Upcoming and Recent Events

Robert G. Ingersoll Birthday Party with Tom Flynn 8-11-13

INGERSOLL2The Freethought Society and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP), together with the Center for Inquiry, are pleased to announce a co-hosted Robert G. Ingersoll birthday party and presentation by Tom Flynn on Sunday, August 11, 2013.

Margaret Downey portraying Eva Ingersoll. Image © mvjantzen

Margaret Downey portraying Eva Ingersoll. Image © mvjantzen

NOTE: Due to the illness of his wife, Tom Flynn will not be a presenter on Aug. 11, however, Margaret Downey will substitute for him. She will be giving Flynn’s presentation and using his slides, and she will unquestionably add her own style to the event. Margaret is uniquely qualified to substitute for Tom since she has traveled with him as a co-presenter, and is a member of the Robert G. Ingersoll Museum Advisory Board. She has given presentations on Ingersoll and his wife Eva, and has even dressed as Mrs. Ingersoll. A photo of her in costume has been added to this notice.  We are sorry that Tom Flynn will not be able to attend and we wish his wife a speedy recovery.

Flynn’s presentation, “Freethought’s Forgotten History,” will take place at the Ethical Society Building located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 11:00 AM speech is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is requested to offset expenses. Birthday cake, punch and coffee will be served after the presentation.

It is too often forgotten, but Dundee, New York lies near the center of one of America’s great cradles of radical reform. During the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century, west-central New York State was a boiling cauldron of activism and controversy in areas like the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and freethought —the principled critique of religious orthodoxy.

Flynn2America’s best-known nineteenth-century freethinker, Ingersoll was born in nearby Dresden. He is the subject of a new book by historian Susan Jacoby (The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought). Within a two-hour drive to one another are located some 59 historic sites relating to figures like Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Obadiah Dogberry, and Margaret Sanger.

Don’t recognize the name of Obadiah Dogberry? You also might not know what event happened at the corner of Fourth and Franklin in Watkins Glen, New York that shaped the future of American obscenity law. Ingersoll Museum director Flynn will fill in all the details as he presents a whirlwind illustrated tour of Ingersoll’s birthplace and the Freethought Trail.

Flynn is Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, editor of Free Inquiry magazine, and director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum. He co-founded the Freethought Trail with Sally Roesch Wagner, director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Museum.

Flynn is editor of the reference work The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (2007) and author of several books including The Trouble With Christmas which is always displayed on every Tree of Knowledge displayed around the country.

A birthday party with cake will take place after the Flynn presentation in the upstairs location at the Ethical Society Building.

RSVP requested via the Facebook page or the Meetup Page.

Jay Wexler; Separating Government & Religion, 7/1/13

wexler2The Freethought Society (FS) and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP) are pleased to cohost Jay Wexler, noted Professor of Law at Boston University and award-winning author and humorist, who will present his “Holy Hullabaloos and Beyond: The State of Church/State Law in the United States (and maybe some other things)” at the July 1, 2013 gathering.

Jay Wexler’s humorous, lively and revealing presentation is based on his best-selling book Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars.

“In the fall of 2007, I spent about six months traveling to all sorts of interesting places where big church-state Supreme Court cases came from,” Wexler said. “I wanted to visit the people who were involved in the cases and see the places where they actually happened. I went to an Amish farm, a high school football game in East Texas, the U.S. Senate, a community of really Orthodox Jews in New York State, a Santeria get-together in South Florida, and downtown Cleveland.”

Wexler has received many great reviews, including this from Publishers Weekly:

  “Wexler’s lucid explications of difficult constitutional concepts and the vagaries of Supreme Court rulings are superb, providing readers a deeper understanding of the First Amendment and Supreme Court jurisprudence. But that’s only half the story. Wexler is laugh-out-loud funny as he narrates his odyssey through battleground sites from rural Wisconsin through Texas to the chambers of the U.S. Senate. Along the way he happily and with a usually generous spirit skewers Supreme Court justices, legislators, educators, law school professors and pretty much anyone else, including himself, who has ever taken a position on the enduring American controversies surrounding prayer in schools, religious displays on public property, or the teaching of evolution. This is a rare treat, a combination of thoughtful analysis and quirky humor that illuminates an issue that rarely elicits a laugh.”

Wexler is also the author of The Odd Clauses: Understanding the Constitution Through Ten of Its Most Curious Provisions, and his first book of fiction, The Adventures of Ed Tuttle: Associate Justice and Other Stories, and has written numerous academic articles, essays, reviews and stories for the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, National Geographic NewsWatch, Slate, Salon, Spy, and several other publications.

Hear Jay Wexler give his funny and revealing presentation at 7:00 PM on July 1, 2013 at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. It is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is requested to offset expenses. 

RSVP via the FS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/264369357035058/   or the FS Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Freethought-Society-Meetup/events/124257472/

May-June 2013 Freethought Society Newsletter

Direct link to the newsletter: May June 2013 Newsletter-web  Continue reading: May-June 2013 Freethought Society Newsletter

Roy Zimmerman to Perform “Wake Up Call” April 1, 2013

Roy Zimmerman

The Freethought Society and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia are pleased to announce the return of Roy Zimmerman to the Philadelphia area. Roy’s “Wake Up Call” performance of original and funny songs about ignorance, war, greed, hope, struggle, change and more greed takes place on Monday, April 1, 2013. The charge is $18 (pay at the door) with discount available to students and seniors. Anyone would be a “fool” to miss this April 1st concert!

Roy’s one-of-a-kind performance begins at 7:30 PM at the Ethical Society’s Building located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Pennsylvania. Zimmerman sings satirical songs – all original songs about class warfare, creationism, same-sex marriage, guns, marijuana, abstinence, Republicans (a lot of songs about Republicans), ignorance, war and greed. There’s a decidedly “Lefty” slant to his lyrics.

In 2012, Roy and his co-writer wife Melanie Harby traveled 47,000 miles
to complete a 50-state tour of all 49 states. Hawaii was “Omission
Accomplished,” he says.

“Wake Up Call” is a funny, tuneful and unabashedly progressive look at what they saw and heard across America in the
Obama Era. The show is ninety minutes of original, rhyme-intensive songs, with funny titles such as Abstain With Me and I Want a Marriage Like They Had In the Bible. Roy also sings heartfelt songs like Hope, Struggle and Change and I Approve This Message. The audience always enjoys Roy’s impassioned comic commentary.

With thirteen albums over twenty years, Roy has brought the sting of satire to the struggle for peace and social justice. His songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime. Roy has recorded for Warner/Reprise Records, and he has been profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered. Roy’s YouTube videos have amassed over seven million views, and he is a featured blogger for the Huffington Post.

Sing Out! Magazine writes, “Zimmerman is a guy on the left skewering folks on the right with rapier-sharp lyrics … underneath the caustic satire is a man who is surprisingly optimistic.” See for yourself: Creation Science 101, To Be a Liberal, and Defenders of Marriage.

Don’t miss Roy Zimmerman’s Monday, April 1, 2013 one-man show on April Fools Day!




Katherine Stewart: The Good News Club – January 28, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013, 7:00 PM at the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA

The Freethought Society (FS) and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP) continue a commitment to co-host quality speakers. We are pleased to announce Katherine Stewart as the speaker for Monday, January 28, 2013.

Stewart’s presentation is based on her popular book, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.

In January, 2009, Katherine Stewart learned that the Santa Barbara public  elementary school her children attended had added a Bible study class  called the “Good News Club” to its afterschool program. She soon learned that the Good News Club—a seemingly spontaneous and voluntary  after-school program—was in fact part of a larger, calculated initiative by national advocacy groups whose declared aim is to “take back” America’s public schools and repurpose them with a Fundamentalist  Christian agenda.
What happened in Stewart’s community is happening nationwide: at the end of  2010 there were more than 3,500 Good News Clubs operating in public  schools across the country, and the number is rapidly increasing. What’s more, a landmark 2001 Supreme Court ruling not only permits such an  unusual pairing of schooling and religion, it effectively makes it  obligatory.
In The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, Stewart sets out on an investigative journey to uncover the effect the Good  News Clubs and similar initiatives have on our schools, children, and  communities. She travels to dozens of cities and towns across the  country and visits regions famous for their piety, like west Texas and  Alabama, as well as places known for the opposite, like Seattle and New  York City. Everywhere, she discovers religion-driven programs inserting  themselves into public school systems with unprecedented force and  unexpected consequences.

 The Christian Right’s strategy to “take back America” is stealthy,  calculated, extremely well-financed, and coming soon to a neighborhood  near you.

 The presentation will take place at 7:00 PM at the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Stewart will expose a well-funded, highly coordinated effort by Christian Nationalists to use public schools to advance a fundamentalist agenda.

Stewart is an investigative journalist and author. She began her career working for the Village Voice, Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, and Marie Claire. Stewart has also written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, and Religion Dispatches.

Read more about Stewart and her eye-opening book here: http://seattletimes.com/html/books/2017469135_br10goodnews.html

PLEASE RSVP via our Meetup:  http://www.meetup.com/Freethought-Society-Meetup/events/96540182/    or FACEBOOK pages: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Freethought-Society/147128532024347#!/events/527983293892082/