Get ready for Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian™!
Betty will be performing this year at FFRF’s national convention in Madison, Wis., which takes place Oct. 18-20 at the Monona Terrace and Convention Center.
If you’ve never heard of her, you’re in for a treat. Mrs. Betty Bowers is a satirical character played by comedian Deven Green and conceived and written by Andrew Bradley. Both will be participating at the convention. Betty’s convention speech is titled, “God Gets His Annual Job Performance Review from Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian™.”
In 2009, Bradley teamed up with Green to create Betty Bowers videos for YouTube. These videos are written and edited by Bradley, with Green co-producing and appearing as Betty. One of their earlier efforts, “Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else,” has gotten well over 2 million views on YouTube (and another 2 million views on Facebook). Betty has more than 600,000 followers on Facebook and more than 220,000 on Twitter.
“Bowers is a haughty, prim, conservative American church lady who lampoons and deconstructs many aspects of Christianity as practiced in modern America,” writes RationalWiki.
Bradley, an American humorist, has written or co-written three books about the two topics he was told never to talk about: religion and politics. This year, the New York Post labeled Betty Bowers “a top Twitter wag.” Bradley writes all of the content for Betty’s Facebook page, with those posts routinely appearing on millions of people’s pages each week. Bradley also is the creator of all content for Bowers’ Twitter account.
Bradley also served as one of the lead writers on other successful websites. Among them have been: LandoverBaptist.org, a full-throttle spoof of domestic fundamentalism; and WhiteHouse.org, a satiric mirror of the White House website.
As for Green, besides portraying Betty Bowers, she has performed in the cult video series “Welcome To My Home” and “Welcome To My White House” parodies, as a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” proudly headlining Pride venues across the country, and playing sold-out music shows overseas, performing with the most famous drag queens in the world.
Also newly added to the convention lineup of speakers are authors Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore. Their talk will focus on their most recent book, Godless Citizens In A Godly Republic: Atheists In American Public Life. The two also combined to write The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State.
Kramnick is a historian, social scientist and the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell University. Moore is Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies, Emeritus at Cornell University.
And Avinash Patil will be awarded the Avijit Roy Courage Award, which includes a crystal plaque and $5,000, on behalf of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), an organization dedicated to fighting superstition in India. It was founded in 1989 by Narendra Dabholkar, who was assassinated by religious extremists in 2013. Patil has been the executive president of MANS since 2010.
Note: Women’s reproductive rights champion Wendy Davis has withdrawn from the convention program because she is pondering running for Congress.
Other confirmed speakers include:
Jeremiah Camara, whose movie “Holy Hierarchy: The Religious Roots of Racism in America,” will be shown during the 2-hour lunch break on Saturday.
Sarah Vowell is the New York Times best-selling author of seven nonfictions books on American history and culture.
Rachel Laser will be accepting the $10,000 Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award on behalf of Americans United for the Separation of Church & State (AU).
Hemant Mehta, editor of FriendlyAtheist.com blog website, will be speaking on the topic of, “Is atheism still a taboo in politics?” He will also be receiving one of FFRF’s “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” awards.
Trae Crowder has recently earned national attention for his “Liberal Redneck” series of viral videos.
Frederick Clarkson is the author, co-author or editor of several books, including Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.
Anthony B. Pinn, who will be receiving FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award, is the founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning at Rice University.
Andrew L. Seidel, director of strategic response at FFRF, will discuss his new book, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American.
Mandisa Thomas, who will be named FFRF’s 2019 Freethought Heroine, is the founder of Black Nonbelievers.
To kick off the convention weekend, FFRF will be hosting an open house at Freethought Hall on the morning of Oct. 18. The official starting time of the convention, at the convention center, is 1 p.m. on Oct. 18, continuing through Saturday night. For full convention information, go to ffrf.org/convention2019.
If you need a hotel room, reserve it now to avoid disappointment!
Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, 9 E. Wilson St., Madison, WI 53703, the primary hotel. Call 1-877-510-7465 or 414-935-5941, or visit bit.ly/2SPTPlz and mention “Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
Sheraton Madison Hotel, 706 John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53713. Call 866-716-8134 or 608-251-2300 or visit: reservations.com/hotel/sheraton-madison-hotel, mentioning “Freedom From Religion Foundation.” Shuttle available.
Park Hotel Madison, 22 S. Carroll St., Madison, WI 53703 (3 blocks from Monona Terrace). Call 800-279-8811 or 608-285-8000 or visit parkhotelmadison.com, mentioning “Freedom From Religion Foundation.”