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Freethought Society EZine for March April 2024

Click here to see the March/April 2024 Freethought Society (FS) Ezine.

In the Ezine you will find the following:

  • The 2023 Philadelphia Tree of Knowledge and Historical Overview
    by Margaret Downey
  • Photos of the Tree of Knowledge Event
  • Statues Like Us
    by Hugh Taft-Morales
  • The Winning 2023 Student $1,000 Scholarship Essay
    by Lilac Burke
  • Much is Expected
    by Herb Silverman
  • Protect Science Education in Massachusetts and Beyond
    by Abby Hafer
  • Freethought Society Activities Calendar
  • Donation and Information Page

We hope that you will remain or become an active supporter of the great work FS is doing. Please donate to the general fund or select a project you want to help sponsor. All donations to FS are tax-deductible (EIN: 23-2738574).

The Freethought relies on small donations to make ends meet. Please support freethought, educational programs, and much more by starting a monthly recurring donation of $5 today. We made it easy for you to donate. Please visit: https://www.ftsociety.org/donate/

If the Ezine inspires you to become more actively involved with FS, please provide us with your contact information, including your phone number and mailing address.

Special events are being planned in your area so don’t miss an opportunity to participate further. All personal information is confidential and will not be shared with other organizations.

We want supporters to stay informed at all times.

Secular Day of the Dead

The 2021 Secular Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos Secular

A Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular event is a celebration of life. Nontheist Hispanic/Latin people and others view the Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular as a perfect way to remember the legacy of dead loved ones that does not require prayer, church, or religious dogma. To nontheists, our legacies are our afterlife.

The Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular event will include many redesigned and religion-free Hispanic/Latin traditions and rituals that celebrate our one and only life, legacies, and cultural heritage.

More and more people are abandoning their religious upbringing but still want to celebrate the beauty of the Hispanic/Latin culture. This is why a Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular was created. The 2021 Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular will be presented as a Zoom event on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 with special attention to Spanish speaking participants. The 2021 Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular is cosponsored by The Freethought Society, Hispanic American Freethinkers, American Atheists, Center for Inquiry, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, and Atheists United.

          Register here!

3:45 PM (PST)/6:45 PM (EST) Pre-Event Social

Entertainment and chatting opportunities with like-minded individuals will take place during this 15-minute time slot, featuring a mini-concert by John Davidson – a Hollywood legend and musical stage star who lived in Mexico and speaks Spanish.

4:00 (PST)/7:00 PM (EST) Welcome

Bilingual welcome by organizers and cosponsors Robyn Blumner, Victoria de la Torre, Margaret Downey, Nick Fish, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, David Tamayo, Kevin Bolling-Hey, Debbie Allen, and Sergio Ortega-Rodriguez. Cosponsors and organizers will each light a candle to honor a “Secular Saint” of historic significance. A Spanish Speakers Zoom Room and an English Speakers Zoom Room will be offered to participants at this time. A musical interlude will be provided by cellist Rich Rodriquez as people divide into their preferred language Zoom Rooms.

4:30 PM (PST)/7:30 PM (EST) Guest Speakers

Julia Sweeney Interviews Jon Huertas

“From Heartsick and Holy to Happy Heathen”

5:00 PM (PST)/8:00 PM (EST) Honoring Ceremony

Reservations are being taken for speakers who want to celebrate the life of a dead loved one. Reserve a 3-5-minute time slot by emailing SecularDayoftheDead@FtSociety.org

The Honoring Ceremony will open with dedications from author Fernando Alcántar, Ethical Culture Leader Hugh Taft-Morales, activist and president of Atheists United Christina Magallanes-Jones, educator Consuelo Cortes-Fleming, and photographer John Jones-Cortes.

The musical interlude will feature Margarita Reyna and James Nunnelley performing a Cumbia dance.

After the reserved speaking spots conclude, the Zoom spotlighting function will be available for anyone who would like to participate. The screen share function will be enabled so that speakers can display photos of the person being honored. The honoring of a pet is also welcomed.

Prizes will be awarded and mailed to participants who the cosponsors determine to have the best Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular themed clothing, Zoom setting, face painting, face mask, and hair adornment.

See photos of the prizes and find additional information on Facebook!

The end time of this event is unknown. Anyone who would like to honor a dead loved one will have an opportunity to do so before we conclude with a mini-concert by Gary Stockdale and Abraham Steve Mackey.

To see what was done last year, see our YouTube recordings of the 2020 celebration!

     English Room

     Spanish Room

Tree of Knowledge 2020 Event

Hugh Taft-Morales and Margaret Downey
Tree of Knowledge Winter Holiday Celebration

On Saturday, December 12, 2020 The Freethought Society (FS) and the Philadelphia Ethical Society (PES) will co-host a Winter Holiday Zoom event during which a Tree of Knowledge will be decorated in the FS office located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The event starts at 11:45 AM (PST)/2:45 PM (EST) with a 15-minute Pre-Event Social piano concert featuring Rollin Wilber. Wilber’s musical presentation was filmed at the PES building located at 1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Authors of books that are always included on our Tree of Knowledge will be in attendance. Margaret Downey, president of FS, and Hugh Taft-Morales, leader of PES, will introduce special guests with technical assistance from Michael Steven Martin. Invited authors and titles of their book that each chose to discuss include:

Dan Barker
God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction

Rob Boston
Why the Religious Right Is Wrong 
About Separation of Church & State

Christopher Cameron
Black Freethinkers

Tom Flynn
The Trouble with Christmas

Annie Laurie Gaylor
Women Without Superstition

Karen Garst
Women Beyond Belief

Abby Hafer
The Not-So-Intelligent Designer

Bailey Harris
My Name is Stardust

Elle Harris
Elle the Humanist

Hemant Mehta
I Sold My Soul on eBay

Julien Musolino
The Soul Fallacy: 
What Science Shows We Gain 
From Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs

David Orenstein
Darwin’s Apostles: The Men Who Fought to Have Evolution Accepted, Their Times, and How the Battle Continues

Ben Radford
The Martians Have Landed!

Herb Silverman
Candidate Without a Prayer

Katherine Stewart
The Good News Club: 
The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children

Tom Krattenmaker
Onward Christian Athletes

Marlene Winell
Leaving the Fold

As each author speaks (5-10 minutes each), a laminated copy of the book cover they are discussing will be placed on the Tree of Knowledge at the FS Chester County office. 

After the formal presentations conclude there will be a 10-minute break with entertainment from Abraham Steve Mackey and Taft-Morales. Get yourself a holiday drink and rejoin us for a Post-Event Social. Attendees can help select additional laminated book cover ornaments that will adorn the 2020 Tree of Knowledge during this time. The list of available book cover ornaments can be found at this link:

FS Recommended Reading List Tree of Knowledge Ornaments and Scan List

As each book cover ornament is placed on the Tree of Knowledge, the person who made the selection will be invited to talk for 3-5 minutes about why the book is of significance and should be included.

Tree-of-Knowledge-Ornaments-Scan-Project-and-Ordering-Information

Please sign up at the Freethought Society Meetup page to learn how to participate in this event:

https://www.meetup.com/Freethought-Society-Meetup/events/274279625/

This meeting will implement the latest available security features to help keep our conversation secure and will be recorded for replay on social media. By joining the meeting, you consent to be recorded and agree to abide by the Freethought Society’s Anti-Harassment and Code of Conduct Policy.

 

Celebrating the Tree of Knowledge on December 1, 2019

The 2019 Philadelphia Tree of Knowledge (ToK) will be installed and decorated on Sunday, December 1, 2019 in the lobby of the Philadelphia Ethical Society (1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

The installation ceremony begins at 11:00 AM with a presentation by Hugh Taft-Morales, who is the Philadelphia Ethical Society Leader. The title of his presentation is “The Hidden Joy of Serving: Appreciating Their Story.” Taft-Morales will talk about the importance of listening to the stories of the people we volunteer to serve.

Freethought Society (FS) founder and president, Margaret Downey will create ornaments on-site for anyone who brings two color copies of the front cover of their favorite book.

This event is free and open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring two color copies of the front cover of their favorite book.

Tree of Knowledge