Convention lineup nearly finalized

FFRF is happy to announce that author Amber Scorah and U.S. Rep Mark Pocan of Wisconsin will be speaking at FFRF’s 42nd annual convention. Also appearing via video will be U.S. Rep Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

Don’t forget to sign up now to join us in Madison, Wis., from Oct. 18-20 for the annual gathering of FFRF members. See details next page.

Scorah is author of the memoir Leaving the Witness, which documents her deconversion from her faith. Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, Amber moved to China to become an underground missionary. However, once there, she came to question the beliefs she had been taught and ended up leaving the religion. Amber then moved to New York City, where tragedy struck. Her 3-month-old son died on his first day in childcare. After suffering this loss, Amber became a parental leave advocate. Combining forces with a Republican mother, their bipartisan efforts brought the cause of parental leave to the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Rep. Pocan, who represents the district which includes Madison, serves as co-chair of  the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. He is also a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, of which Rep. Raskin is a co-founder.

Raskin will provide a short speech via video in accepting FFRF’s Clarence Darrow Award for his advocacy and career as a constitutional law professor.

You’ll also get to listen to FFRF’s Legal Team report on the year’s legal highlights and victories.

FFRF will be honoring an assassinated Indian rationalist and his organization. Avinash Patil will be given the Avijit Roy Courage Award, which includes a crystal plaque and $5,000, on behalf of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), or the Committee to Eradicate Superstition in Maharashtra. It was founded in 1989 by Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, who was assassinated in 2013 at the age of 67. Patil has been the executive president of MANS since 2010.

Also speaking will be the impressive top three prize-winners of our college-bound high school senior essay contest: Aline Pham, Jacob McGee and Shiv Shah.

Other convention speakers include:

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who will be receiving FFRF’s Forward Award.

Sarah Vowell, best-selling author of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture.

Steve Benson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and ex-Mormon, who will be on hand doing clever caricatures of convention guests as a fundraiser for FFRF.

Mandisa Thomas, founder and president of Black Nonbelievers, who will be named FFRF’s 2019 Freethought Heroine.

Isaac Kramnick & R. Laurence Moore, emeritus professors at Cornell University, who will discuss their book, Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic: Atheists in American Public Life.

Rachel Laser, president and CEO at American United for the Separation of Church and State, who will receive the Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award on behalf of AU.

Hemant Mehta, editor of the blog website.

Trae Crowder, who will perform his “Liberal Redneck” comedy act.

Deven Green and Andrew Bradley, the comedy duo of Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian, who will entertain with their act, “God Gets His Annual Performance Review.”

Anthony B. Pinn, who will be receiving FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award, is professor of religion at Rice University.

Andrew L. Seidel, the director of strategic response at FFRF, who recently released his book, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American.

FFRF will be showing Jeremiah Camara’s movie, “Holy Hierarchy: The Religious Roots of Racism in America,” to mark the 400th anniversary of the introduction of slavery in North America.

Amber Scorah
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan
US. Rep. Jamie Raskin