AMERICAN ATHEISTS comes back to the Windy City for a weekend packed with
exciting events including tours, speakers, awards banquet, social events
and much more!
Who could ask for a better venue? Make a "mini-vacation" of your convention
weekend with trips to the Field Museum
featuring the spectacular dinosaur exhibit with "T-Rex Sue,"
the renowned Adler
Museum of Science
The Art Institute of Chicago
music venues and other tourist attractions!
The American Atheists Conventions always feature a cutting-edge
program of speakers, panels, workshops and other events! This is the
29th annual National Convention, and it promises to be our best yet!
COMMEMORATING THE 40th
ANNIVERSARY OF MURRAY v. CURLETT
* Join us as we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the historic U.S.
Supreme Court decision in MURRAY v. CURLETT, the ruling that helped over
turn coercive organized prayer and Bible verse recitation in our
taxpayer supported public school system! This was a historic case for
Atheist civil rights and the First Amendment separation of government
All you expect from an AMERICAN ATHEISTS Convention!
* An exciting program of informative speakers!
* Extensive book and product area featuring videos, gifts and so much more!
* Social events including the informal and popular Thursday night
"jump start," dinners, the Report From The President, Life Member's
Dinner and American Atheists Awards Banquet!
Please note: The last day to make meal reservations is
Join us at the spectacular Indian Lakes Resort outside of Chicago for
what promises to be our biggest and most successful convention yet!
This 260-acre destination venue includes oversized guest rooms,
two restaurants, indoor swimming pool, spa and much more. You're just
minutes from the METRA transit
line which whisks you into Downtown Chicago
and other tourist attractions throughout the area (free shuttle to and
from the METRA station from the resort).
Learn more about this incredible convention facility including an on-line
tour at www.indianlakesresort.com. The hotel is located at 250
W. Schick Road, Bloomingdale, Ill. 60106.
* You must make your reservations directly with the Indian Lakes Resort.
Call them a 1800-334-3417. To qualify for our special rate, you must
inform the operator that you are with the American Atheists National
Convention. The special room rate is in effect from Monday, April 14,
2003 through Friday, April 25, 2020.
Your room rate includes a hot buffet breakfast in the Master's Clubhouse
Restaurants. Children (4-12) years of age stay free at the Resort with
adult, but would be charged $5 for each buffet meal.
* Rates are:
The cutoff for registration will be April 12, 2020. Reservations
after that will be accepted on a space and rate availability basis.
GETTING TO THE INDIAN LAKES RESORT FROM THE AIRPORT...
Most Conventioneers arrive via plane and Chicago will be no exception. We
encourage you to arrive/depart at O'Hare International Airport. Once there,
you have several options on getting to the Indian Lakes Resort.
For those of you not wishing to rent a car at the Airport (a good option if
you are extending your visit for tourism), "My Chauffeur" Limousine Service
offers the best on shuttle service to Indian Lakes. The rate will be
approximately $26 single, with additional passengers at about $7 each.
This rate applies for the period covering 5 AM to approximately 11 PM.
Make your reservations in advance with "My Chauffeur" by calling 1-800-244-6200.
Those arriving at Midway Airport will pay a higher fee beginning at
approximately $36 with $7 per additional passenger up to four persons.
Again, we encourage you to fly into O'Hare Airport and consider using a
rental car or "My Chauffeur."
KIMBERLY BLAKER is the editor and coauthor of The Fundamentals of
Extremism: the Christian Right in America. She is a nationally syndicated
writer whose articles have appeared in more than 90 publications including
the national "Complete Woman Magazine." Her popular column "The Wall" is
carried by magazines and newspapers throughout the nation. Ms. Blaker's
commentaries have also appeared in Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, San
Francisco Examiner and the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
She is also an "honoree" in the Annual Report on Anti-Catholicism of the
paradoxically named Catholic League for Religious and Civil Liberties as a
result of her exposure of that organization's agenda.
American Atheists will host an author book signing for Ms. Blaker
following her talk at the Convention.
EDDIE TABASH is a Constitutional and Civil Rights Attorney from California
who brings an important message to the Convention -- Electing Atheists To
Public Office. The title of his talk is "How to Actually Run
for Political Office." In the year 2000 elections, he finished second out of four
candidates in a primary race for the California State Assembly. He was the
only open Atheist to be a major contender for a state legislative seat.
Mr. Tabash has emerged as a key force in raising political awareness
throughout America's diverse community of nonbelievers. He serves on the
Platform Committee and State Central Committee of the California Democratic
DR. ROBERT T. PENNOCK
Associate Professor at Michigan State University, where
he is on the faculty of the Lyman Briggs School, the Philosophy
Department, the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, and
the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program.
He is also among the world's leading experts -- and critics -- on the
"creationist" and "Intelligent Design movement. His seminal work, Tower Of
Babel: The Evidence Against The New Creationism, dissects and evaluates the
position of leading ID theorists, including Phillip Johnson, William Dembski
and Alvin Plantinga.
Pennock received his B.A. (with Honors) in Biology and Philosophy from
Earlham College in 1980, and took his Ph. D. in History and Philosophy of
Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991.
Pennock speaks regularly around the country on issues of science
and values, and was named a national Distinguished Lecturer by Sigma Xi, The
Scientific Research Society.
His memberships include the American Philosophical Association; American
Association for the Advancement of Science; History of Science Society;
Philosophy of Science Association; and the Society for the Study of
Dr. Pennock will speak on "Intelligent Design Creation and Its Critics."
"A new creationist movement has risen to prominence in the last decade which
promotes a 'wedge' strategy to break apart materialism, overturn evolution,
and to promote what they take to be the proper Christian foundations for
science and culture," says Pennock. "This talk examines the activities and
arguments of the intelligent design wedge and shows why critics from across
the philosophical, theological and scientific spectrum have rejected it."
There will be an author book signing of Tower Of Babel following his talk
to the Convention.
FRANK ZINDLER is the Director of the American Atheist Press, and
Editor of the quarterly American Atheist Magazine. Mr. Zindler is an internationally
renowned science writer and linguist, with an expertise in over two dozen
contemporary and ancient languages. He is a former professor of biology
Frank Zindler is a member of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society and the American Schools
of Oriental Research. He is also a member and participant in the Jesus
Seminar, a global community of scholars probing the early history of
Mr. Zindler will be speaking about his new book, The Jesus The Jews Never
Knew. This promises to be a seminal work in the debate concerning the
historicity of the alleged Judeo-Christian messiah. Zindler excavates the
historical record, examining in rigorous detail the Jewish writings from
the early Christian era, and finds little evidence to support claims that
"Jesus" was mentioned. American Atheists is proud to host a book signing
for Frank Zindler following his talk.
ELLEN JOHNSON is President of American Atheists. She has served with
the organization for over two decades, and since 1994 has co-hosted "The
Atheist Viewpoint" television program carried on dozens of cable systems
throughout the nation and on the internet.
Last year, Ms. Johnson served as Chairperson of the Godless American March
on Washington (GAMOW) Task Force, which organized the first national
gathering of diverse Atheist, Freethought and Secular Humanist groups in
Washington, D.C. Her call for our nonbeliever community to "work together
on the basis of mutual respect" struck a chord with thousands of
nonbelievers throughout the nation.
Ellen Johnson is a frequent media guest on national and regional programs.
She received her Masters Degree in Political Science from the prestigious
New School for Social Research and is a second-generation Atheist.
is a medical practitioner, and has served as an active
member of the German Atheist group Bund Gegen Anpassung (Alliance Against
Conformism). She was part of that groups international campaign against
the criminal prosecution of Atheists under Germany's notorious "blasphemy"
Last year, Ms. Tietze spoke at the Franco-American International Colloquium
on Separation of Church and State held at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France.
In her talk to the American Atheists Convention, she will describe the present
status of Atheists and other nonbelievers in Germany including the enforced
imposition of a church tax on millions of citizens by the German government.
FRED WHITEHEAD is an internationally distinguished historian on the history
of Atheism, Freethought, Rationalism and related movements.
Dr. Whitehead took his doctorate at Columbia University in English
Literature in 1972, and was a Fulbright Scholar at University College in
London. Among his professional academic honors are membership in Phi Beta
Kappa, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (1965); Danforth Fellow (1965) and
affiliation with several cultural and historical learned societies.
His writings have appeared in numerous publications including
"Kansas history," "The Washington College Review," and "Quindaro Literary
Dr. Whitehead is a cofounder of the Da Vinci Society which is devoted to
organizing interdisciplinary seminars on medical and other scientific topics.
In 1992, he co-edited the anthology "Freethought on the American Frontier."
After serving as Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor of Family
Medicine at the Kansas University Medical Center, Fred Whitehead found
himself in a dispute with that institution over its unconstitutional
sponsorship of seminars and other activities dealing with "spirituality"
and medicine. An international campaign was launched in defense of
Dr. Whitehead, leading to a complaint being filed with the federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. Unfortunately, the University prevailed.
Today, Dr. Whitehead continues his writing and is an editor of numerous
books and publications.
Dr. Whitehead speaks on "Freethought History in France," this following
his recent trip to France and participation in an international freethought
NORMAL BOB SMITH
is a freelance graphic artist, writer, creator and head of the complaint
department at www.JesusDressUp.com.
According to his autobiography, he is also the "smart aleck anti-host"
of another irreverent web site, NormalBobsmith.com where he illustrates his humorous
Satan's Salvation comic strip, showcases an outrageous fan base, offers a
large variety of Dress Up style fun pages and, finally, replies to an
astonishing volume of hate mail, all in an unapologetic Atheist voice.
Mr. Smith has been condemned and threatened on the Mancow Muller radio show,
verbally attacked by his parent's pastor, rejected by every magnet
dye-cutting plant in the United States, and damned more times than he
cares to remember.
He is also loved.
Normal Bob Smith speaks on ... well, you'll just have to see it!
mixes a hearty blend of humor and scientific information in his wild and enlightening
presentations. He tackles all of those pesky questions you might have about everything
from mainstream science to those UFO's "frequently spotted by Kansas farmers and
recreational chemical enthusiasts."
He is a self-described enigma wrapped in a lab coat! And he operates the Dr. Science
web site for your edification.
It promises to be a wild, and informative presentation as Dr. Science ventures
forth from his secret laboratory, the Fortress of Arrogance, to join us at the convention!
The title of his talk is "Obsfucational Redundancy In the Lab and At Home."
is an international renowned religion and genealogical researcher,
writer and lecturer specializing in issues relating to The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons.) Her provocative and
controversial articles about that sect have appeared in the American press,
and in 1998, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome published on her
Since 1999, Ms. Radkey has reported on the failure of the agreement
signed by LDS leaders and Jewish organizations in which the Church
promised to halt its proxy baptisms for deceased Jews. The practice
continues, despite denials by the Mormon leadership.
The title of Ms. Radkey's talk is: "Saving the Dead - Mormon Style."
CONRAD GOERINGER is Editor of AANEWS and staff writer for the
American Atheists Magazine. A former antiquarian book dealer and freelance
reporter, his articles on science, politics and popular culture have
appeared in numerous publications.
Mr. Goeringer's talk is titled: "Muhammad Is From Mars, Jesus Is From Venus
-- Secularism, Pluralism and Taming Organized Religion." He examines the
contrast between the beliefs of "muscular" religious movements such as
militant Islam and fundamentalist Christianity with their counterparts
which are held in check by secular institutions and traditions. Can the
West, and especially America, continue to "tame" these sectarian groups
and preserve tolerance, diversity and the First Amendment? And what do the
1939 World's Fair, the SuperBowl, M-TV, gay rights, evolution, the planet's
tallest buildings, riots over Bible passages, a Stephen King novel and the
debate over boxers-or-briefs have to do with all of this? Find out...
A SPECIAL PANEL OF STATE DIRECTORS DISCUSSES THE QUESTION:
HAVE WE MADE PROGRESS SINCE
THE MURRAY CASE?
Forty years ago in a combined decision which included the historic MURRAY v. CURLETT case,
the U.S. Supreme Court struck down coercive prayer and Bible verse recitation in the
nation's taxpayer-supported public schools.
What's happened since then? The separation of church and state remains under attack,
as political and religious interests promote vouchers, "special rights" for sectarian groups,
and the faith-based initiatives. In schools, Atheist youngsters remain the target of
"prayer bullying" as off-campus churches seek to turn classrooms into culture war
battlefields over prayer, teaching evolution and sex education and other issues.
What's happened in the four decades since MURRAY?
A panel of American Atheist State Directors takes up this important question. Guest
panelists include Larry Darby (Alabama); Shelly Hattan (Texas); Dave Silverman (New Jersey);
Mike Rivers (Utah); and Dave Kong (California).
Joining in the discussion is Duane Bucholtz, National Legal Director for American Atheists.
ONCE AGAIN, A SPECTACULAR SUNDAY CRUISE AS WE TOUR CHICAGO ON
THE GREAT LAKES COMPLETE WITH ENTERTAINMENT AND A GOURMET BUFFET BRUNCH!
Last year's cruise of Boston Harbor was such a smash hit -- we had to
do it again, this time in Chicago!
On Sunday, April 20, Conventioneers are invited to embark on a luxury
tour of the Chicago waterfront on the majestic Odyssey II, the largest
fine-dining cruise ship on the Great Lakes. The 200-foot-long Odyssey II
includes three climate-controlled decks with rear open-air deck areas,
plus an expansive Sky Deck.
We'll board charter buses starting at 10:30 AM and depart the Indian Lakes Resort at
11:00 AM Sunday morning and head for Navy Pier on the Chicago waterfront.
Once aboard, indulge in the two-hour cruise which features a sumptuous
buffet brunch, live jazz entertainment, and incredible views of the
Chicago waterfront. This excursion provides memories that will last a
lifetime, and a setting that only a true luxury vessel like the Odyssey II
The brunch on board the Odyssey II rivals anything served by a "landlubber'"
gourmet restaurant. The Executive Chef and staff prepare a bountiful array
of appetizers, entrees, salads and desserts sure to please any number of
tastes. Choose from salads, breakfast, and a smorgasbord of entrees
including Lamb Casserole, Jerk Roasted Chicken, Atlantic Salmon, Whole
Roasted Sirloin and much more!
The trip includes your round-trip bus transportation to Navy Pier and back
to the Indian Lakes Resort. Once again, we are offering a special rate just
for the American Atheists National Convention. Pamper yourself! Indulge,
and bring the convention weekend and your visit to the Windy City to a
memorable close by joining us for this spectacular tour on the Great Lakes!
Help make this convention a success by "spreading the word!" Link to this page
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The American Atheists Oral History Project
Recording Your Atheist History For Posterity
One of the goals of the Charles E. Stevens American Atheists Library and
Archives is to provide you with an opportunity to have your oral history
recorded and preserved for posterity. It is important that you leave a
record of what life was like for you, as an Atheist. There is no other such
undertaking of its kind anywhere. Future generations will have the valuable
opportunity to be able to reflect on who the Atheists or our era were, how
they lived -- and in their own words.
At this year's 29th National Convention of American Atheists, Mr. Bart Meltzer
will be videotaping the oral histories of conventioneers. A sign-up sheet
will be available at the registration desk, and appointments for recording
made on a first-come, first-serve basis. A list of questions will be
provided in advance of the taping so that you can prepare your responses.
Your place of birth
Were you reared in a religious or non-religious home? If religious, what
Are you a first, second or third generation Atheist?
What has been the most significant influence on your Atheism?
What has life been like for you as an Atheist in America?
In the time remaining for this interview, is there anything you would like
The service is free for members of American Atheists. There is a $25 charge
The oral history recordings will only be made at the annual national
Convention of American Atheists. So join us as we inaugurate this important
new project to preserve the legacy of Atheism!