|Also we got this bitchin' design on a shirt.|
|Alexander Aan, proof that|
Church/State separation is no
"White People problem"
|Amanda Knief in action|
James Croft of the newly-renamed Harvard Humanist Community was also on hand to share his expertise in the field of effective communication. While he noted the importance of logical arguments, Croft stressed that there was a lot of work to do in making the emotional connection necessary to make audiences into allies of secularism. We then had a chance to put his principles of communication into action, recreating the University of London Muhammad cartoon controversy, crafting responses from the atheist student group to the broader campus community. The fact that the whole presentation was done in extended Star Trek and Star Wars metaphors certainly didn't hurt in making Croft's workshop all the more enjoyable.
|Master Ingersoll says: The phrase|
"hokey religion" is an audience turnoff!
The weekend was also an opportunity for CFI to put forth their vision for what we should do now, promoting a year of Secular Service during which groups will pledge volunteer hours to be counted towards an overall goal. One specific project mentioned was a joint effort with Foundation Beyond Belief to participate en masse in the Light the Night walks to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The first $500,000 will be matched by the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, with the total goal for secular involvement in Light the Night set at a million dollars!
|Hey, that's me!|
|Secular activism is srs business.|
But what's a get-together of atheists without some good, wholesome fun? For Sabbath entertainment, fresh off his two sets at the Reason Rally, Jamie Kilstein provided a display of manic rage at everything broken about American culture hilariously punctuated with personal anecdotes that would have been downright depressing were it not for his brilliant delivery. Though I had previously been vaguely aware of Kilstein's work, I am now a full-blown fan. If you're looking to waste an hour or so online, you can't go wrong with checking out his stand-up on YouTube or listening to Citizen Radio, the current events podcast he hosts with his wife.
If it hasn't yet been made abundantly clear, this conference is a superb way to spend a weekend if you want to be a leadership force in the secular community. The Center has phenomenal resources at its disposal, the attendees could very well be the best friends you'll ever meet, and the passion of the organizers is clear in the quality of the event they put on. Thanks for everything you do, CFI. Hope to see you again next year.