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Orange County Atheist TV Show #18 with Margaret Downey

This show was recorded a few years ago, it features Margaret Downey when she was the President of Atheists Alliance International.

Tree of Knowledge battle in West Chester

Carol Everhart Roper has all the details on the Tree of Knowledge this year, here is a snip:

West Chester, PA is a lovely, historically important town. Some years back, Newsweek voted it as one of the top ten small towns to live in. I live here, and I understand, and agree. It's really a wonderful place, most of the time.

You might recall that this is the courthouse building which proudly displays a bronze Ten Commandments plaque by the front door - and won a legal challenge by closing that door to traffic and calling the plaque 'historic' not 'religious'.

It's also the birthplace of the Tree of Knowledge winter holiday display. The ToK has been a symbol of non-theist participation in the holidays, and as such, has given non-theists and other believers who treasure learning and knowledge a public representation of their own.

Tree of Knowledge links

The Tree of Knowledge was discussed on several blogs in the last few weeks. Here are some of the places it's been discussed:

Freethought Radio discussion with Margaret Downey about the Tree of Knowledge.

Richard Haynes talks about a hate filled Christian who blogged the Tree of Knowledge

America.gov blog on The Tree of Knowledge

Hemant Mehta blogs Tree of Knowledge

sidenote: Margaret will be at Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County on January 24th.

Will atheist groups agree to a Unity Convention?

For several years Margaret Downey has been suggesting an Atheist Unity Convention in which many atheist groups unite to form a single convention in that year. Groups such as CFI, American Atheists, FFRF, AHA, AAI and others would get together for one big convention.

This weekend Margaret will try to get enough support from the host organizations to go ahead with this goal. If you would like to see such an event, you should contact the President of the organization you belong to and express interest.

Here are two articles about The Unity Convention:
Friendly Atheist on Unity Convention.
PZ Myers on Unity Convention
Staks on Unity Convention

Hemant on Unity Convention from 2008

Tree of Knowledge 2009 Installation Details

A Special Winter Celebration Invitation!

Please join members of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) on Monday, November 30, 2009 at 9:00 AM to help install and decorate FSGP’s 2009 winter display:

The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge will be placed on the lawn of the Chester County Courthouse located at the corners of High and Market Streets, West Chester, PA 19380. After the morning installation (at approximately 11:30 AM), volunteers will lunch at Kildare’s Irish Pub located at 18 West Gay Street, West Chester, PA 19380.

If you miss the day time festivities, please plan to celebrate the spotlighting and opening ceremonies at 5:00 PM at the same location mentioned above. After the ceremony, participants are encouraged to dine together and continue celebrating this historical event. A local restaurant will be selected by those in attendance. Please call if you have any questions:

Coordinator: Margaret Downey (610) 793-2737 or (610) 357-9432

Tree of Knowledge 2009

Margaret Downey has found two donors to meet the $5,000 bond requirement to put up The Tree of Knowledge at the Free Speech Zone in Chester County, Pennsylvania. If the application is approved, the tree will be installed on Monday, November 30, 2009. Everyone is welcome to help. Meet at the Chester County Courthouse located at 2 High Street, West Chester. We will get started at 9:00 AM. Will know by Monday, November 23, 2009.

The following are two news stories recently published about the Tree of Knowledge for this season.

First Request Denied:

"I have no objection to the Freethought Society putting a banner up," said Councilwoman Carolyn Comitta. "My only concern is that it promote a community event, and I don't see this banner doing that."

LAPD Cuts Ties with Boy Scouts Because of Their Bigotry

The following is a repost from Hemant Mehta the Friendly Atheist.

Go, LAPD!

The Los Angeles Police Department wants to stop working with the organization that runs its Explorer program for youths because the group is linked to Boy Scouts of America, which bans gays from becoming members.

The organization, Learning for Life, was spun off from Boy Scouts of America.

A department official told the Police Commission Tuesday that the Boy Scouts policy is “inconsistent” with the city’s policy of non-discrimination. He suggested that the department manages the Explorer program itself.

Learning for Life officials say the organization does not discriminate and does not take funds from the Boy Scouts.

They ban atheists, too, even though that’s not mentioned in the piece above. And that that last comment from Learning for Life officials skews the truth. There may be no funding from the Boy Scouts directly, but there is definitely a connection with them.

Margaret Downey responds to a rude post on this site...

Hey, this is Brian Sapient here posting some views from Margaret to her blog. I should take this moment to inform you that to the best of my knowledge Margaret hasn't blogged on this site and she currently uses her facebook page to communicate with people. A few supporters and I have posted her views to this site on her behalf with her permission.

I recently approved a comment to be posted on this site that I found to be hateful, but indicative of the type of behavior I've seen from "True Christians" over the years. I don't like comments of this nature to go without a response as an uninformed reader may be led down the wrong path. I asked Margaret to comment and the following is the comment and her response.

Original comment:
I am so glad that bitch lost

Submitted by Modious on Fri, 2009-01-30 22:26.

Complaint Letter to Brevard County School Board Members

Below is a sample of the letter I wrote to all school board members (printed on my letterhead):

August 10, 2009

Dr. Brian T. Binggeli, Superintendent
Brevard County Public Schools
Fax: (321) 633-3432

Dear Dr. Binggeli:

Please allow me to introduce myself through this email message. I am the founder and president of the Anti-Discrimination Support Network (ADSN). ADSN is a watchdog organization established to act on complaints of discrimination against the atheist community. ADSN has tracked the activities of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) since reports of discrimination were first received in 1991.

It has come to my attention that on Tuesday, August 11. 2009, the Brevard County School Board will be discussing whether or not the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will be allowed to hold a recruitment drive through the Brevard County public school system.

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