FFRF 33rd Annual Convention Day 1

Greetings freethought fans.  I’m here at the Freedom From Religion’s 33rd Annual Convention. About 700 of us are gathered at the Concourse Hotel in downtown Madison Wisconsin.

Last night the opening ceremony included a wonderful video message from Wisconsin Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton. Lawton gave a very positive and powerful welcome thanking FFRF for all of it’s work. Lawton is a big proponent of state and church separation. She, no doubt, has received a lot of flack from acknowledging a “heathen” group. Kudos to her!

Journalist Linda Greenhouse gave a very interesting speach about the Supreme Court and rulings regarding separation issues. Greenhouse, a brilliant author and journalist has been covering the Supreme Court of 30 years. Her talk was enlightening.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Emperor Has No Clothes Award. This year presented to author /activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali gave an absolutely wonderful and highly moving acceptance speech. She gave a moving and telling account of her trials and the trials of women, in general, in Muslim countries. As she recounted the actual fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes. She is the little child at the end, of course, that tells the truth and exposes the emperor as actually having no clothes. What’s fascinating is that as a young child growing up with a reform Jewish education, I too was exposed the fable. However, the Jewish religion had hijacked the fable for it’s own self-serving purposes. You see I was taught that the little boy was actually a Jew exposing the Christian believers and their god as false. The Jewish god is the only god and Hans Christian Andersen wrote the fable to illustrate that. For many years I grew up actually believing that lie. Now, as an adult atheist, it gives me great satisfaction to hear this wonderful fable understood as it was meant to be understood. Courageous pioneers like Hirsi Ali are indeed the deserving recipients of awards like the Emperor Has No Clothes Award. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a beautiful, articulate, engaging individual who is a credit to all women and freethinkers everywhere. Her speech brought many present to tears with her lucid antidotes.

At the book signing which followed her speech, my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Hirsi Ali. It was an honor.

The first day was really entertaining and educational.  More later.

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