Manhattan, NY—During his speech at the launch party for the world’s first television channel dedicated to atheism content, Atheist TV, American Atheists President Dave Silverman announced that author, activist, politician, and public speaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali will headline for the American Atheists annual National Convention next April 3–5 in Memphis, Tennessee at the Peabody Hotel. “Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a champion of atheist thought, but even more to the point, she is a champion of atheism activism,” said Silverman. “Ms. Hirsi Ali is a strong voice of reason and a passionate voice against the cruelties and irrationalities inherent in religion. Islam, like all other religions, silences and blinds people under a banner of ‘tolerance’ to the real atrocities it encourages and excuses. Ms. Hirsi Ali continues to be one of the most powerful voices in the world in this fight, and we can’t imagine a better keynote speaker for our 2015 National Convention. We’re proud to have her.” Hirsi Ali, who escaped an arranged marriage in her native Somalia and was granted refugee status in the Netherlands, went on to become a member of the Dutch Parliament and is now a U.S. citizen. She lives under a fatwa and is known for her outspoken activism against female genital mutilation, child marriages, and religious violence. Hirsi Ali made headlines in April 2014 when Brandeis University announced it was rescinding its offer of an honorary doctorate because of Hirsi Ali’s harsh criticisms of Islam. Hirsi Ali has called Islam “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.” Following the announcement, Silverman, an alumnus of the school, wrote an open letter to Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence withdrawing his membership from the school’s alumni association and condemning the university for caving to religious pressures. Early bird registration is now open for the 2015 National Convention at atheists.org/convention2015. Additional speakers and program details will be announced in the coming weeks. AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. More information on Ahteist TV, including a live stream, is available at: http://www.atheists.tv American Atheists, Inc. P.O. Box 158 Cranford, NJ 07016 Tel: (908) 276-7300 Fax: (908) 276-7402
Atlanta, GA—In recognition of his advocacy on behalf of the atheist community, Atheist Alliance of America presented American Atheists president David Silverman with the 2017 Richard Dawkins Award on Saturday, September 2 at its annual convention at DragonCon. It’s estimated that DragonCon attracted more than 83,000 attendees this year.
Activism and education are, first and foremost, about raising the profile of atheism and normalizing atheism in the public discourse. With our community projects, public education campaigns, and activism resources, we encourage the millions of atheists who are “in the closet” to come out as atheists and be proud of representing their values authentically. State Legislation Tracking American Atheists closely monitors state and federal legislation which affects our constitutional rights and the wall of separation between religion and government. Some of these bills advance religious equality, while others foster discrimination or create special privileges for religious people and organizations. For more information about legislation we’re tracking, including an interactive map, please visit our State Legislation Tracker. AtheistVoter AtheistVoter is one of American Atheists’ flagship programs, aimed at increasing atheist participation in our nation’s political system, pressuring all levels of government to pass legislation that preserves and protects the absolute separation of religion from government, and training local activists to engage with their elected officials to show grassroots support for protecting our secular government. For questions about about AtheistVoter, please visit the AtheistVoter website or contact VP of Programs Debbie Goddard. Local Activism With our Affiliate program, we work with local activists and community members across the nation to provide access to resources, leadership, and organizational support. Our work with affiliated local groups helps to grow our community and benefits both the local groups and our national mission. American Atheists has more than 170 Affiliates located in 46 states. For more information about our affiliate program, please contact National Field Director Samantha McGuire or visit the Affiliate and Local Partner page. American Atheists State and Regional Directors help to work with their communities and engage with the national organization to build lasting relationships and partnerships between local activists and American Atheists. Their work on the ground helps to mobilize support for our civil rights and awareness campaigns. A complete list of our State Directors is located here. For questions or more information, please contact National Field Director Samantha McGuire. Conventions American Atheists holds annual National Conventions at locations throughout the United States. With presentations, social events, comedy and game nights, workshops, exhibits, networking, and community events, this event is the highlight of the year for hundreds of American atheists. Past speakers include Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Dr. Sian Proctor, Chris Kluwe, Greta Cristina, Hugh Laurie, State Rep. Athena Salman, Jim Obergefell, and many others. Our 2020 National Convention is April 9–12 in Phoenix, Arizona! Check out the convention page for more information.
Cranford, NJ—The national nonprofit American Atheists announced on Tuesday that the organization will debut its first-ever national television ad tonight on CNN during programs before and after a CNN Special Report called Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers, featuring American Atheists President David Silverman and other atheist leaders. American Atheists’ 30-second commercial promotes the organization’s mission to keep religion and government separate and invites those doubting their religion to join the vibrant American Atheists community, specifically during the group’s 2015 National Convention in Memphis, April 2-5. The ad is scheduled first for a commercial break between 8 pm and 8:30 pm ET during CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360; the second airing is scheduled between 10:30 pm and 11 pm ET during CNN Tonight. The video is available for preview on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/elwcEwBLEWI or at https://www.atheists.org/CNNadvideo The American Atheists 2015 National Convention at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis will feature keynote human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, featured speakers HowStuffWorks.com founder and Discovery Channel host Marshall Brain, memeticist Dr. Susan Blackmore, comedians Trace Bealieu and Frank Conniff of the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a costume party, a Cards Against Humanity charity tournament, and more. One-day and full convention tickets are available at the door or at atheists.org/convention. AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. For More Information Contact: Danielle Muscato, Communications Manager 908-276-7300 x7, [email protected] American Atheists, Inc. P.O. Box 158 Cranford, NJ 07016 Tel: (908) 276-7300 ###
Memphis, TN—On Monday, the national nonprofit American Atheists announced an interfaith panel discussion featuring experts on Islam, Christianity, and atheism from 4 to 5 pm on Wednesday, April 1 in the Skyway Ballroom of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. The public and media are invited to this free event, which serves as a “warm-up” to the start of the organization’s 2015 National Convention also at the Peabody Hotel, April 2-5. The moderated panel, titled “Exploring Myths, Dispelling Stereotypes” will include Memphis’ First Evangelical Church pastor Dr. Cole Huffman, nationally known Islamic scholar and Rhodes College professor Dr. Yasir Qadhi, Ex-Muslims of North America President Muhammad Syed, and American Atheists President David Silverman. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions after the panel discussion. “The stigma against openly identifying as an atheist is strong in America, specifically because many people don’t understand what an atheist is or what we actually believe,” said Silverman. “That’s why we do what we do. We’re bringing representatives from multiple groups together to address these stereotypes head-on.” “There’s a huge necessity of dialogue between various groups—those with a background of faith and those of no faith,” said Syed. “The only way we can move forward is if we understand and respect each other. These conversations are vital to make that happen.” “America’s shared civic space becomes more respectful when civility prevails in working through real differences between belief systems,” said Huffman. “Our discussion on April 1 at The Peabody is an opportunity to do that.” “While people of faith might have strong—and at times even heated—disagreements with those of no faith, both sides can agree that we do need to work together for a better civil society,” said Qadhi. “There is no better way of accomplishing that than by engaging with one another and sharing ideas together.” The American Atheists 2015 National Convention, April 2-5 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, will feature keynote human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, featured speakers HowStuffWorks.com founder and Discovery Channel host Marshall Brain, memeticist Dr. Susan Blackmore, comedians Trace Bealieu and Frank Conniff of the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a costume party, a Cards Against Humanity charity tournament, and more. Anyone attending the panel will also be able to register for the American Atheists National Convention for one-day passes and full convention tickets. More information is available at atheists.org/convention. AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. For More Information Contact: American Atheists, Inc. P.O. Box 158 Cranford, NJ 07016 Tel: (908) 276-7300 Email: [email protected] ###
Memphis, TN—On Monday, American Atheists announced an Arabic-language billboard in Memphis aimed at promoting its 2015 National Convention April 2-5 in Memphis at the historic Peabody Hotel to ex-Muslims. The billboard features a young girl wearing “bunny ears” with accompanying Arabic text reading, “An atheist convention featuring Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Easter weekend? Looks like we’re skipping mosque again!” and with details about the convention. A similar billboard in English was on display from March 3-10 in Memphis, reading “An atheist convention on Easter weekend? Looks like we’re skipping church again!” “Memphis has a thriving Muslim community, and in such communities closeted atheists can feel completely alone,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “Our message is that you are not alone, and you don’t have to pretend anymore. Atheism is the fastest growing religious demographic in America and we throw fun, welcoming conventions; the largest of which is coming to your city in just two weeks.” The Islamic religion plays an upfront role in the 2015 American Atheists National Convention. The keynote speaker is Somali-born human rights activist and ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and featured speakers include Bangladeshi atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin, who recently served time in jail for blogging about his doubts, and Muhammad Syed, President of Ex-Muslims of North America. The American Atheists 2015 National Convention, April 2-5, at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, will also feature memeticist Dr. Susan Blackmore, HowStuffWorks.com founder and Discovery Channel host Marshall Brain, comedians Trace Bealieu and Frank Conniff of the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and many more.