Richard Dawkins - March 4 at 7 PM @ U of MN

All promotional tickets have been given away.  Thank you for your support! 
Thursday afternoon, Minnesota Atheists sent out an email to people who had signed up for our email list, offering a VIP ticket for new memberships of at least $35 or donations of at least $35.  There were five tickets available and all have been claimed, for a seat in the first four rows of Northrop Auditorium on March 4 at 7 p.m. to see Dr. Richard Dawkins present "The Purpose of Purpose."
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August Berkshire on Christian Radio Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Minnesota Atheists president August Berkshire will be the guest on "KKMS Live! with Jeff & Lee" on Tuesday, February 24, 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Download the show here.


Mayors of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Sign Darwin Day Proclamations


Minnesota Atheists president, August Berkshire, drafted a Darwin Day Proclamation which was signed by Saint Paul Mayor, Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak.  Coverage of the proclamations can be found at the Pioneer Press and City Pages.  An image of the Saint Paul proclamation can be found here.  The Minneapolis proclamation can be found here.

The text of the Saint Paul proclamation is as follows:

City of Saint Paul Proclamation

Whereas, Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809; and

Whereas, from 1831-1836 he explored diverse ecological systems while traveling on the H.M.S. Beagle; and

Whereas, his observations led him to conclude that species change over time, due to random mutations, the selective pressures of the environment, and the inheritance of traits favorable to survival; and

Whereas, these adaptations of species to their environments led him to formulate his theory of evolution by means of natural selection, which is explained in his book, On the Origin of Species, published in 1859; and

Whereas, this concept of evolution remains the unifying principle of biology and is supported by the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota; and

Whereas, the teaching of evolution is supported by a broad range of scientific, educational, religious, and non-religious organizations; and

Whereas, the year 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of, On the Origin of Species; and

Whereas, Saint Paul prides itself on its educational excellence;

Now, Therefore, I, Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor of the City of Saint Paul, do hereby proclaim Thursday, February 12, 2009, to be: Darwin Day in the City of Saint Paul.

In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Saint Paul to be affixed this Twelfth Day of February in the Year Two Thousand Nine


Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor


Minnesota Atheists Co-Sponsors Secular Bible Study

While it may seem like a contradiction, Minnesota Atheists, along with Trinity United Methodist Church, have organized a secular bible study.  By taking a purely secular approach, we seek to provide a safe environment for both sides to engage in dialog, experience different approaches, and focus on the history and different cultural contexts of the bible.  If you are interested, please join the Secular Bible Study Meetup Group. By joining the group, you'll be able to see pictures of who you will be dialoging with and you can maintain communications through their message board.

Minnesota Atheists Joins Lawsuit to Stop Religious Activities at Presidential Inauguration

Minnesota Atheists has joined as a plaintiff to a lawsuit by Michael Newdow to halt the prayers and religious invocations scheduled for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration on January 20, 2009, as a violation of separation of state and church .  PDF versions of the lawsuit and its four appendices are linked below.

According to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), Dr. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church is scheduled to give an invocation and the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery is scheduled to give a benediction at the upcoming presidential inauguration. Read more here.
The lawsuit is expected to be filed on Monday, December 29, 2008 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by attorney Robert Ritter on behalf of attorney Michael Newdow.  Besides Minnesota Atheists, other plaintiff groups in the lawsuit include the American Humanist Association (AHA), the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), and Atheist Alliance International (AAI)
The lawsuit contains names of both groups and individuals as plaintiffs.  In addition to the group Minnesota Atheists, August Berkshire, president of Minnesota Atheists and vice president of Atheist Alliance International, is listed as an individual plaintiff.  Berkshire is the owner of the ATHEIST car license plate for Minnesota.
Michael Newdow achieved prominence in 2004 when he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that public schools should not lead children in the “Pledge of Allegiance” because it contains the words “under God.”   Minnesota Atheists signed on to a friend of the court brief in that case.  (The U.S. Supreme Court threw the case out, declaring that Newdow lacked standing because he was not the primary caregiver for his daughter.)  Newdow had previously prevailed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002. See case details here .
Minnesota Atheists was the only group to testify at the Minnesota State Capitol against legislation mandating the recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance” in Minnesota public schools. (Feb. 13, 2003.)  Minnesota Atheists did this because the Pledge contains the phrase “under God.”  While the legislation ended up passing, the final bill contained greater protections for the rights of dissenters than the original bill, probably due to Minnesota Atheists’ testimony. Read more here.
Michael Newdow is scheduled to be interviewed live on Minnesota Atheists’ “Atheists Talk” radio program on Sunday, January 4, 2009, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on KTNF AM 950 radio “The Voice of Minnesota.”  It can be streamed live at: and will be available later at .
“Minnesota Atheists was pleased to accept a personal invitation from Michael Newdow to be a plaintiff in this lawsuit,” stated August Berkshire, president of Minnesota Atheists.  “The swearing in of a president is a secular event.  The oath of office is in the U.S. Constitution and it contains no religious references.  It is unfortunate that while Barack Obama campaigned on a theme of unity, the very act of becoming president will serve to divide Americans along religious lines.”
Founded in 1991 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, Minnesota Atheists is the state’s oldest, largest, and most active atheist organization.  Our motto is “Positive Atheism in Action.”  We are organized for three purposes: to provide a community for atheists; to educate the public about atheism; and to promote separation of state and church.  We may be contacted at (612) 588-7031,, and

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