32nd Edition                                                                                         August 2017

Did you know that the CFFC is turning five?  Come out and celebrate with us  THIS SATURDAY at 1 PM!  There will be two dynamic speakers and a special CFFC-themed cake.  The event is at our regular location, the University Club of Winter Park, but is on Saturday, not Sunday, so check your calendar.  Find out more at our Meetup or Facebook event pages.

This is important: Please take a moment to join us in thanking UCF's Administration for the bold steps they've recently taken to include non-religious people and perspectives. If we want other Florida schools to do the same, we need to ensure UCF knows it was the right decision. Go to the Secular and Religious Minority Awareness at UCF web site where you can see the hundreds of comments coming in and add your name to the list of those who appreciate their efforts.  Thanks in advance for your help with this!

OK! Our long-awaited t-shirt design is ready. Soon we'll place an order and have them available for sale at our meetings. What do you think? Click on the image for a larger view.

Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar and set a reminder!

Secular Women of Central Florida
Aug 3 Aug 7 Aug 16
Oviedo Library
This is a new series with the goal of providing a space for women to explore a wide range of issues from outside the confines of religious traditions.

Sat, Aug 5, 1 PM
Celebrate CFFC's 5th Anniversary with
Ryan Cragun
& Derek Demeter

Many are religious because of tradition or the emotions they experience as part of religious practice. If because of emotion, how successful will logic and reason be at convincing them to leave religion? Using recently gathered data, Ryan will address this in his talk, "Can We Reason People Out of Religion?"
The science behind eclipses, the best place to view the eclipse, and how to safely observe and photograph the eclipse. Derek will discuss these topics and more in " Eclipse 101: Everything you need to know about the Great American Eclipse" which happens on August 21st.
Tue, Aug 8  1:45 PM
CFFC's 50th Secular Invocation - City of Orlando
Since 2014, we've worked hard to create opportunities for freethinkers to participate in places previously limited to religious clergy. We know the middle of the workday is tough, but if you're able, join us for this special occasion. Afterward, we'll grab  a mid-afternoon coffee or drink.

Wed, Aug 9, 6 PM
Chocolate Challenge - BE. Orlando Event
Join BE. Orlando Humanist Fellowship at this event each month to serve a meal at a domestic violence shelter.  For August, every recipe must incorporate chocolate! Use your imagination and be sure to RSVP at the Meetup page for BE. Orlando.

Sun, Aug 13, 9 AM
Adopt-A-Park Cleanup 
This is our regular monthly park cleanup event. We bring doughnuts and you bring the family!

Tue, Aug 15, 7 PM
CFFC Discussion Group - Objectivism
This month the group dives into the concept of objectivism, will discuss Ayn Rand, the free market, and its relationship to atheism.

Fri, Oct 20 thru Sun, Oct 22
FREEFLO 2017 - The Freethought Florida Conference
The full, 3-day pass is just $220; a 2-day conference-only pass is $120. Consider registering for the Friday night costume & karaoke party as well as dinner with comedy by the American Heretics Comedy Tour on Saturday. More at FREEFLO.org

Sat, Mar 3 thru Wed, Mar 7, 2018
Freethought Cruise with Annie Laurie Gaylor & Dan Barker
Port Canaveral to the Bahamas!
Booking is underway for another awesome Freethought Cruise! This time we travel to Stirrup Cay & Nassau, Bahamas on a 4-night cruise with co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation who will  both give talks while on board.
Most of our events are on  Facebook,  but t o be sure you also get into exclusive, CFFC events, join our  Meetup group .
Coalition of Reason - Orlando Events
Check out all the local community events in one place

News You Can Use
Local and regional news that matters to you!

City of the Cross Hosts Second Secular Invocation

In July 2014, the City of Deland found it in their heart ( and anchor and cross) to schedule the CFFC for an invocation...twelve months later...in  July 2015

Recently they City was more prompt and we are proud to have facilitated the first secular invocation by an openly transgender woman in Florida. During her time at the lectern, Athena Jeanne Hale  reminded the Council that we need to think globally and act locally when it comes to securing human rights.  Here is coverage by The Friendly Atheist Blog

You can find all our secular invocations including videos and transcripts at our website on the Invocations page.

Christmas in July!

You may recall from last December that Sanborn Square in Boca Raton served as a host site for religious holiday displays in the City. In the square, FFRF member, Preston Smith, added an entry: a 6-foot tall red steel pentagram placed with the "blessing" of The Satanic Temple. His display and banners were vandalized 5 times in the few weeks they shared space with a nativity scene and other holiday displays. We summarized the story in our  January Freethought News.

Due to his efforts and those of others who helped with the display, the City said in July that it is reconsidering whether to permit holiday displays in the square next year. The final vote has yet to occur, but inspiring a discussion of the subject is worthy of note.  When government is involved in the process of creating a forum, our public lands should be for secular activities that serve us all and not used by the government or private organizations to promote religious beliefs. 

We'll let you know how the vote goes next month. If you can't wait for the next email, follow us on Facebook.

FFRF's Weekly Video Show: Ask An Atheist

Recently, our parent organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, began broadcasting live videos on Wednesday afternoons at 1 PM Eastern Time on a wide range of subjects of interest to freethinkers.
You can tune in live on Facebook or catch them later there, or subscribe on YouTube. And if you aren't an FFRF member, join today! They are a critical part of the work we do.

A Record Year for Public School Violations Anticipated
As you know, the CFFC has been closely following Florida's "Religious Expression" bill. It was signed into law earlier this summer and we're in for a battle this school year because some school employees simply don't understand what is, and is not, permitted by the Establishment Clause.

There seems to be a significant misunderstanding about the "rights" people have under the Free Exercise Clause as it pertains to their government job or elective office. This bill will make this much, much more likely in public schools and taxpayers will have to cover the costs of settling legitimate disputes as a result.  Some parents, teachers, and administrators, either don't know or don't care about the rights of students and their parents and will be emboldened by the new law; a law that, by they way, contradicts the US and Florida Constitutions and existing case law.

This is likely to be litigated in the 2017-18 school year and the CFFC  is working closely with  national organizations on this issue and will be keeping you posted on what you need to know and how you can help out.  We will also ensure that all 67 Florida school boards are aware of our concerns regarding the rights of secular and religious minority students.  For those of you who need catching up, here are some recent news stories and a summary by our allies at the Anti-Defamation League.

Prepare for Challenges to Public School Instructional Materials 

Along with the Religious Expression law, we also expect to see some significant challenges to curricula in public schools around the state relating to science, social studies, and just about anything else thanks to a new "Instructional Materials" law that allows any county resident (parent or not) to object to books or materials used for instruction. 

Under this new program, a third party will be involved in reviewing the objection.  So, e ven if no instructional materials change as a result of challenges, the time and effort involved in researching and reviewing them is a burden our schools should not have to bare. The law leaves lots of questions unanswered, but you can r ead more in a few links below. 

Our friends at Florida Citizens for Science are on the case so keep up with all the issues at their blog , Facebook page .

Washington Post

Pensacola's Bayview Cross Ruling to be Appealed

In record time--less than a week--a federal judge decided the Latin cross in a Pensacola public park had to come down. Not without including an explanation of his personal disappointment with the law he was bound by the Constitution to enforce and which he (probably) swore on his bible to uphold.  So far, the cost to the city for opposing legal fees is $130,000 . This doesn't include their own attorney's fees.

Now, the City has decided to risk more taxpayer money since the   legal fees won't be paid by right wing Christian legal ministries  if they lose. Stay tuned for more on this and read recent news and a blog post to catch up.

Here's  a video with a  humorous take on the issue  produced by a Christian supporter of the separation of church and state.  

Deltona City Commissioner Holds Unofficial Bible Study

At several recent meetings Deltona City Commissio ner,  Christopher Alcantara, has used part of his time for commissioner comments during the commission meetings to read the bible into the public record. His response to a complaint from Americans United for Separation of Church and State was to say he wasn't going to stop and "God bless." 

See videos below and coverage from media sources here and here  as  well as The Friendly Atheist Blog .
Secularists Sharing Spaces

Conversations around how local organizations should invest precious resources often end up in a few key areas of discussion. One idea being talked about more and more is buying or leasing meeting and event space that can host a variety of activities. Whether this is appropriate or not  depends on the different situations groups find themselves in around the country. 

Here is a recent article about the Secular Hub in Denver . It is one of only a few places where groups have pooled resources or been the benefactor of a very generous individual and decided they need a regular place to meet. Maybe we will have such a place in Orlando one day.
Stay tuned to the CFFC's Facebook page for all the news and events we share. Be sure to click "Like" and "Share" those which you think your Facebook friends would appreciate.
Secular Quotable

" The purpose of separation of church and state
is to keep forever from these shores
the ceaseless strife
that has soaked the soil
of Europe in blood for centuries.

President James Madison

CFFC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
focused on the
separation of state and church and
building a thriving secular community in the Greater Orlando area.