Chambersburg Harrisburg Lancaster Lebanon York

PA Nonbelievers and others sue to allow non-theist invocations before the PA State House of Representatives

Many of you know that members of PAN and other non-theistic Pennsylvanians have tried for years to offer an invocation before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. An invocation can be secular, and we have offered to present non-theistic opening messages before that body gets down to business. The House has turned us down.

Around the country, many cities, towns, boroughs and townships (as well as some state legislatures) have decided differently. They have decided that in a diverse country, all voices deserve to be heard. Thus, they have welcomed invocations from a variety of Christians as well as from Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans and yes, atheists, Humanists and freethinkers.

I’m proud that, representing PAN, I’m now a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed on August 22nd by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and American Atheists (PAN is a local partner of American Atheists) that opposes this clearly unconstitutional policy. The other plaintiffs in the case include PAN member Joshua Neiderhiser; Dillsburg Area Freethinkers, its chief organizer Paul Tucker, and member Deana Weaver; and Lancaster Freethought Society and its president Scott Rhoades.

In AU’s press release announcing the lawsuit, Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director, stated, “When governmental bodies open their meetings with invocations, no viewpoints should be excluded. That includes people who do not believe in God. No one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen by their government.”

AU’s Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser added the following: “Just like people who believe in God, Atheists and Humanists are capable of delivering inspiring and moving invocations. There is no good reason for the House to exclude them.”

All we’re asking for is equal time. We’d like to give a secular invocation. It would not be critical of anyone’s religion. It would not be disrespectful. It would just be non-theistic. Why won’t the Pennsylvania House leadership agree to this simple, reasonable request?

Brian Fields
PA Nonbelievers

Barbara Mancini will be visiting PA Nonbelievers meetings this summer!

We are pleased to announce that over the summer we will be hosting visits from Barbara Mancini at all of our normally scheduled meetings. The schedule will be as follows:

Lebanon: June 8th
Harrisburg: June 9th
Chambersburg: June 21st
Lancaster: July 27th
York: August 6th


Barbara Mancini lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and two daughters.

She has been a nurse for over three decades.

In 2013 she was arrested and prosecuted in Pennsylvania on the charge of aiding the attempted suicide of her dying 93-year old father after handing him his prescribed morphine four days before his death.

A hospice nurse and police ignored his written advanced directives, and he was then hospitalized and treated in defiance of his end-of- life wishes.

Barbara’s prosecution lasted a year, during which time it garnered national attention, and it was roundly criticized throughout the media.

A judge dismissed the case due to “a lack of competent evidence.”

She was interviewed about her case on NPR radio and TV’s 60 Minutes, and presented in a forum at the Cato Institute in Washington DC. She has become a vocal advocate for better care and more end-of- life options. She will discuss her case and the implications for all who are facing end of life decisions.

December 2015 Lancaster Meeting Cancelled!

This is a reminder that the PAN Lancaster meeting, formerly scheduled for Wed. Dec. 23, has been CANCELED.

The next regular meeting at Isaac’s will be on Wed. Jan. 27.

See you all in 2016!

Renew your membership today!

Hello everyone!

I would like to remind everyone that time has come again – Time to renew your membership, or to start your membership for 2016! PA Nonbelievers memberships run on the calendar year, so all current memberships expire on December 31, 2015.

If you would like to become a member of PA Nonbelievers, we now can take your memberships directly online. Memberships run on the calendar year, so they expire on December 31, 2015 for this year.

You can start your membership today at

You can also use our familiar old form to print and send your membership in through the postal service, if you prefer. We’ll be bringing copies to our meetings over the next few months, or you can print out this form and mail it in to:

PA Nonbelievers
PO Box 702
York, PA 17405

Your membership donation helps us continue to operate. It also gives you the right to vote in our elections in the spring. I’ll be sending more information out about that soon, but in order to qualify to vote you must have your membership in by January 29th, 2015.

Thank you so much everyone for your continued support! Your membership helps us continue to do the work we do on behalf of Atheists, Agnostics, and Humanists in central Pennsylvania!

Brian Fields
PA Nonbelievers, Inc.

Conference Wrap-up

Hello everyone!

Wanted to take a few minutes and share some final information from the 2015 PA State Atheist/Humanist conference!

First, we are in the process of finalizing the videos from the conference. Those will be online over the coming weeks. We have several wonderful pictures of the weekend, which you can see here:

Friday night:


Sunday Morning:

Atheists Fight Hunger:

We’re excited to report that for the first year ever, we sold out our tickets through Saturday (Our largest attendance day) – Over 250 attendees, a record for the conference!

We want to thank everyone who came for helping make this our best conference ever! Our speakers, our VIPs and attendees, our vendors, our sponsors, and especially our volunteers! Without you all we could not have made this event the success it was!

Last, but certainly not the least – the Atheists Fight Hunger project was a success beyond anything I could have imagined. Our final numbers:

Approximately 80 volunteers from the Annual PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference this weekend packed 30,300 meals. Over the last year, we managed to raise a total of $7,575. AT THE EVENT, we raised $1,870.50 alone, just from our volunteers who were there.

I cannot believe the privilege it’s been to be a part of this. Scott Rhoades and I co-founded and have for the 4th year co-chaired this conference, and this has been our most amazing year yet!

Thanks so much everyone for all of your help making this happen. I can’t even properly express the gratitude I feel for it.

Brian Fields
PA Nonbelievers, Inc.

Become a member of Pennsylvania Nonbelievers today!

If you would like to become a member of PA Nonbelievers, we now can take your memberships directly online. Memberships run on the calendar year, so they expire on December 31, 2015 for this year.

You can start your membership today at

Your membership helps us continue to do the work we do on behalf of Atheists, Agnostics, and Humanists in central Pennsylvania!

Summer Solstice Party

It’s that time again, for our Summer Solstice Party!

Our solstice party will be on Sunday, June 21st, from 2 to 6pm at:

4360 North Sherman Street Extension, Mount Wolf, PA 17347

This is a pot luck picnic. Feel free to invite friends, neighbors, and anyone interested in hanging out for a get-together with your friendly neighborhood Atheists, Agnostics, and Humanists. Please plan to bring a dish to share with everyone. If anyone is available to help set up, please let us know.

Please check out the event on Facebook, and you can register your dish here.

July 4th update

Because of July 4th, we will be cancelling the meetings in York on that day. We will see you all on August 1st!

No other meetings or events are affected by this. Hope everyone has a great holiday!

DOGMA DEBATE: Live at Lebanon Valley College!

Pennsylvania Nonbelievers and The Institute for Interfaith Literacy and Leadership present:

DOGMA DEBATE: Live at Lebanon Valley College!

WHEN: Sunday, May 3rd at 2pm
WHERE: Lebanon Valley College, Allan W. Mund College Center, Leedy Theater
HOST: David Smalley

Get your tickets now here:

We are pleased to announce this event, featuring guests we will be announcing shortly.

Dogma Debate is a fast-paced talk radio show that averages 145,000 listeners per month, and topped over 3 million podcast downloads. The topics range from politics and religion to science and comedy, but it’s a favorite among people of all ages and backgrounds. The show is known as a platform for liberal and conservative believers to defend their faith and political views with respectful challenges by those who disagree. It may upset you, it will make you laugh, but most importantly, it will make you think.

David Smalley (@davidcsmalley) is a former Christian musician whose education in psychology, sociology, and world religions, with a deep-dive study of Christianity for more than 14 years, resulted in his atheism. He later became a secular activist and avid speaker, writer, and radio host. David quickly grew Dogma Debate from an idea, to an iHeartRadio show with millions of downloads. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of both Secular World & American Atheist magazines, the author of Baptized Atheist, and founder of He is most known for his respectful approach to believers, most recently featured in the 2014 movie “My Week in Atheism”.

All tickets are will-call only, and will be available for you when you show your ID at the door.

Join us at our Winter Solstice Party!

Date: 12/20/2014
Time: 4pm-8pm
York City Pretzel Company
39 W. Market St.
York, PA 17401

Join us for our 2014 Winter Solstice Party! We’ll be in the heart of York, PA, at the brand new York City Pretzel Company – And we’ll have the store all to ourselves for our private event! You don’t have to be a member to come – Everyone who wants to spend time with like-minded atheists, agnostics and humanists is welcome to join us!

We’ll also be collecting donations at the event for the Foundation Beyond Belief and our Atheists Fight Hunger program. You can help us out by giving cash or check to help these worthy causes. All donations will be split evenly between the two programs.

Bring food, drink, alcohol, and any other refreshments for yourself and other people to share. Please register at our Potluck page so that we don’t duplicate items. Also don’t forget we will need paper plates/cups/silverware/etc. We will have power available for crock-pots and other stuff. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all.

Hope to see you there!

Brian Fields
PA Nonbelievers