President’s Column: Proclamation from the New President
By Eric Jayne
Although I have been regularly contributing to the Minnesota Atheist newsletter, this is my very first “President’s Column” since being elected president of the Minnesota Atheists last month. In my upcoming columns, readers of this fine publication can expect to find exciting information about events, partnerships, and other efforts happening with the Minnesota Atheists. As with our previous president, I will also share my own goals and vision for our organization and our general secular cause. For this, my very first “President’s Column,” I am thrilled to make an announcement that is sure to dazzle your godless soul.
On Friday, August 9, 2013 Minnesota Atheists will be sponsoring a professional baseball game at Midway Stadium in St. Paul. The following day—Saturday, August 10—we will be holding a conference at the Ramada Plaza on Industrial Blvd. in Minneapolis.
Let’s start with the baseball game details first. Just as last year, the St. Paul Saints baseball team will be renamed the “Mr. Paul Aints” and the players will wear jerseys reflecting the name change. It’s worth noting that the jersey colors will be different from last year’s jerseys. The team will also cover the letter “S” on the team’s logo throughout the stadium, as they did last year. We will have some banners and a resource table at the front entrance gate, and we’ll have a spot for tailgating just like we did last year.
Some new elements to this year’s game include fresh and funny atheist-themed antics at the ballpark and new, very limited edition “Mr. Paul Aints” hats and t-shirts that will be exclusively available on our online store. In addition to the “Mr. Paul Aints” merchandise we will also be offering limited edition “Ms. Paula Aints” merchandise. I’m sure the capital city’s namesake, the Apostle Paul, would approve even though he said, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet” (1 Timothy 2:11-12, NIV).
We will also be offering attractive ticket packages that will be in the infield reserved section instead of the outfield bleachers where we sat last year so we will be able to have a more enhanced experience. The details of the game, including tickets and merchandise sales, will be available soon.
Now on to the conference: Thanks to a pool of ideas from our new conference committee (Stephanie Zvan, Jill Carlson, August Berkshire, and me) we are going to be offering a unique conference experience. As with last year’s successful and fun conference, this year’s conference should prove to be even better. We will again be offering nationally known atheist speakers but unlike last year, we’ll have a couple hours of interactive, simultaneous workshops that will likely take place in the morning. Each attendee will have their choice of which workshop they would like to attend.
The list of our nationally recognized speakers has been finalized. The lineup will be: Hector Avalos, Greta Christina, Amanda Knief, and Susan Jacoby. PZ Myers will join us for an all-star panel discussion in the evening.
Amanda Knief is a native Midwesterner (form Iowa) and she is a public policy expert with a law and journalism background. She spent time as a lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America and is currently the Managing Director and In-House Counsel for American Atheists. Her book, The Citizen Lobbyist: A How-to Manual for Making Your Voice Heard in Government, will be released in July.
Many atheists will be as excited as I to hear best-selling author Susan Jacoby speak. Her books have delved deeply into secularism and the freethought movement throughout American history. She has received many awards for her books and atheist writings which have appeared in several national magazines and newspapers, including her brilliant piece entitled, The Blessings of Atheism which appeared in the New York Times this past January. Her books include The Age of American Unreason, Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, and her latest The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought. Coincidently, Robert Ingersoll’s 180th birthday (August 11) will be on the very weekend of our baseball game and conference.
We are planning on being ready to accept online registration for the conference in late March/early April. Mr. Paul Aints tickets and merchandise will be available shortly thereafter. Come to think of it, we will have newly designed Minnesota Atheists t-shirts available in the next couple of months as well. You can keep up with the latest developments of all this and more by checking our website (MinnesotaAtheists.org), Facebook (facebook.com/MinnesotaAtheists), and subsequent editions of The Minnesota Atheist. Be prepared for another unbelievably great year in 2013!