Two Weeks Until the Oklahoma Freethought Convention

We’re less than two weeks away from the Oklahoma Freethought Convention, taking place on June 23rd at the Tulsa Convention Center Assembly Hall.

Tickets are still available, you can now see the convention schedule, and there’s also information about an afterparty!

(Oh! And there’s a zero-tolerance harassment policy for the event. Good!)

I’ll be at all the festivities. If you’re able to make it, consider coming out for the event!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.theaunicornist.com Mike D

    Woohoo! I’ll be there. 

  • CoboWowbo

    For financial reasons, I had to choose between the Reason Rally or FreeOK ’12… Since I was at the Reason Rally, I’ll look forward to freeOK ’13. :)

  • Fsq

    I read the “zero-tolerance” policy that operates under the rubric of “harassment”.

    Do you not see the hypocrisy with this? Do you not see how foul and off-base that is? You want to restrict freedom of expression, clothing that may be deemed too sexual, or basically anything that some delicate flower will get up in arms about.

    I am sorry, but this is the first step toward really fucking up the atheist and secular movement. You think you are doing the right thing here, but in fact are doing the exact opposite.

    Jesus Fucking Christ, when did people begin thinking they need behavioral roadmaps? And guess what, people hbit on each other ALL THE TIME. Women hit on women, men hit on men, men hit on women….If you are really so sensitive that you freak out and turn any little thing into a battle, then you are really, truly sad.

    And do you not find it a little odd that many iun this community srceech and squawk about the “honor’s contracts” that places like BYU, Bob Jones, and Liberty make students and faculty sign, opnly then to turn around and try and insitute something like this?

    • asonge

      Talk about spectrum fallacy! The harassment is based on behavior. If someone makes it clear they do not want further advances and you continue, then you deserve to be ejected. Have you heard some of the accounts of some women (and even a couple of men)? Are you conflating the removal of someone’s consent or autonomy to participate in flirting, etc with the contracts that require abstinence from alcohol, etc? When you’re in a conversation, you need to respect the boundaries that the other person has set up…approach the boundaries carefully and if you get a signal that it’s okay. The entire idea of flirting isn’t to go up to someone and proposition for sex right then and there, but it’s to play around on the socially acceptable boundary to see if the other person wants to play as well. If you get a cold reception, it’s better to just move on than to risk putting someone in a more difficult position so you can be sure that you have no chance with the them. It’s flirting, not an emotional siege to get around the other person’s defenses.

      • Fsq

        Did you read the policy? I mean, each and every little word?

        That policy is as restrictive as you could find. SO much for free-thought, expression, and skeptical approaches. That policy is so restrictive and open-ended that anyone with a grudge can chime in and cry wolf.

        And do not think for a minute this whole issue has not been blown out of proportion because of people like Rebecca Watson et al. It is akin to a divrcee who immediately files an abuse claim and gets a restraining order. This policy is a forward step toward censorship and thought policing.

        It is a shame, and the politcal arm of the movement is going to lose credibility. But, no one ever wants to tell the Emporer he is not wearing any clothes.

        • mikespeir

          You weren’t planning on doing any of that stuff, anyway, right?

          • Fsq

            Riiiigggghhhhhtttt…the old “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then what have you got to hide” argument.

            If I am not doing anything wrong, then why do you want to restrict my (using my metaphorically here) freedoms?

            Talk about inverted logic. It is the same line of “reasoning” TSA, law enforcement and the feds use for eroding civil liberities.

            This policy is horrid. And it is the first step toward censorship and splintering the atheist community, an already tenuously held-together group to begin with.

            I thought we were supposed to be about getting rid of dogma and repression, yet here we stand on the precipise of a new secular/atheist/progressibe dogma and repression.

            And then you have Hemant, who I (up to this point) have a good bit of respect for now hopping on the “with us or against us” bus.

            Not good.

            • mikespeir

               Actually, I was being sarcastic.  It certainly wasn’t intended as an “argument.”  It was meant to express my suspicion that those not planning to do anything wrong probably wouldn’t chafe at these rules.

              Being “freethought” doesn’t mean anything goes.  Wouldn’t it be nice if rules weren’t needed?  Alas, they seem to be.

              • Fsq

                Mea Culpa issued then Mike!

                And yes, it would be wonderful if rules were not needed. But if there must be rules, they should be smart rules, and rules that are incredibly diffuclt to abuse.

                This set and bill of goods is just ripe for abuse and “crying wolf”.

                And mea culpas for misinterpreting your tone, not always easy in the HTML world!

        • asonge

          The freedom of expression isn’t the right to say anything you want, it’s the right of other people to hear what you have to say. If they don’t want to hear what you have to say, they have the right to stop you or leave. Most of the time, this is just social and someone drops hints decreasing in subtlety as time goes on until you get a flat out rejection (if you get a flat-out rejection often and quickly, this is a sign that you are an idiot). Take a look at what PRECISELY is defined as harassment: “Harassment includes: offensive verbal comments (specifically those related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion), sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.”

          Note: this does not outlaw hooking up. This does not outlaw flirting, specifically because flirting is about approaching the other person’s boundaries slowly and waiting for an invitation from the other party (sometimes signals do get crossed, yes). What flirting isn’t: walking up to someone while drunk and telling them that they look sexy and asking if they would like to hook up. Notice how the penalties here aren’t set…but an organizer will be the mediator between you two and has the ability to take swift action. I’ve dealt with things in this vein before, and almost universally it’s not even close with regards to someone was being inappropriate or not. You’re the one that’s equating allowing everyone to establish and enforce normative personal boundaries with honor contracts that outlaw cleavage for women in religious communities, and that is insane.

          • Fsq

            Who would have though that the pony-tailed and birkenstock clad men and women would be the most repressive and leading the charge to restrict freedoms?

            Sad.

            • asonge

              So, you haven’t raised anything that’s actually in the harassment policy specifically and continue to issue polemic that has nothing to do what’s actually in the policy. You also tried to derail the conversation with material about divorce proceedings and abuse. Do people have or do they not have the right to set up and enforce normative personal boundaries? That’s exactly what this harassment policy is about. There’s nothing in there about free speech. I have a friend who works in the adult entertainment industry (porn) as a software developer, and *their* conferences have had similar harassment policies in the past. In fact, they kicked out a couple who tried to do a “live performance” even though organizers told them no (and this is among people who host live performances). This isn’t about free speech, it’s about your “right” to pressure women into talking to you or risk being labelled a bitch, which you call free speech.

              • Fsq

                It isn’t going to matter, you are not going to see the glaring hypocrisy here and you are only giving anecdotal tidbits.

                Read the policy yourself, it is all in there. There is reference to dress code, what is deemed appropriate (who does the judging on this? The French judge? The Russian judge? Because those guys are tough) and basically operates under a guilty until proven inncocent methodology based solely on someone’s accusation. That is dangerous and yes, it will be abused. Guaranteed.

                And yes, it is akin to a divorcee using a false retraining order as revenge or a tactic in divorce or custody proceedings because all it takes is one false accusation and the accused is fucked. Whether it is true or not.

                ANd yes, people like Rebecca Watson have turned this into a dog and pny show. There is a clear “bandwagon” effect in motion, and it operates under a “if you speak out against it you are an ______” you fill in the blanks as you see fit, but it is usually misogynist or some other tripe cooked up in the fervor and thrashing.

                Bad policy. Bad idea. Bad direction.

                It is the creation of the nanny-state. I would rather have some idiots acting badly without the rules, then have a nanny-state become enforced.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      And this is why you’re not invited to the party :)

      • Fsq

        Just a well reasoned and thought out statement Hemant. Just very becoming a man of your position.

        Oh, and wait, to make it all okey-dokey…
        :)

        You are really doing more harm than good with this direction. But, like apologists, you choose to bury a head in the sand and not look objectively at the situation.

        The atheist/secualr movement is really being derailed and turned into one huge dog-and-pony show.

        It is very VERY sad to see.

    • Met

      I was very interested in going to this, then I read the policy.  It’s open-ended, it’s poorly written, and I’m just not sure I want to be there.  I understand there are some women pissed off about neck-beards making comments but I have a hard time believing you couldn’t just tell people that they’ll be ejected if they’re disruptive…I don’t think you’d have any issues kicking someone out for harassing the hell out of a gal even if she’s got her mammaries hanging out and begging for attention, but immediate “zero tolerance” for “unwanted sexual attention?”…man this sounds like an excuse for pissed off feminazis to tromp on every dick they see noticing their boobs.

  • mikespeir

    “Oklahoma Freethought Convention”?  You do understand the concept of the oxymoron, don’t you?

  • Robster

    Jees what a bummer! I’m in Australia and we’re (at least) 24 hours from Tulsa. poop.

  • bobo

    Oh yay! I live in Tulsa and can’t wait to check it out.  I wonder if there will be local advertising for the event…..

    • Sheila G

      I’ve seen a very good ad that is going to run on local TV, I’m told.  Here in OKC there hasn’t been a peep about it thus far.  Advertising takes money and I did pitch in a few extra bucks when I bought my ticket.

  • Sheila G

    Thanks for the afterparty link!  I didn’t receive that.  Have my ticket and hope to meet you there.  And thanks so much for speaking!  We bible belt godless need some encouragment.


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