Please note that due to a conflicting event tabling in Newport, PA, we will not be holding the October meeting. Will see you all in either Newport, or at our November York Meeting!
PA Nonbelievers would like to publicly thank Be Secular, who donated to us $190 this weekend at the 2014 PAStAHCon, the portion of the weekend’s proceeds they pledged to us at the beginning of the conference! If you are running an organization that supports the idea of a secular government, please contact them. Not only do they sell merchandise, but they sponsor all sorts of events in the movement. We are so proud to count them as friends, and to be an affiliate!
President, PA Nonbelievers
We’ve got a ton of events going on yet this summer.
We will be at the 38th Annual Red Lion Street Fair, this Saturday, August 9th.
Next week, we will be at the Sunbury River Festival on Saturday, August 16th.
Over Labor Day Weekend, we are helping to sponsor the 3rd Annual PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference – This one will be huge, and is not to be missed!
Of course, you can also drop by our regular monthly meetings. We’d love to see you there!
The best way to stay up to date on our happenings is to sign up for our announcement list. We do not sell or share our mailing lists.
Due to the Fourth of July holiday weekend, we will be cancelling the July York and Board meetings. I hope everyone has a fun weekend, and we’ll see you in August!
We are pleased to announce that 25% of your ongoing patron support in the month of April to SecularFM goes to PA Nonbelievers! SecularFM is a new project to offer 24/7 online podcasting with entirely freethought content!
SecularFM has already collected around $1,000 in monthly patronage. When you offer your support there, it is a monthly obligation, but can be cancelled at any time. Your pledges help support freethought content on the internet, and of course secular organizations like this one. You can offer as little as $1 a month to as much as you like.
Please note that pledges to SecularFM are not tax-deductible, but they are an easy way to keep getting money to organizations like the Foundation Beyond Belief, and the Richard Dawkins foundation (The first two recipients of their program).
We are honored to be selected to be this month’s recipient, and pleased to be a part of supporting freethought media.
HB 1728: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2013&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1728
Reference CBS 21 Broadcast: http://local21news.com/news/features/face-the-state/stories/face-state-rep-rick-saccone-57.shtml
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HARRISBURG, PA, January 20 — Despite the claims of bill sponsor Rep. Saccone, atheist groups in Pennsylvania strongly oppose HB 1728, the “In God We Trust” bill that seeks to force public schools to display a discriminatory and unconstitutional religious message. So do many liberal Christian (and other religious) groups because it is an encroachment on the Constitutionally-mandated separation of government and religion.
On Sunday, January 19th, 2014, CBS 21 (WHP, Harrisburg, PA) aired a program called “Face the State with Robb Hanrahan.” During this program, Rep. Saccone claimed that “the head of the Pennsylvania Atheists” (a non-existent group) came to him after his last rally offering support for his bill. However, he never identified this person by name and no atheist group leader, to our knowledge, attended that event. We ask Rep. Saccone to name this leader, as we cannot imagine an atheist group leader supporting this clearly divisive bill.
In addition, Rep. Saccone misrepresented the bill as “bipartisan” – indeed, it did pass the Education Committee, but with only two exceptions (one Democrat and one Republican), the vote was directly down party lines.
It’s absurd to claim that this bill includes language that is “inclusive.” “In God We Trust” does not represent anyone who does not worship “God.” This includes Buddhists (who do not have a god), Hindus, and many other religions. It also includes atheists, who do not worship any deity. In the program, Rep. Saccone claimed that atheists can make “God” be “whatever god that they worship in the form of maybe it’s [sic] materialism or something else in life that they look at [sic].” This shows an ignorance of atheists generally and is offensive to us specifically because of the misrepresentation of our community as “materialists” or the assumption that we would feel worship is a positive activity. None of us have a “God” to trust, thus this motto does not represent us.
Rep. Saccone knows that there is strong opposition to his bill. His presentation on the program includes gross misrepresentations of our community at the least and we feel he at least owes us an apology. Rep. Saccone should talk to the atheist and secular community to learn our positions before actually representing them to the state at large.
This bill is divisive. It misuses classroom resources such as money and education time. This bill promotes a specifically religious message. Contrary to what Rep. Saccone claims, nothing in his “In God We Trust” bill is remotely patriotic. It also creates a strong impression that the government supports a particular idea of a “God,” which is not permissible under the First Amendment. Because of the latter, if passed this bill will likely be challenged in court, adding court costs to the list of expenses that our already cash-strapped school districts and ultimately the taxpayers would have to bear.
Many additional people in the atheist community cannot sign their names below because, sadly and angrily, they fear personal and professional repercussions from their public support of non-religion. Their situation aptly demonstrates the divisiveness of HB 1728.
We respectfully request an apology from Rep. Saccone for misrepresenting the atheist community and equal time from WHP 21 to represent a secular perspective of HB 1728.
Brian Fields – Newville, PA – President, PA Nonbelievers and Co-Chair, Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania
Scott Rhoades – Lancaster, PA – President, Lancaster Freethought Society and Co-Chair, Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania
Darren Smith – Center Valley, PA – Vice President, Lehigh Valley Humanists
Paul Tucker – Dillsburg, PA – Organizer, Dillsburg Area Freethinkers
Margaret Downey – Pocopson, PA – Founder and President, Freethought Society
Stephen Hirtle – Pittsburgh, PA – Steel City Skeptics organizer
Timothy and Tina Havener – Lock Haven, PA – Organizers, PA Wilds Freethought Society
Shannon and Linda Turk – Wrightsville, PA – Organizers, PA Nonbelievers
Staks Rosch – Philadelphia, PA – Coordinator, Philadelphia Coalition of Reason
Cathryn Smith – Lebanon, PA – Director, PA Nonbelievers
Janice Rael, Organizer, Philadelphia Atheists Meetup
John Murray – Pittsburgh, PA – Organizer, Pittsburgh Atheists Facebook Meetup
This is an important reminder to all members that the PA Nonbelievers annual meeting will be on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 10am at the UUCY Carriage House in York. Our annual meeting is the members’ opportunity to contribute to the organization by helping us pick our officers, raise issues of concern to the organization, and meet and greet members from all over Central PA! You must be a member as of January 29, 2014 in order to vote in our general elections. You also must be a member for at least 6 months to serve as an officer (Officers are elected by the board membership at the board meeting that follows the annual meeting.)
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! If you haven’t received our membership form, you can download it here.
I will be sending out information about the elections in the coming months. Hope to see you there!
It’s time once again for our 2014 Membership Drive!
As you may already know, PA Nonbelievers memberships operate on a calendar basis. That means all current memberships will expire on December 31, 2013.
Here is the 2014 PAN Membership Form! We’re working hard to protect your rights in PA – As well as to provide a welcoming community for Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and all other non-believers in Central PA. We need your support, however, as we can’t operate without your donations. If you aren’t already a member, please – Join us!
Take time and fill out this form and become a member. Take a stand against religious fundamentalism, and for the Separation of Church and State. We are a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, and your donations are tax deductible to the extent that the law permits.
We will be moving our monthly meeting in Chambersburg to the Supreme Buffet across the street, as the Jade Garden is closed for remodeling. We will continue to meet there the third Tuesday of each month at 7pm. Hope to see you all there!
July’s Annville meeting will be at the Batdorf Restaurant at 245 West Main Street, Annville, PA in the Mustard Room. It will, as usual, be on the second Wednesday (July 10) at 7pm. This is a meeting to try out a new place, and may not be a permanent change.