American Atheists to Host 2011 Convention in Des Moines
American Atheists has announced it will be hosting its 2011 National Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, April 21 – 24. The convention theme is "Atheist Caucus in the Heartland."
"The major factor," said Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists, "was the rapidly growing activism and presence of Atheist, Freethought, Secular, Skeptical, and Humanist groups throughout the region. We have been very impressed by this, and want to do all we can to help and to further energize these groups."
The convention will include speakers, panels, activism workshops and social events.
American Atheists Denounce Governor's "Ground Zero mosque" Alternative
American Atheists have denounced New York Governor David Patterson's suggestion to provide discounted land for the controversial NYC Islamic Center if moved further away from Ground Zero. The group cited the use of public funds for a religious project as a misuse of tax-payer dollars, while noting the many tax exemptions already offered to religious organizations.
"Whatever his intentions, Governor Patterson has no right to use public money or other taxpayer resources to assist ANY religious group to build a house of worship," said Dr. Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists. "Government must stay out of the business of subsidizing mosques, churches, temples, and synagogues."
Freedom From Religion Foundation Unveils Florida Billboard Campaign
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has kicked off a new billboard campaign in Tampa, Fla. The colorful campaign, which features over 20 different billboards, includes messages such as "Imagine No Religion," "God & Government a Dangerous Mix" and "Sleep In On Sundays."
"We want our billboards to be attractive, since our messages are controversial, and freethinkers like stained glass as much as the religious do," said Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "But we'd also like to create a little cognitive dissonance."
Military Religious Freedom Foundation President Responds to U.S. Air Force Academy Climate Study
Michael Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has responded to a recent climate study released by the U.S. Air Force Academy. The study, which draws attention to the religious discrimination present in the United States Air Force Academy, cites instances of cadets facing religious proselytizing and fearing for their physical safety.
"The stunning statistics attendant to the ‘Climate Study' just now released by the United States Air Force Academy clearly reveal that the prestigious military Academy still has a very long way to go on the path to reaching even minimally-acceptable Constitutional compliance in several human rights areas," said Weinstein.
Illinois Atheist Sues Cross Caretakers Over State Grant
Illinois atheist Rob Sherman is suing the caretakers of a large landmark cross to return the $20,000 state grant received for its restoration. The caretakers of the Bob Knob Cross of Peace claim that its tourist attraction status allows for legal grants, but Sherman believes the grant violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
"The job of atheists is to take clergy to court to challenge the epidemic of civil wrongs that they have perpetrated, on the sneak, against the people of Illinois," wrote Sherman on his website. "It's a big job, but somebody's gotta do it."
Friends of the Cross, the cross's fundraising group, claims the grant cannot be returned because it has already been spent.