- Opening Reception
- Face-off in Florida
- Situation Review: The International Academy of Humanism
- Outreach and Advocacy Strategies
- Does Secular Humanism Have a Political Agenda?
- Banquet and Keynote Lecture
- What Are Our Objectives as Secular Humanists?
- Nuts and Bolts Outreach Workshop
Thursday, March 1
Opening Reception — 7:00pm–9:00pm
Welcome to Moving Secularism Forward!
Friday, March 2
Face-off in Florida — 9:00am–12:00pm
Learn why Florida is a galvanizing setting for church-state legal activism. Attorney and bioethicist Ronald A. Lindsay will moderate this panel and present background on the Council for Secular Humanism lawsuit that’s fighting to preserve Florida’s Blaine Amendment prohibiting state funding to religious groups. Tom Flynn will present key arguments for ending faith-based funding in Florida and sketch strategies for replicating this suit in other Blaine Amendment states in the event it is successful in Florida. Steven K. Green will trace the history of Blaine Amendments and their relevance to contemporary law.
On another legal front, EllenBeth Wachs will report on her ongoing efforts to end prayer in governmental meetings—efforts that have led to her being allegedly harassed and even arrested by Polk County’s evangelical Christian sheriff.
Luncheon — 12:00pm–2:00pm
Rita Swan will speak on the successful campaign to end Oregon’s legal protections for parents who deny their children needed medical care on grounds of religion. Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD), Inc., was founded in 1983 to end child abuse and neglect related to religion, cultural practices, or quackery. Beyond her organization’s success in Oregon, Swan has been crucially involved in persuading states including Massachusetts, Maryland, South Dakota, and Hawaii to remove all religious exemptions from the duty to provide science-based medical care for a sick child.
Situation Review: The International Academy of Humanism — 2:00pm–5:00pm
Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Kroto, anthropologist Lionel Tiger, and new International Academy of Humanism Secretary Stephen Law will examine humanitarian issues worldwide and discuss the humanist take on topics such as science education, ethics, and civil rights in this special session devoted to humanism on an international scale.
Saturday, March 3
Outreach and Advocacy Strategies — 9:30am–12:30pm
A distinguished panel of secular humanists, including Eddie Tabash, Sikivu Hutchinson, Debbie Goddard, Lauren Becker, and Jessica Ahlquist, will discuss tools and methods of activism and networking, from the grassroots to the Supreme Court. They will share their experience and discuss how to become an effective advocate for reason.
Luncheon — 12:30pm–2:30pm
The secular state isn’t just a good idea—it’s the right one. “Religious freedom is not merely a quid pro quo—'We won't persecute you if you don't persecute us' —but is based on a plausible and attractive conception of the state and the proper exercise of its coercive power,” says Russell Blackford. Blackford will share his thoughts on the meaning of freedom of religion and the importance of truly secular government in this luncheon presentation.
Does Secular Humanism Have a Political Agenda? — 2:30pm–5:30pm
Is secular humanism politically agnostic, or is there a political orientation that best reflects its goals and values? Four nontheists with four different political leanings—progressive (former Rep. Patricia Schroeder), conservative (Razib Kahn), libertarian (Ronald Bailey), and radical Left (Greg Laden)—will present their arguments.
Banquet and Keynote Lecture — 7:00pm–10:00pm
The Council for Secular Humanism will present its Forkosch Awards, and will present the James Madison Award to church-state plaintiff Jessica Ahlquist. Daniel C. Dennett will present the keynote lecture at the Gala Banquet. Also featured will be award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter George Hrab, presenting his unique blend of musical atheism, science, and skepticism.
Sunday, March 4
What Are Our Objectives as Secular Humanists? — 9:00am–12:00pm
A distinguished panel of activist speakers, including Ophelia Benson, Elisabeth Cornwell, PZ Myers, Victor J. Stenger, and Bill Cooke, will consider the goals of secular humanism and discuss how we can define and fulfill our responsibilities to the world.
Nuts and Bolts Outreach Workshop — 2:00pm–5:00pm
Lauren Becker, CFI’s director of outreach, will lead this invitation-only working session for local group leaders and other activists. Attendees will acquire and develop the tools and resources to maximize the secular voice in their own communities in this three-hour workshop, which will cover topics such as social media and volunteer management and feature speakers EllenBeth Wachs and Mark Palmer.