Upcoming and Recent Events

Katherine Stewart

The Freethought Society (FS) is pleased to host author Katherine Stewart on SaturdayJanuary 23, 2021 via Zoom. The event starts with a pre-event chat session at 11:45 AM PST/2:45 PM EST. The formal presentation begins at Noon PST/3:00 PM EST.

Katherine Stewart

Stewart’s presentation is entitled “The Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.”

For too long the religious right has masqueraded as a social movement preoccupied with cultural issues such as abortion and anti-LGBT equality. Stewart reveals a disturbing truth: this is a political movement that seeks to gain power and impose its vision on all of society. America’s religious nationalists aren’t just fighting a culture war, they are waging a political war on the norms and institutions of American democracy. By pulling back the curtain on the movement’s inner workings and leading personalities, Stewart explains how Religious Nationalism works — and how to fight back. 

After a break, plan to stay for a post-event happy hour/social.

Stewart is an American journalist and author who often writes about issues related to the separation of church and state. Her books include The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children and The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.

Please RSVP at the below Meetup link to participate in this event:


All FS meetings will implement the latest available security features and will be recorded for replay on social media. By joining the meeting, you consent to be recorded and agree to abide by the FS Anti-Harassment and Code of Conduct Policy.

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.


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


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.


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/