FFRF 41st National Convention

This post is long overdue thanks to the hacking / malware issues. The blog got fixed and then it broke again. I fear that it may break yet again. But I need to get this post written.

When I learned – well over a year ago now – that the next National Convention would be in San Francisco, I knew that I would turn it into a big vacation back to Australia. I was still excited by the Convention as the speaker list grew. Sir Salman Rushdie. Ensaf Haidar. Sarah Haider. John de Lancie. Adam Savage and others.

Unfortunately, Adam Savage had to cancel. He sent a very nice recorded thank-you for his Emperor Has No Clothes award. Fortunately, the other speakers more than made up for his absence. Leighann Lord performed an extended stand-up routine to fill in the time gap.

Of course, all I really knew about Salman Rushdie orbits The Satanic Verses controversy. He dealt with that issue during his speech. Rushdie is actually a really funny guy who can make sardonic observations on the world scene.

I am happy that Ensaf Haidar received the 2018 Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award. Her husband Raif Badawi is still imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Canada has done a lot of diplomacy on the family’s behalf; but I fear that the rest of the world has forgotten about Raif. The news cycles quickly expunge a lot of important stories from the collective consciousness.

The preview of the documentary Losing Our Religion was excellent. Heart-wrenching at times. I cannot recommend it highly enough – even if you are not an atheist. It opens one’s eyes to an important perspective.

Victor Harris’ poetry session was wonderful too. As was young Bailey Harris (no relation to Victor). Bailey wrote a book when she was nine years old and is now expanding that into a series.

I could go on and on. I love attending the FFRF National Conventions because it feels like a big family. One of like-minds, yet still wonderfully diverse. The 2019 Convention will be back in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m looking forward to it already.

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