Michael Werner is a Vietnam Veteran who was drafted just a year before he would have completed his Ph.D. He served with pride, and began a lifelong journey towards Humanism.
His thirst for knowledge lead his academic studies through philosophy, world religion,and he was able to actually use what he learned to solve his major nontheistic dilemma. The cultural, organizational, and community aspects that were positive attributes of most religions were often lacking in the nonbeliever’s life. That is until he joined the American Humanist Association where he was mentored by many of the heavyweights who founded the organization in the 1930′s and 40′s. By the 1990′s, he had worked his way up to the top of AHA’s leadership. He has just recently retired, but that hasn’t slowed down his activism and public speaking. Additionally, he has continued to help organize new Humanist chapters. Mr. Werner spreads his experience and wisdom to the new blood, and we took his advice to heart.
Luckily for us, Mr. Werner lives in near-by Wilmington, NC. He contacted me and said was going to be traveling through Fayetteville.So this morning we met up at a local bakery for breakfast and conversation. Both friendly and engaging, he spoke with passion but not zealotry. We exchanged our background stories and picked at each other’s brains for an hour and a half. He’s brilliant and charming, and so we are proud to announce that he will be speaking at Rock Beyond Belief.
Among his many achievements, he is a co-signer on the Humanist Manifesto III, ‘Humanism and its Aspirations’. Take a look at the long list of influential people that his signature joins. Here are a few names that stuck out as I skimmed the list:
Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott (Speaker at RBB), Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Michael Shermer, Margaret Downey (close RBB ally), Oliver Stone, Francis Crick
Michael was gracious enough to go out of his way for Rock Beyond Belief, even in the midst of the AHA’s very ambitious campaign launch a few days ago. In case you hadn’t heard, the AHA has embarked on a massive advertising campaign, with over $200,000 in its initial budget. This campaign is going to be huge, both in scope and in impact. The New York Times already has a few articles under its belt, as well as a spot on NBC.
Todd Stiefel, an influential philanthropist put up 75% of the money through his extremely successful Stiefel Freethought Foundation. Mr. Stiefel lives relatively close to Fort Bragg, and is a very close ally of Rock Beyond Belief. Our staff would like to say good luck with the campaign, AHA. We’re rooting for you.
We will be bringing you regular updates about the AHA, and Michael Werner. Stay tuned.