Dizzy with Excitement over “Moving Secularism Forward”

February 20, 2012

I just signed on with CFI last week as their new communications guy, so I’m still settling in and getting a sense of what’s going on. So you’ll have to forgive me if some things that seem like old hat to regular readers of the CFI blogs are huge revelations to me. And I’m not just talking about the fact that CFI headquarters has three little kitchens — two of which have stoves. That’s crazy!

Really, what I’m flabbergasted by is the fantastic lineup of speakers at our conference in Orlando, mere days away, starting March 1st. It’s really something to behold, and I can’t imagine any member of our ever-growing community not finding at least several reasons why Moving Secularism Forward is a must-attend event.

I confess, I didn’t know anything about it. Granted, I didn’t find out who Justin Bieber is until very, very recently. Suffice it to say, there are simply some things that escape my attention. Don’t tell the folks who just hired me, though.

Thankfully, I’m now a member of the CFI family, and I will absolutely be there. Let me give you an idea of why you should be, too.

First of all, you have Daniel Dennett. If you’ve never seen him give a talk, you’ve missed out. Not only does he expand and challenge us intellectually, but he’s also really, really funny. Google around for the definition of “deepity” and the differences between “brights” and “supers” and you’ll see what I mean. Dennett will be delivering the keynote lecture of the conference at the big Saturday night banquet, followed by music from George Hrab. I mean, come on.

One of the other things I love about this conference is that it promises to be practical. I consider myself a student of secularism in the context of American politics, and there’s a particular focus on politics and outreach strategies. It’s great when we talk about the things we all agree on, but it’s sessions like these that will give all of us something useful to take home with us (other than the many stickers and buttons I presume will soon festoon my luggage).

Oh, and you may have heard of one particularly brave and amazing young lady named Jessica Alquist. You know, that girl who single-handedly faced down the encroachment of religion at her high school? That’s right, she’s going to be there. She’s going to be the recipient of the rarely-bestowed James Madison Religious Liberty Award (that’s at the same banquet event with Daniel Dennett), and it’s going to be a privilege to be there when she’s honored for the history she’s made.

These are just the first few things that come to my own mind. You can see the conference’s website for a full list of speakers. For example, PZ Myers will be there, and you’ll want to be there to see who he makes really mad this time. Stephen K. Green will be there to get us up to speed on the real-time, real-life battle over religious overreach happening right now in Florida. There’s even going to be a former Member of Congress! Rep. Pat Schroeder will be part of a pan-ideological panel discussing the political agenda of secular humanism. The list goes on and on, and it’s a list with both star power and substance.

At this point, I’m sure you’re dying to go, too. The good news is that now you can save $100 off registration by clicking here. No kidding! Don’t even finish reading this post. Just go and register before you get distracted.

I’m almost dizzy with excitement, though I must admit I did skip lunch. But even once I’ve gotten up from this desk and fed my stomach, I’ll be excited to head down to Orlando to feed my brain.

And stomach. I’ll probably feed that, too.