Saturday, March 6, 2010

FFRF Tulsa meeting 3.6.10

FFRF Tulsa held its first meeting today at the home of Bill Dusenberry and Jackie Martin in Broken Arrow. There were 13 people present.

The Savvy Convert's Guide to Choosing a Religion is the title of a tongue-in-cheek book written ostensibly to help people choose a religion. Of course, we all know that people do not choose their religion. They are born into a religion. While it is true that some people depart from the religion of their youth (I am one), most people continue in the religious tradition of their parents. Bill showed this book to those who arrived early.

What expectations might members of FFRF Tulsa have for the organization? This question was posed by Bill as he began talking about the newly formed chapter. He noted that HAT and TAM are primarily discussion groups. These group do a lot of talking, but do not do much in the way of actually pushing back at the conservative religious effort.

Bill noted that FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) is the most agressive freethought organization in the nation today. They have shown the willingness to fight back with their many lawsuits. In order to fight back, money is required. We are hoping to be able to raise money with the efforts of FFRF Tulsa. If you are not part of the solution, said Bill, you are part of the problem.

Bill noted that Freethought Radio is now online. He urged us to tune in.

There are a number of projects which we need to get working on. Bill listed a few of these.

The "In Reason We Trust" license plate effort is underway. If we get 500 people willing to purchase such a plate, we can achieve this goal. If you have two cars in your family, the number is cut in half, assuming you buy two plates instead of just one. Bill noted that the Oklahoma Legislature approved a plate with the words "In God We Trust" on them. We have to get the word out to Progressives in Oklahoma about the plate. If All Souls Unitarian Church has 1000 members, surely we could get a long way toward 500 by informing the congregation of our plan. Bear in mind that Tulsa is just one city in Oklahoma. Factor in OKC, Norman, Lawton, Bartlesville, and suddenly the job of attaining 500 orders is doable.

Bill spoke of a story in today's paper about a Christian minister providing counseling services. He wondered what qualification the person had. Why cannot someone who is a freethinker not also be able to provide such a service? How about providing de-baptisms?

Several of us are already working on the Calendar project. We are aiming to produce a calendar which notes dates significant to freethinkers.

Bill plans to have at least two fundraising dinners at his house during this year. Others with enough space in their homes are invited to do likewise.

Funding for additional billboards may be available from FFRF.

Bill raised the possibility of chartering a bus to attend Skepticon III in Springfield this coming November. Having a bus would increase the potential of more poeople attending the conference. Many of the speakers at Skepticon II will be returning for Skepticon III. Additional fundraising ideas include the selling of mugs, t-shirts, ball caps, etc.

Also mentioned was the idea of writing to college faculty members in Tulsa County, letting them know of speakers we have available to address their classes.

Coming up soon will be the National Day of Prayer (May 6, this year). Randy spoke of the possibility of HAT doing something. This is yet to be worked out. Kenny was also enthusiastic about getting involved with a project related to the National Day of Reason (same day).

Steve Nunn spoke of connecting with the community. Kenny spoke of the potential of the Unitarian churches in the area. Many people associated with the UU denomination share values with us, such as belief in the separation of church and state.

Bill said that many people in Tulsa County may share our goals but would prefer to remain anonymous. They may be willing to fund our efforts, while remaining in the background. He told us of the funding of the billboard (still in place as of March 6) which states "Good With God? Millions Are." One wealthy individual who lives in Philadelphia decided to fund the placement of these billboards. That is how we got our billboard.

Officers were selected by the group. They include Steve Nunn, president; Randy Bradley, vice-president; Ron McDaniel, treasurer. Dues were set as follows: students, $10; individuals, $20; families, $30.

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