Larry Robin on Scott Nearing: Making of a Radical 9-29-14

The Freethought Society is pleased to host as its next speaker Larry Robin, the former president of the oldest independent bookstore in Philadelphia until it closed in December 2012. Robin’s presentation, Scott Nearing: The Making of a Radical, will take place on Monday, September 29, 2014 at the Ludington Library (5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania). The event starts at 7:00 PM. It is a free and open to the public event.

LarryRobinWhile very few people have heard of Scott Nearing, Robin considers his legacy an important topic for all freethinkers and the public at large.

“I met Scott Nearing in 1961 when I was 18 and he was 78. I knew him for 22 years until he died on August 24, 1983, at the age of 100 years plus 18 days,” says Robin.

Robin went on to say, “Nearing is right after Thomas Paine in my list of heroes. With doctorates in Economics and Sociology, Nearing was fired from the University of Pennsylvania after writing the first book on child labor in the United States. That was in 1914. Nearing was arrested for sedition when he wrote a pamphlet against the draft for the First World War in 1917.

Nearing, according to Robin, “…was a radical economist, educator, writer, political activist, sociologist, socialist, pacifist, homesteader, organic gardener, vegetarian, and seeker of the truth.”

scottNearingThe author of hundreds of books and articles on economics and politics, Nearing and his wife Helen wrote Living the Good Life, about self-sufficient homesteading. It became the handbook for America’s “Back to the Land” and “Simple Living” movements.

Robin is the co-founder of Moonstone Incorporated and the director of the Moonstone Arts Center. He has served on the boards of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Read Aloud Coalition of Philadelphia and The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Robin has served on the literature panel of the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and is a member of the advisory boards of The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, and the Philadelphia Ink program of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Year of the Pennsylvania Writer and Art Sanctuary. For 18 years, Robin created and directed The Celebration of Black Writing. He also directed The Paul Robeson Festival for eight years. For 18 years, Robin has been credited for Poetry Ink and various other Moonstone programs. He currently produces poetry programs and, since 2009, The Hidden History Project. The Living History Project is a citywide festival celebrating the life and work of social activists, such as John Brown, Frances Harper, Martin Delany, Ida B. Wells, and Charlotte Forten.

For more information, contact:
Margaret Downey
Freethought Society President
Phone: 610.793.2737
Email: Margaret@FtSociety.org

MAAF President Jason Torpy on Rights for Atheists in Foxholes, 10/6/14

FS is proud to present Jason Torpy, President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF).  MAAF is a national non-profit that is developing a strong community, providing education about the numbers and needs of nontheists in the military and advocacy for nontheists in the US military services.  Torpy will join FS at the October 7 Sunshine Meeting in West Chester to speak for the inclusion of the Tree of Knowledge.

torpy2This free and open-to-the-public speech takes place on Monday, October 6, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the Ludington Library (5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania).

Torpy’s speech, entitled “The Pathway to Equal Rights for Atheists in Foxholes,” will highlight historical precedents and current events related to religious privilege in the military, the humanist community, and the role of the chaplaincy in fostering change. Topics will include humanist alternatives to church at the military academies and at Air Force basic training, humanist religious preference, and the Navy’s humanist chaplain candidate.

MAAF members currently populate more than 20 countries, all 50 states, and over 100 military installations and ships. One can truly say that not only are there atheists in foxholes, they are in foxholes all over the world. Individual members can find support and strength by coming together with local organizations. On-post groups as well as the other communities are listed on the MAAF website and provide ways for members to meet individually or at local atheist, freethought, and humanist gatherings.

RSVP via our Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Freethought-Society-Meetup/events/206804302/    or on the FS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/347831125373712/ 

Chester County Sunshine Meeting re Tree of Knowledge 10/7/2014

BY MARGARET DOWNEY:

• The Freethought Society (FS) has decided that FS must make another appeal to the Chester County Commissioners to allow the display and inclusion of the nontheist symbol – The Tree of Knowledge.

Please see the FS website (www.FtSociety.org/menu/tree-of-knowledge) for complete details and history of The Tree of Knowledge efforts. We must not give way to the bigotry and prejudices that the Commissioners have against the nontheist community.  FS board members will attempt to convince the Commissioner that nontheists are indeed an integral part of the community and that our symbol must be included in the 2014 Winter Holiday Display. We need your help. The more voices we get, the more convincing we can be.

tree2The Commissioner ignored a petition with over 350 signatures in 2010. A Chester County attorney figured out a free speech loop hole and rendered the ACLU efforts on our behalf useless in 2011. They dismissed us again in 2013. Get this folks, the Chester County Commissioner take ownership of the  Free speech zone for two full months in the winter — displaying things that theydeem  Important — nothing more!

The Commissioners did not listen when representatives from the Secular Jewish, Hispanic Freethinkers and Nontheist Indian community spoke on our behalf in 2012.

Now we want to try again, but this time, we want a crowd of speakers to overwhelm the Chester County Commissioners’ Sunshine Meeting.

Meeting details are printed below. If you plan to attend –PLEASE DO NOT REMAIN  SILENT. Every voice is precious in this fight. Speak for one minute or five. Just please show that you are there for a reason and the reason is to support The Tree of Knowledge.

Here is a brief outline of what you need to say, should you attend:

My name is…

I am a resident of… (county and state)

The Tree of Knowledge is important to me because …

I will visit West Chester to see it (bring family/friends, shop and eat in West
Chester, celebrate the season, etc.)

Make a personal appeal if possible.

Say thanks for listening/considering, etc.

Have at least six copies of what you say (one for each Commissioner, one for FS, one for reporters)

It’s easy and can be very quick. You do not need to be eloquent or forceful. Just add your voice to the subject matter. If you would like assistance in formulating your statement, contact me ASAP. Your attendance is vital.

Location, date and time is as follows:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

10:00 AM 6th Floor

313 West Market Street

West Chester, PA. 19380

–  Margaret DowneyFounder and PresidentFreethought Society

P.O. Box 242Pocopson, PA 19366

Phones:610-793-2737

Office610-793-2569

Fax610-357-9432

Email: Margaret@FtSociety.org

Websites: http://www.FtSociety.org

http://www.Friggatriskaidekaphobia.com

http://www.Secular-Celebrations.com

July-August 2014 Freethought Society Newsletter

Click here to go directly to the pdf to read the July August 2014-Freethought Society Newsletter

In the pdf newsletter you will find the following articles: Continue reading: July-August 2014 Freethought Society Newsletter

Sikivu Hutchinson on Feminism, Freethought, and the 99%; 7/24/14

The Freethought Society (FS) is very pleased to present noted author, blogger, feminist, and secular and human rights activist Sikivu Hutchinson on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the Ludington Library (5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania). Hutchinson is a dynamic speaker and the author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Value Wars and Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, Sikivu Hutchinsonand Transportation Politics in Los Angeles. Her latest book, Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels has been a huge success. Hutchinson will speak on “Feminism, Freethought, and the 99%” at the event, which is free and open to the public.

Much of Hutchinson’s work focuses on the cultural and social history of African American secular humanist thought and its role in black liberation struggle.

“As part of the most religious ethnic group in the nation,” Hutchinson states, “African American nonbelievers are a tiny minority in a community which has borne the brunt of the economic downturn. While white atheist and humanist organizations go to battle over church/state separation and creationism in schools, black nonbelievers face a racial and gender divide precipitated by rollbacks on affirmative action, voting rights, affordable housing, reproductive rights, education, criminal justice, wages and job opportunities.

“Similar to the race/class schisms within feminism,” Hutchinson notes, “when progressive black atheists look to atheist and humanist organizations for solidarity on social justice there is a staggering disconnect.  In a nation where whites and people of color are still separate and decidedly unequal, culturally relevant humanism challenges colorblind myths of meritocracy.”

Hutchinson is a senior intergroup specialist for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission. She received a Ph.D. from New York University and has taught women’s studies, cultural studies, urban studies, and education at UCLA, the California Institute of the Arts, and Western Washington University. She is a contributing editor for The Feminist Wire and was named 2013’s “Secular Woman of the Year.” In 2010, she founded Black Skeptics Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing outreach, advocacy and education for nonbelievers of color and their allies. She is also the founder and project director of the Women’s Leadership Project, a feminist, humanist high school mentoring program based in South L.A. In addition to her three nonfiction books, Hutchinson is currently working on a novel based on the 1978 Jonestown massacre, where the 918 dead were overwhelmingly people of color.

Hutchinson’s presentation is free and open to the public and begins at 7 PM on July 24 in the main level large meeting room of Ludington Library. The library is located at 5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr.

For more information, contact:

Tom Melchiorre
Freethought Society Board Member and Event Host
Email: Publish@TomMelchiorre.com
Phone: (610) 960-2558