Snapshots from the 2010 FFRF Convention

Welcome to the convention!

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton addresses the convention on the first night.

The FFRF also gave an Emperor Has No Clothes award to Rep. Pete Stark, the only openly nontheist U.S. congressperson, who accepted in a pretaped message.

Linda Greenhouse discusses the Supreme Court.

Dan Barker presents the Emperor Has No Clothes award to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who signed copies of her books after her acceptance speech.

Pioneering geneticist James F. Crow speaks on evolution and creationism.

Eric Workman accepts the Thomas Jefferson Student Activist award for successfully halting state-sponsored prayer at his high school graduation.

Kirk Mefford (R.) and Aaron Blum (L.) discuss their role as advisors to a nontheist student group at West High School. They brought one of their students with them as well.

FFRF staff attorneys Rebecca Markert, Patrick Elliott and Richard Bolton discuss legal challenges.

One theocratic judge put this copy of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom to show how pious he was. See anything wrong with it? Notice which one is missing?

During the lunch break, we toured this street fair in downtown Madison. You can see the impressive dome of the state capitol building.

Julia Sweeney reads from her new book, My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story.

Madison cartoonist Mike Konopacki gave a graphical (and graphic) presentation on religiously inspired violence in American history.

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks rallies freethinkers to action.

A wide shot to get a sense of the size of the convention. This was about half the ballroom; the other half, equally packed, was behind me.

Julia Sweeney signs books and DVDs after the convention (with Annie Laurie Gaylor looking on, right). Did you know she had a small role in Pulp Fiction? She was much amused when one conventiongoer presented her with this large poster…

Did someone order a large ham? The last event of the night was ex-Mormon cartoonist Steve Benson, who presented a gallery of his most infamous political cartoons with musical accompaniment by Dan Barker.

Freethought Hall, the FFRF’s historic headquarters, was just down the road.

I have to admit, as inspiring as it was to see Freethought Hall, it was dwarfed by this Episcopal cathedral down the block – and that’s just one church, in one city. It’s a reminder of how much work we have left to do in organizing and advocacy. Of course, to be fair, churches enjoy a smorgasbord of tax benefits and legal privileges not available to groups like FFRF. We’ve only just begun to fight!

SF/F Saturday: Terry Pratchett’s Death
Atlas Shrugged: Bring Me a New Black Guy
You Got Your Ideology in My Atheism!
Atlas Shrugged: The Craft of Not Acting
About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Monty

    I also wasn’t aware that there was an eleventh commandment (not counting the multiple lists, of course), or that eleven comes before ten.

  • hourlily

    The Ten Commandments plaque is hilarious. It’s missing “thou shalt not commit adultery” and the ninth commandment is marked with the Roman numeral for eleven. Either the judge can’t count to ten or he doesn’t think onlookers will notice.

  • Ron Brown

    Go, Cenk!

  • 2-D Man

    Actually, it looks like commandment number eight is missing. IIRC, that’s the prohibition on … stealing. (Well, unless you’re Catholic, then it’s the prohibition on slander and libel.)

  • Abbie

    I hadn’t heard of Sweeney’s “My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story”. I can’t find much record of it (it’s not on Amazon) but one site says it was published last year, but either that’s wrong or it’s the worst book release in human history.

  • Brock

    In fact, it is number VIII that is missing, but the actual commandment not to steal is after VII, which should be the one about sleeping around, which is nowhere to be found. One has to wonder about a theocratic judge whose attempts to be Biblical arouse so much corrective comment from a bunch of atheists. If anyone has info, by the way, about the Sweeney book, I’d love to know about it.

  • LindaJoy

    I was at the convention and had a wonderful time. Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor and their whole staff worked very hard and all that work sure paid off. I would highly recommend attending their conventions!

    Julia Sweeney read what I believe was just the first chapter of the book. She did not know when the book would be completed, but I hope it is soon. What she read was both hilarious and touching.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali was much funnier than I expected, mainly because her book is so serious.

    I hope someone taped the Toons and Tunes show by Dan Barker and Steve Benson because it was absolutely wonderful.

    700 attendees… pretty good for a group that has 16.000 members nationwide!

    Last but not least.. it was a real treat to meet Ebon and spend some time getting to know him. I am now an official groupie! :)

  • kennypo65

    I would love to attend one of these, posting on a forum is a poor substitute for face to face conversation with like-minded people.

  • anna

    Julia Sweeney did not publish “My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story” yet. She is writing it now. She was supposed to publish it earlier, but she didn’t have time to write it all, so she used her notes so far to make the CD “Letting Go of God.” Hopefully she will finish the book and publish it soon.