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April AAI Convention
Atheist Alliance International and Secular Student Alliance convention April 14-16; Kansas City, Missouri.

Atheist, Student Groups Head to the Heartland
By Bobbie Kirkhart

The nation’s foremost monologist, the heartland’s most controversial professor, Washington’s only registered lobbyist for atheism, and the United Nations’ first atheist President of the Committee for Freedom of Religion and Belief will convene in Kansas City, Missouri, April 14-16 for the first-ever joint convention of the Atheist Alliance International and the Secular Student Alliance.
Julia Sweeney will accept the Richard Dawkins Award for outstanding contributions to atheism. Ms. Sweeney, a writer and actress who is currently appearing in the film Don't Come Knocking, is perhaps best known as a regular on Saturday Night Live in the early ‘90s. To theater audiences, however, she is acclaimed for her one-woman shows, most recently the hit, Letting Go of God, My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story.
Dr. Paul Mirecki made headlines this fall when he offered a course at the University of Kansas, originally titled, "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and Other Religious Mythologies." Although Dr. Mirecki withdrew the course and resigned his chairmanship of the Religious Studies Department under pressure, he was still subject to a roadside beating and much hate mail. Professor Mirecki is a renowned Biblical scholar, coeditor of Gospel of the Savior, a translation which is credited with shedding new light on the development of Christianity.
Lori Lipman Brown, the only registered lobbyist for atheist causes in Washington, D.C., will talk about her work there as Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. She has been a popular media personality since her appointment, appearing on such diverse programs as The O’Reillyl Factor and Mother Jones Radio. She was featured in USA Today.
President of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Matt Cherry, will give an international perspective on struggles for freedom of conscience. Mr. Cherry also serves as Executive Director of the Institute for Humanist Studies.
Other speakers include: Dr. Fred Whitehead, co-author of Freethought on the American Frontier; Dr. Ron Pine, Research Associate, Field Museum of Chicago and Visiting Scholar at the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, University of Kansas; Woody Kaplan, president of the First Amendment Foundation; philanthropist Larry Jones, president and founder of the Institute for Humanist Studies; Katie Hladky and Shawn Jeffers, Board of Directors, Camp Quest Ohio, and Dr. Gale Fuller, clinical psychologist and humanist celebrant.
The convention takes place at the Airport Marriott hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. It begins with a reception and dinner Friday, April 14, and ends about noon Sunday, April 16. Cost for the entire weekend, including five meals, is $175 for adults, with special fees available for students. Child care is available for children under four and an educational “Camp Quest” program for children four to fourteen is available for $75 for the weekend.
Register at http://atheistalliance.org/conventions/2006/index.php or mail your check with the coupon in this newsletter. Call toll-free 1-866-HERETIC (1-866-437-3842) for more information.

Posted by pking
Mar. 04, 2006