Upcoming & Recent Events

West Coast Friggatriskaidekaphobia Party Feb. 13, 2015

The Backyard Skeptics, the Freethought Alliance and the Freethought Society have joined together to bring the Friggatriskaidekaphobia Party (Fear of Friday the 13th) on Friday the 13th of February, 2015.  It will be held at the Howard Johnson Inn Fullerton Hotel and Conference Center, 22 W. Houston Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832  (714) 922-1700. (Discounted Rooms available while they last- mention “Friday the 13th Party)

Cost is $13.13 for Early Registration, $15 at the door.  

RSVP and Pay $13.13 now by clicking here:  www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=FJKB5XERPY5YG  (Payment collected by the Freethought Alliance via PayPal.)

See the flyer below for full information, entertainment, guest lists and more. For more information, please visit or contact us via www.Friggatriskaidekaphobia.comFtSociety.org or the FreethoughtAlliance.org.

























The 2014 Philadelphia Tree of Knowledge event 12/7/2014

The 2014 Philadelphia Tree of Knowledge

Book This Event for a Secular Holiday Season

ToK2014Please plan to celebrate the 2014 winter season in a festive freethought fashion by attending a Tree of Knowledge decorating special event! The Tree of Knowledge will be placed in the lobby of the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP) at 11:00 AM on Sunday, December 7, 2014. The Freethought Society (FS) is proud to join with EHSP for this celebration of openness, education, and freedom of conscience. EHSP is located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome!

The Tree of Knowledge will be decorated around noon following an EHSP program featuring an address by Hugh Taft-Morales entitled, “Great Awakenings.”

Taft-Morales will explore the First Great Awakening that brought an angry god to America at the beginning of the 18th century, the Second Great Awakening fueling public social reform early in the 19th century, and the 20th century wave of progressivism that woke government up to its responsibility for ordinary citizens. Taft-Morales will conclude by advocating for a contemporary “great awakening” of secular government and a culture of humanism and freethought.

The Tree of Knowledge became a winter symbol for the nontheist community in 2007, originally placed on the lawn of the Chester County Courthouse in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Despite appeals for openness and acceptance, Chester County Commissioners have prevented the nontheist community’s symbol from being included in any the traditional winter holiday display since 2010. EHSP welcomed The Tree of Knowledge display with excitement and full support for the diversity it represents.

Margaret Downey, President of FS said, “This is the fourth year that we’ve celebrated the winter season with a Tree of Knowledge at the Ethical Humanist Society. It started as a symbol of inclusion and sharing in this region but The Tree of Knowledge has since become a tradition, not just in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but throughout the world.”

Visitors are encouraged to bring two color copies of the front of a favorite book to the December 7th event. A laminator and other craft materials will be available for those color copies to be made into an ornament. The ornament can be placed on the Ethical Society’s Tree of Knowledge or used for a home display.

Downey and FS board members Jennifer Taylor and Patti Butcheck will be making the ornaments at 1:00 PM in the upstairs meeting room.

Enjoy the Taft-Morales EHSP presentation on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM, and stay for The Tree of Knowledge decorating party and noon! Both events are free and open to the public.


To view photos of previous Tree of Knowledge displays, see:       https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xaadwcswcszxvij/AAA2JyLkjtUEpQJq6lV72DZta?dl=0

For more information, contact:

Margaret Downey, FS President

Phone: 610.793.2737

Email: Margaret@FtSociety.org                                              

Hugh Taft-Morales, EHSP Leader

Phone: 215.735.3456

Email: LeaderHugh@phillyethics.org

Ron Lindsay on the Necessity of Secularism Dec. 8, 2014

The Necessity of Secularism; Especially During the Winter Holiday Season

ronLindseyRon Lindsay, noted author, President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), will be hosted by the Freethought Society (FS) and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP) at 7 PM on Monday, December 8, 2014. Lindsay’s presentation on The Necessity of Secularism: Why God Can’t Tell Us What To Do is based on his book of the same name. This event takes place at the EHSP building, located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is a free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome!

Lindsay’s presentation is based on his recently published second book, which has garnered extreme praise by many notable reviewers.

“For some,” Lindsay states in his book, “secularism has become the ultimate scare word. …What’s interesting and ironic about this hysteria over secularism is that secularism, properly understood, is the best protection religious believers have, particularly in a society they no longer control. Secularism protects freedom of conscience, including freedom of religion; it doesn’t threaten it. One reason some may have such dread of secularism is that they mistakenly equate secularism with atheism… But secularism and atheism are distinct views and don’t even belong in the same category.

“The fact that I have been both a believer and a nonbeliever also gives me a heightened awareness of the novel, challenging situation in which the United States and many other countries now find themselves. For the first time in human history, we have substantial numbers of nonbelievers living side-by-side with believers. Moreover, this is a situation that is likely to persist for some time. The number of nonbelievers is going to increase in developed countries, but religion is not going to disappear in a few years, if ever.”

Lindsay is by training and experience the quixotic combination of lawyer and philosopher. He has a PhD in philosophy from Georgetown University specializing in bioethics, and a JD from the University of Virginia. He is the author of the essay “Euthanasia” in the International Encyclopedia of Ethics, as well as articles in many other prestigious publications, and of the book Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas.

FS President Margaret Downey stated, “We are honored to have Dr. Lindsay give his presentation here in Philadelphia because this is the city where an unprecedented secular government began.  The Constitution includes a very important statement. Article VI explicitly states that ‘no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.’”

Hugh Taft-Morales, the EHSP Leader added, “The ‘no religious test’ Constitutional tenet was affirmed many times in court cases, including the United States Supreme Court in 1961 in its unanimous decision in Torcaso v Watkins.”

After the presentation, at 8:30 PM, visitors are invited to attend a birthday party for Dr. Lindsay in the upstairs EHSP community room. Birthday cake and beverages (wine, coffee, tea, and water) will be served. Donations for the party are appreciated.

For more information, contact the following event organizers:

Margaret Downey, Freethought Society President

Phone: 610.793.2737

Email: Margaret@FtSociety.org   


Hugh Taft-Morales, EHSP Leader

Phone: 215.735.3456

Email: LeaderHugh@phillyethics.org

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


FS is sorry to announce the cancellation of this Jason Torpy event. We will attempt to reschedule asap and let you know!


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/ 

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