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Help feed the hungry!

Pennsylvania Nonbelievers has been involved in running the PA State Atheist/Humanist conference since 2012. At next year’s conference (2015), we would like to organize a food-packing event to give to people who are hungry. We will be working with a non-profit called End Hunger NE to organize a food packing event to be held at the PAStAHCon in Harrisburg, PA on the weekend of September 11th-13th, 2015.

Each meal costs 25 cents. That’s it. For every 25 cents you donate, you can feed one person one meal. We will then, at the conference, package those meals we raise money for to deliver at local food banks, providing food for those who need it. Please help however you can, and show everyone that atheists, humanists, agnostics, skeptics and other nonbelievers DO care!

To donate, click here: http://www.gofundme.com/atheistsfighthunger

 

Become a member of Pennsylvania Nonbelievers 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 2015! PA Nonbelievers memberships run on the calendar year, so all current memberships expire on December 31, 2014.

You can download your membership form here. 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 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 February 5th, 2015.

Thank you so much everyone for your continued support!


Brian Fields
President
PA Nonbelievers, Inc.
http://www.panonbelievers.org

PROTEST: Saturday, September 27th, in Bedford County, PA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHO: Truth Wins Out, American Atheists, and Pennsylvania Nonbelievers

WHAT: The three organizations will be holding a joint press conference and demonstration in Bedford, Pennsylvania, where a fourteen year-old child is being tried in juvenile court in Bedford on October 3 for “desecrating” a Jesus statue, after pictures were posted on Facebook of the teen simulating a sex act with the statue. The teen did no damage and the religious organization who owns the statue does not wish to prosecute, but a rogue district attorney has chosen to do so, under a questionable interpretation of a Pennsylvania law which bans “desecration” of religious objects. Truth Wins Out, American Atheists and Pennsylvania Nonbelievers will come together to speak out for freedom of speech and freedom of religion for all, including minor children who pull pranks that may offend some religious believers. In attendance will be Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen, American Atheists President David Silverman and Pennsylvania Nonbelievers President Brian Fields.

WHEN: Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM.

WHERE: The event will be held on public space at the center of Bedford, Pennsylvania, near the steps of the courthouse where the youth is to be tried. The courthouse is located at 200 South Juliana Street.

BACKGROUND: In Bedford County, Pennsylvania, a fourteen year-old child is being tried in juvenile court for “desecrating” a statue of Jesus on the grounds of the Love In The Name Of Christ organization outside Everett, Pennsylvania. The teen posted pictures on his private Facebook account, which came to the attention of Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins, who has decided to prosecute the child under a Pennsylvania law which bans the desecration of religious objects, including “physically mistreating [objects] in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.” Higgins maintains that he is simply a district attorney who wishes to uphold Pennsylvania law, but his own statements on the case undermine that claim. In an interview with local media, Higgins stated that “this troubled young man offended the sensibilities and morals of our community. His actions constitute a violation of the law, and he will be prosecuted accordingly. If that tends to upset the ‘anti-Christian, ban-school-prayer, war-on-Christmas, oppose-display-of-Ten-Commandments’ crowd, I make no apologies.” By making this statement, it is clear that Higgins is more of a frustrated right-wing radio host than a responsible district attorney. Higgins wishes to retaliate against the talking points he recited above, and he intends to do that by making an example of a fourteen year-old child.

The youth’s actions may have been in poor taste, but religious freedom does not include the right never to be offended by a teenager’s prank. Moreover, prosecution of this action is a clear violation of the teen’s own First Amendment rights.

All those, religious or otherwise, who value their own rights to stand up, speak out, and exercise their own freedom to worship or not worship as they see fit are invited to join us on Saturday as we take a bold stand for the First Amendment.

Pennsylvania Nonbelievers Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization devoted to delivering information for rational and critical thinking. We welcome atheists, agnostics, unbelievers, secularists, humanists and those whose lives are guided by a human-centered morality, not dogma, to come join our lively discussions.

October York Meeting cancelled!

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!

BeSecular: Helping Secular Organizations raise money!

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!

Brian Fields
President, PA Nonbelievers

Summer is in full swing! Join us for our August Events!

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.

July York Meeting Cancelled

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!

Brian Fields
President
PA Nonbelievers

25% of all donations in April to SecularFM goes to PA Nonbelievers!

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.

To become a patron of SecularFM, click here.

Atheists and Secularists clarify the record and ask for an apology from Rep. Rick Saccone

Links:

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

PRESS 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.

Sincerely,

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

PA Nonbelievers 2014 Annual Meeting Announcement

Hello everyone,

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!

Brian Fields
President
PA Nonbelievers

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