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Note: This show was originally scheduled for July 14, 2013 but had to be rescheduled.
We don't think of that as a nice word in the U.S. It conjures up mental pictures of oily men passing around favors in the back rooms of government buildings. Like most stereotypes, of course, this one is largely incorrect. All sorts of people lobby their governments, including people like you and me.
Citizen lobbyists are very much needed for our democratic processes to work. Most of us, however, aren't used to telling our representatives in government that our needs are important. We're not even very good at telling them what those needs are.
Luckily for us, American Atheists Managing Director Amanda Knief has taken her years of lobbying experience and distilled them down for us. Her new book, The Citizen Lobbyist: A How-to Manual for Making Your Voice Heard in Government, is full of practical, easy-to-follow advice for people who have never lobbied and those who want to lobby more effectively. From the publisher's description:
More citizen involvement is needed in our government processes to ensure the voices of the people are heard over the money of paid lobbyists, unions, and coalitions, both in Washington, DC, and in state capitals across the country. Too often our public officials seem removed from the people who hired them to be their representatives and fail to work on their behalf. The Citizen Lobbyist is a handbook for anyone who wants to learn about how to be active in local, state, and federal government and have a voice in creating public policy. It gives a step-by-step plan on how to lobby elected officials about whatever issues you care about, offers information on how to plan a lobbying meeting for individuals and groups, and provides sample lobbying worksheets and resources to assist with finding legislative information and history. The Citizen Lobbyist is your go-to reference for being a grassroots activist and citizen lobbyist.
Ms. Knief will also be one of the speakers at our regional conference on August 10. Listen this Sunday, then come out to see her speak!
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Sunsara Taylor is a writer for Revolution Newspaper and an initiator of StopPatriarchy.org and the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. She is also a very proud atheist who has done a lot of speaking promoting Bob Avakian's book, “Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World.”
The Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, which runs from July 24 through August 20, is a caravan from both coasts to locations where attacks on abortion rights are most severe. It will stop for one day in Minneapolis, tomorrow, Monday, July 29. Taylor joins us for the first segment of our show to talk about the event and the ride.
When it became known that Jerry DeWitt was an atheist, he lost the job he had been raised to do. He lost his community and his wife. But he gained his freedom and a new community of nonbelievers. In his book, Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey From Belief to Atheism, DeWitt shares his story with us. From the publisher's description:
DeWitt was a pastor in the town of DeRidder, Louisiana, and was a fixture of the community. In private, however, he’d begun to question his faith. Late one night in May 2011, a member of his flock called seeking prayer for her brother who had been in a serious accident. As DeWitt searched for the right words to console her, speech failed him, and he found that the faith which once had formed the cornerstone of his life had finally crumbled to dust. When it became public knowledge that DeWitt was now an atheist, he found himself shunned by much of DeRidder’s highly religious community, losing nearly everything he’d known.
DeWitt’s struggle for identity and meaning mirrors the one currently facing millions of people around the world. With both agnosticism and atheism entering the mainstream—one in five Americans now claim no religious affiliation, according to a recent study—the moment has arrived for a new atheist voice, one that is respectful of faith and religious traditions yet warmly embraces a life free of religion, finding not skepticism and cold doubt but rather profound meaning and hope. Hope After Faith is the story of one man’s evolution toward a committed and considered atheism, one driven by humanism, a profound moral dimension, and a happiness and self-confidence obtained through living free of fear.
Join us this Sunday as DeWitt talks to us about his astounding journey.
David Fitzgerald is an author, atheist activist, and a public speaker. He is a coordinator for San Francisco Atheists and he is the Secular Student Alliance's regional campus organizer for Northern California. His is on the speaker's bureaus of SSA and the Center for Inquiry (CFI). He is the co-founder of numerous secular events and festivals in the San Francisco area, and consults with secular and science organization from all over the United States. He is the author of the acclaimed book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All.
David Fitzgerald's newest book is The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons. It is targeted to those who haven't been exposed to Mormon teachings, as well as to ex-Mormons. The book attempts to shed light on the practices and ideas that drive the Mormon church, and in doing so is part history book, FAQ, expose, and comedy revue.
Join us this Sunday morning to hear David Fitzgerald speak about The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons.Add a comment
Every once in a while, someone will point to the fact that a large number of states in the U.S. still have laws on the books to prevent atheists from holding political office. Then someone else will inevitably point out that these laws have been found to be unconstitutional, so we don't need to worry about them.
This Sunday's guest today may have a different opinion. When Cecil Bothwell was elected to the Asheville, NC city council, he faced a challenge based in North Carolina's religious test. Today he joins us to talk about that, about how North Carolina's current political situation is influenced by theists, and about his new novel, She Walks on Water.