A collection of fictitious tropes.
Ed Brayton
  • Located near Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Owner of the Freethought Blogs network and the popular blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars.
  • President and co-founder of Michigan Citizens for Science.
  • Recipient of the Friend of Darwin award from the National Center for Science Education.
  • Host of Culture Wars Radio on WPRR in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Former stand-up comedian.
Greta Christina
Jerry DeWitt
  • Located in Rural Louisiana
  • Jerry is a Public Speaker, Author and Celebrant with the Humanist Society
  • Is a board member for The Clergy Project
  • Is a board member for Foundation Beyond Belief
  • He is the author of Hope After Faith
  • His website can be found at jerrydewitt.net or HopeAfterFaith.com
  • Twitter: @jerry_dewitt
JT Eberhard
  • Located in Lawrence, KS
  • Blogger
  • Co-Founder of Skepticon
Patrick Elliott
  • Located in Madison, WI (frequently travels to Minnesota)
  • Attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Spokesperson on state/church issues with the media, including the Los Angeles Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Fox News, MSNBC and other national news sources covering state/church issues.
  • Speaking engagements have included freethinker groups, conventions, legislative testimony, and training for school administrators.
Matthew Facciani
  • Sociology PhD student
  • Broadly studies the sociology of religion and gender
  • Writes for Patheos about religion, atheism, science, and social justice
Zack Ford
  • Located in Washington, DC
  • LGBT Editor, ThinkProgress.org
  • Founder, ZackFordBlogs.com
  • Founder, Queer and Queerer Podcast
  • Twitter: @ZackFord
Annie Laurie Gaylor
  • Located in Madison, WI
  • Co-founder and Co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Editor of Freethought Today (1985-2009; now executive editor not acting editor)
  • Author of "Woe to the Women: the Bible tells Me So", "Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children", & "Women Without Superstition: No Gods - No Masters"
  • Twitter: @algaylor
Jason Heap
  • Located in Washington, DC
  • Travelled to nearly 40 countries through work, leisure and service projects.
  • Family and friends come from over 10 religious traditions.
  • Qualified as a Teacher of Religious Education in the UK's State-maintained schools.
  • Was first appointed as a Headteacher (the UK equivalent of a 'Teaching Principal' in the US) at the age of 32.
  • First applicant to be a Humanist chaplain to the US Navy (application ongoing).
Jim G. Helton
  • President & Founder of Tri-State Freethinkers
  • Regional Director American Atheist - Kentucky
  • Adopted the Highway in front of Creation Museum
  • Stopped Gideon's bible distributions
  • Challenged Abstinence Only Sex Education in Kentucky
Sikivu Hutchinson
  • Located in Los Angeles, CA
  • Sikivu Hutchinson is the author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values WarsGodless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels, and the forthcoming White Nights, Black Paradise, a novel on Peoples Temple and the Jonestown Massacre.
  • She is the founder of Black Skeptics Los Angeles, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and a Senior Fellow for the Institute for Humanist Studies. The Black Skeptics Group sponsors annual First in the Family Humanist scholarship awards.
  • She is also the project director of the Women's Leadership Project feminist humanist mentoring program.
Bobbie Kirkhart
  • Located in Los Angeles, CA
  • Contributing author to The Fundamentals of Extremism: the Christian Right in America
  • Contributing author to Everything You Know About God Is Wrong : The Disinformation Guide to Religion
  • Contributing author to Parenting Beyond Belief
  • Past president, Atheist Alliance International
  • Vice President Atheist Alliance of America
  • Board Member, Camp Quest Incorporated
  • Is very proud of receiving the 2013 Freethought Backbone of the Year Award
Gregory Lipper
  • Senior Litigation Counsel, Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
  • Litigates high-profile First Amendment cases at trial and on appeal.
  • Represents military veteran in constitutional challenge to promotion of Christianity at local veterans' memorial in\u2028King, North Carolina.
  • Represented Respondents in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court's recent case examining the constitutionality of prayers before local government meetings
  • Authored Supreme Court brief defending access to contraception in Hobby Lobby case
  • Experienced oral advocate.
Barry W. Lynn
  • Has served for the past 20 years as executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State
  • Ordained minister in liberal United Church of Christ
  • Member of the Supreme Court bar
  • Only person to have won both the Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt "Freedom To Worship" Medal of Honor
  • Have appeared on virtually every good, bad and ugly television program and was referred to as a "paranoid crazy" by Bill O'Reilly
  • Author of new book to be released in Spring 2015: God and Goverment--An Insider's View of 25 Years of Church-State Separation.
  • Currently have two well know Christian ministers praying for my death.
  • Have co-hosted radio shows opposite both Pat Buchanan and Oliver North.
  • See him with Anderson Cooper here.
  • Find out more info here and here.
Amanda Marcotte
  • Located in Brooklyn, NY
  • Political writer with an emphasis on feminism, secularism, and monitoring the religious right
  • Blogs at Pandagon, Slate's XX Factor, and RH Reality Check
  • Writes regularly for Slate, Alternet, and the Guardian
  • Has written two books, one on feminism and one on liberal politics with an emphasis on secularism and science
  • Has spoken on feminism, the religious right, right wing extremism, and the links between feminism and skepticism
Rebecca S. Markert
  • Located in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Senior Staff Attorney for Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Received a B.A. in political science, German, and international relations from the University of Wisconsin
  • Received her J.D. from Roger Williams University
Steven Martin
  • Located in Ripon, WI
  • Professor of Communication at Ripon College, in Ripon, WI
  • Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Address from Penn State University
  • Teaches courses on the rhetoric of social movements, U.S public address, political campaign communication, public speaking, argumentation theory, and metaphor and social problems
  • Advises the Secular Student Alliance at Ripon College
David G. McAfee
  • Author of Mom, Dad, I'm an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-Believer and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings
  • Contributor to American Atheist Magazine and Canadian Freethinker
  • Graduated with BA in Religious Studies and English
Hemant Mehta

Hemant's speaking topics include:

  • The story behind I Sold My Soul on eBay
  • The need for critical thinking in public schools
  • The challenges of being a young atheist
  • Why skeptics can be so gullible
Ashley F. Miller
  • Currently located in Columbia, SC
  • Currently getting PhD in Mass Communications, focusing on Women's Studies and Reality TV
  • Worked in reality television as an editor -- shows included Toddlers & Tiaras, Flipping Out, Ace of Cakes
  • Plays the Ukulele
  • Member of the SSA Board of Directors
  • Communications Officer at Provide -- An organization dedicated to abortion access, especially in the South
  • Twitter: @ashleyfmiller

Ashley would love to speak on the following topics:

  • Atheism and diversity
  • Introduction to feminism
  • Media literacy and how to work with the media
  • Religion versus women, minorities, and LGBT
  • Using Social Media effectively
  • Film, Television, Young Adult Literature
  • Blogging, Podcasting, Vlogging
  • History of Christianity
  • Coping with burn out
Chuck Miller
  • American Atheists Regional Director of the Year 2014
  • Frequent rally speaker at secular, women's rights, and LGBTQ events
  • Experienced grassroots community organizer
Miri Mogilevsky
  • Lives in NYC
  • Studied psychology at Northwestern University
  • Now studying social work at Columbia University
  • Blogs about social justice, psychology, and basically everything at freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason
  • Tweets @sondosia
  • Enjoys Russian literature and Cheezits

Topics Include:

  • Psychology & mental health (especially as they relate to skepticism)
  • social justice
  • sexual health
  • LGBT/women's issues
  • writing/blogging/activism
  • social media
David Niose
  • Located in Lunenburg, Massachusetts
  • Author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, and Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason (December 2014)
  • Former president of the Secular Coalition for America and American Humanist Association
  • Legal Director for the American Humanist Association
  • Attorney who has litigated on behalf of Secular Americans
  • Humanist blog at Psychology Today, called "Our Humanity, Naturally."
  • Twitter: @ahadave
Robert Parker
  • Located in Portland, Oregon
  • Has partnered with CFI, Sunday Assembly, and AHA
  • Law student and former journalist

Can speak on:

  • Legal Systems
  • Secular Law
  • The Rise of the Nones
Anthony B. Pinn
  • Located in Houston, TX
  • Harvard University PhD (1994)
  • First African American to hold an Endowed Chair at Rice University
  • Author/editor of 28 books - including several on humanism
  • Director of research for the Institute for Humanist Studies
  • Named the Harvard University Humanist Chaplaincy "Humanist of the Year" in 2006
  • Received the African American Humanist Award from the Council for Secular Humanism in 1999
Andre Salais
  • Located in Tempe, AZ
  • Owner of Unbelievers Media LLC
  • Host of Unbelievers Radio (http://unbelieversradio.com)
  • Blogger at The Skeptic Examiner (http://skepticexaminer.com)
  • Former President of Arizona State University and Mesa Community College SSA groups
Amanda Scott
  • Located in Mobile, Alamaba
  • Alabama native
  • Nationally recognized student activist
  • Paralegal with extensive knowledge of church/state issues
  • Experienced in working with state and local media
  • Twitter: @amandalscott2
Andrew L. Seidel
  • Lives in Madison, WI and loves to travel
  • Degrees include:
    • Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and environmental science, cum laude
    • Juris Doctor, magna cum laude
    • Masters of Law, summa cum laude
  • Speaking events:
    • Andrew has given more than 30 talks at universities and law schools across the country.
    • He has given talks and workshops at the last three SSA conferences in Columbus and has debated Bill O'Reilly.
    • He frequently writes for FFRF's blog: http://ffrf.org/new/blog
  • Awards include:
    • FFRF Graduate Student Essay Contest, Second Place 2010
    • Haber J. McCarthy Excellence in Environmental Law Award
    • Outstanding Masters of Law Student, Denver University Law School
  • Forthcoming book on international human rights
  • Attorney, Photographer, Writer, and Former Grand Canyon Tour Guide.
Herb Silverman
  • Located in Charleston, SC
  • Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston
  • Founded and was faculty advisor to the Atheist-Humanist Alliance
  • President of the Secular Coalition for America
  • Former candidate for Governor of South Carolina
  • Founded Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in South Carolina
Katherine Stewart
  • Located in NY City
Ed Buckner
  • Located in Atlanta, GA Former president (2008-2010) and current board member, American Atheists
  • Former executive director, Council for Secular Humanism
  • Former president, Atlanta Freethought Society (AFS)
  • Life member, American Atheists, Council for Secular Humanism, FFRF, AFS Author of many chapters, essays, LTEs; editor and publisher
  • Co-editor/compiler, with his son Michael, Quotations That Support Separation of State and Church, 2nd Edition (Freethought Press)
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