Ten days ago (22 Dec 2010), most of the local Rock Beyond Belief crew met up with the Triangle Freethought Society. They were hosting Cecil Bothwell, an atheist whose recent election shook North Carolina’s religious community to the core (he won.) Not only did they play dirty during the campaign, sending out flyers and ‘nastygrams’ denouncing him as an evil atheist, they even attempted to interfere with his inaugruation to the Asheville City Council well after the election was settled.
They discovered an interesting blue law in the NC state constitution that demanded all government officials have a belief in God. The religious community decided to ignore the fact that the US constitution trumps state law. This willful ignorance led to a drawn out, and frankly embarrasing loss for them. He spoke candidly about his experience, and fielded tough questions. Our crew was thoroughly impressed, as he even discussed his re-election likelihood (he’s optimistic, and why not?).
He is enjoying a wave of support, and giving it back by speaking all across the nation while the story is still relevant and important. Time will tell if he’ll be gracing our stage (:
I couldn’t help but snatch a photo-op with him.
Triangle Freethought Society likes to celebrate in style after each of their meetings. That night, we went to a nearby pub for drinks. We also ran into TFS member and RBB contributer (not to mention prolific philanthropist) Todd Stiefel. Todd’s charity, the Stiefel Freethought Foundation has donated $10,000 to our cause. This seed money will go soley towards paying the travel and hotel bills for our guests. I think it should be noted that 100% of our guests have waived their honorarium thus far. (This includes the announced secular allstars that you will be hearing about in the next few weeks.)
(Above: TFS and RBB members mingle. Todd Stiefel is center. Notice the famous atheist, Bruce Lee near Todd’s head.)
We hope to raise the rest of our funding over the coming weeks. We are very close to becoming a sponsored project of a 501(c)3 charity. This will allow us to be able to take in enough tax-deductable donations to really make a difference with the Rock Beyond Belief project. If you are interested in donating to our cause, please contact our financial expert, Kristy.