RRS TX, Austin atheists unite Sept. 8th

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RRS TX, Austin atheists unite Sept. 8th

- Brian Sapient


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Sapient
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Texas State/Church

Texas State/Church Separation Rally – Austin – Sep 8 2007

Are you tired of hearing about all of the religious bills and now laws coming from our Texas state government lately? Don't you think it's time we had a rally for state/church separation here in Texas?

Come take part in the 2007 Texas State/Church Separation Rally here in Austin, at the Texas State Capitol Building on Saturday, September 8, from noon till 3pm. We'll have speakers from lots of Freethought groups there, including:

American Atheists www.atheists.org
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkersmaaf.info
The Freethinkers at the University of Texas at Arlingtonwww.freethinkersofuta.org
The Freethinkers Association of Central Texaswww.freethinkersact.org

 

Four of the goals of this rally are the following:

  1. To speak out for the civil rights of non-religious Americans.
  2. To vocally promote the separation of government from religion.
  3. To show support for the Croft family in Carrollton who have sued over the moment of silence in their public school. (No matter how the case ends, or whether it's over by then or not.)
  4. To protest the flurry of religious bills and now religious laws coming from our current Texas State Legislature.

To all local and national Freethought group leaders: We need more group leaders to come speak. Please contact me if you'd like some speaking time at this rally. We also have some great individual speakers lined up, including at least two Foxhole Atheists.

We'll have some signs and banners, but all groups are urged to bring your group's banner. This needs to be a show of strength in numbers, and we now have more Freethought groups in Texas than ever before. PLEASE mark this date and time on your calendar:

Saturday, September 8, 2007 from noon till 3pm.

The State Capitol Building is located at the corner of 11th St. and Congress Ave. in beautiful downtown Austin. We have permission to rally on the south steps. All parking meters in Austin are free on weekends. The date and time were planned for maximum convenience for the most number of folks attending. So come on down!

The Texas Constitution

"Article 1 - BILL OF RIGHTS
Section 4 - RELIGIOUS TESTS
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office,
or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding
office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the
existence of a Supreme Being."

TEXAS STATE DIRECTOR

Joe Zamecki
(512)382-9283
jzamecki@atheists.org Located in North Austin, Texas

Examples of my recent work in the Atheist community, and my activism here in Texas can be found here: www.atheist-community.org/library/newsletters

BIO

Joe Zamecki is an ex-Catholic turned Atheist since 1983, who has lived most of his life in Texas. He served three years in the Texas National Guard as an MP, and studied psychology at Austin Community College. He's a musician currently in two Austin bands that play on 6th St., and he also does volunteer cleanup work in his neighborhood, in conjunction with the Austin Code Enforcement Department, which has resulted in several city-inspired property cleanups.

Joe worked for American Atheists for eight years, starting in Austin and then in New Jersey, then went on to serve on the board of directors of the Atheist Community of Austin and became editor of its newsletter, Atheist Community News. In 2005, Joe was awarded the American Atheists Meritorious Service Award at the American Atheists National Convention in Philadelphia. Joe has been a Life Member of American Atheists since July 4th, 1997. He now serves as Texas State Director for American Atheists, in just the right city, Austin.

Joe has also been interviewed and quoted in the media several times. His words have appeared in the London Telegraph, the Columbia News Service, the Chicago Daily Herald, the Cybercast News Service, CNN, Newsmax.com, Humanist Network News, and the Tower News at Kean University. He's appeared on the Ananda Lewis Show, the Infidelguy Radio Show, New Jersey News12, and of course the Atheist Viewpoint and the Atheist Experience. Joe is also listed in the book "Who's Who in Hell."


An Atheist couple whose children attend a Carrollton-Farmers Branch elementary school have filed a complaint in federal district court arguing that the state's mandated moment of silence in public schools is unconstitutional. On 2006 March 10th, David Wallace Croft, a Texas parent of a public school student filed a petition to have the mandatory moment of silence law in the Texas state education code ruled unconstitutional. Here is his website: www.croftpress.com/david/politics/moment/

and his blog: david-wallace-croft.blogspot.com/.

There's a proud Atheist family, and they need Atheist support. Please tell a friend about this very important lawsuit happening now.


It's true! The Texas State Legislature is awash in religious bills right now, and it's overwhelming! Please read about them in this recent article in the Dallas Morning News: http://tinyurl.com/29tbyo

Some of these bills look like they'll pass easily, but there has been some opposition voiced in the legislature, against the sweeping changes that House Bill 1287 would have entailed for public schools in Texas. The Texas Freedom Network [www.tfn.org] has pushed hard in legislative committees to place "safeguards" into that bill, so that the Bible classes don't turn into...Bible classes. Just reading from that book involves preaching, because that's what kind of book it is. That's how it was written. Many non-Christian religious people in Texas are concerned, and I've talked to many of them about those concerns. I have stressed that Atheists agree with the freedom of conscience that's at stake here, not just for ourselves, but for everyone involved. Since there is absolutely no shortage of information about Jesus Christ, and no shortage of churches one can visit, I see this Bible class bill as completely unnecessary. I choose to oppose the entire bill, no matter what "safeguards" get put into place. That goes for all of the religious bills proposed lately.

"Safeguards" will only help when we get people in charge of the situation who aren't already trying to violate the US Constitution and the civil rights of taxpayers and public school students, just to use the government to prop up religion. At the present time, our public schools are dominated by Christians, and in many of those schools, organized prayer wasn't changed much at all after Murray v. Curlett. At least we non-Christians tend to see it that way. Any Christians will probably have trouble picturing this situation at all. That's how powerful religion is.

A common and certainly logical tactic of negotiation is to start out by asking for a lot more than what you really want, so you can bargain and concede a little here and there. That way, in the end, it looks like you were magnanimous by giving up so much ground, when you only gave up things you didn't really want in the first place, and ended up getting your way, exactly like you really did want. It's hard to imagine a liberal civil rights group being lured into accepting such unconstitutional legislation, but in this case, that tactic has worked. These religious bills are destined to pass, as long as strong state/church separation groups aren't involved in the debates before the legislature votes.

Please help me get involved in those debates! If you'd like to help at all, please contact me. These state/church violations are bound to stay with us for decades if we don't act now. I need activists to call, e-mail, write or come visit Austin. Contact these legislators and ask them what I'm asking: Why? What is the overriding need for these religious bills? Each one of them. No problem to be addressed has been revealed. They're trying to fix what isn't broken. They're not just unconstitutional, they're all unnecessary too. I just called the office of one religion-pushing representative, and his page had no clear answer as to why. That was on the Bible class bill. There are so many others!

Your own state's legislature may be swirling with these kinds of bills too, so check into them. Meanwhile, you won't believe what our legislators are coming up with! Read! http://tinyurl.com/29tbyo

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Susan
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Did anyone go yesterday? 

Did anyone go yesterday?  I'd love to hear how it went.

 


RabidApe
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Voiderest and I went, along

Voiderest and I went, along with a gal from our local meetup. We met a friend of hers up there. It was prety kickass!

 

It was quite hot, but good times were had. Good speakers, plenty of random passers-by. Voiderest is sending me some more footage right now, but here's a preview:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=jt6p9KqHJQA