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September is crazy busy with CFFC activities! We hope to have something to interest everyone. Find those below, but first, t he CFFC is proud to announce our adoption of a neighborhood park in Seminole County. Each month, we will get together to help maintain Kewannee Park, centrally located in Casselberry.

This 6-acre park has a trail head, children's playground, boardwalk through a forested wetland, a large lake with interpretive signage and a pier, full basketball court, picnic pavilion, lots of open grassy areas, and a rest room facility. It is the perfect place to spend the morning with freethinking friends giving back to the community.

Last weekend, after a breakfast of champions (doughnuts from Donut King) and some enjoyable conversation, volunteers from the CFFC got to work and collected several bags of trash and a bin full of recyclable materials.

This was a wonderful kick-off event for the adoption. One volunteer noted they had "good times with great people for a good cause!" What a great way to describe it.

After  the cleanup we made notes about future projects we might undertake. We noticed the park has a moderate infestation of air potatoes so we will plan to have an "Air Potato Raid" in the future. This will start to reduce the infestation and keep the plants from taking over the native habitats and displacing the plants which native wildlife count on for food and shelter.

Want to know how to adopt a park. Read more at the Seminole County website.

The next clean-up event is on September 25th. We hope you'll join us! 
Upcoming CFFC Events
Mark your calendar and set a reminder!

Sat, Sep 3 from 3:30 to 7 PM
Labor Day Weekend Pool Party & Potluck
Hermine should be out of town in time for Saturday's Pot Luck & Pool Party. Just in case, the alternate plan would be the same time on Sunday. Stay tuned to Meetup and monitor your Meetup email account for any updates. The address was sent to Meetup attendees Friday and we will make a final decision at 10 on Saturday morning.

IMPORTANT: Check the status of the party at www.cflfreethought.org/party

Sun, Sep 11 at 10:30 AM
UU Congregation Lake County - CFFC Sermon
CFFC Director David Williamson will talk about the need for everyone to be engaged in activism for the separation of state an d church and will report on the issues specifically facing Lake County.

Tue, Sep 13 at 7 PM
Discussion Group & Book Club
This month,  The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs - by Julien Musolino

Sun, Sep 18 at 1 PM
CFFC Event: Socratic Jujitsu
This month's CFFC Event features author Jennifer Hancock. Her talk is billed as the art and science of winning arguments. Join us at our regular 1 PM time at the University Club. Please stay for snacks and conversation afterwards.

Tue, Sep 20 at 10 AM
Religion & World View Fair
Valencia College West Campus
The CFFC has been invited to exhibit and to present Humanism to the students. Stay tuned for more information.
 
Sun, Sep 25 at 9 AM
CFFC Park Cleanup & "Breakfast"
Join us at our second monthly park cleanup event. We'll bring the doughtnuts, coffee, water, and tools. You bring the family!

Mon, Sep 26 at 1:45 PM
City Council Meeting Invocation and Coffee
Join us for our return to Orlando's City Council. The invocation takes just a couple of minutes, then we'll go grab a coffee or snack. Leave a few extra minutes to park.

Wed, Sep 28 at 12 PM
Interfaith Health Forum Including CFFC
CFFC Co-founder and Director, Jocelyn Williamson will participate on a panel discussion to answer the question:  "What teachings and values of your worldview do you feel most assist you as you seek to live healthfully?"  After the presentations, the audience will have time to ask questions.

Find CFFC events on  Facebook  and  Meetup.
Orlando Coalition of Reason Events
Check out all the local freethought community calendars in one place:
 
News You Can Use
Local or regional news that matters to you!

Out and Proud with the Orlando LGBTQ Community

The CFFC is marching in our first Orlando Pride parade this year and we need volunteers who will march with us. Wear a  t-shirt matching one of the colors of the rainbow flag (here is a link). 

It will be a blast and we want as many people as we can muster. Be sure to RSVP on the Meetup page so we can get coordinated.


HELP WANTED

Do you have some time to help out with some easy political activism? The Secular Coalition for Florida needs a few volunteers to call candidates running for office in Florida.  All they need is complete contact information so they can follow up. 

If you have time to make some phone calls, please let us know by emailing info@cflfreethought.org.


In Trouble With the Law 

Our parent organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is an educational non-profit, but it's not their primary mission to educate government officials. They seem to do quite a lot of that though.

Just last month they educated Oviedo Police Chief, Jeffrey Chudnow, who thought that because (he believed) the Ten Commandments were depicted on a frieze at the U.S. Supreme Court, this cleared a path for his department to include a sectarian prayer as part of a recent awards ceremony which took place at the local theological seminary.

As you might expect, the FFRF was able to explain precisely how the Chief got it wrong on several counts. We're not sure he agreed.  Here is the first FFRF letter , the Chief's reply , and the follow-up FFRF letter . I guess we'll see if the drama continues.
 
On May 11, 2016, the Ocoee Police Department hosted a "Prayers for the Police" event and illegally promoted the religious observance on social media. CFFC was alerted to the violation, we investigated, and reported it to the FFRF who wrote a letter to Chief Charles Brown explaining the legal problems that occur when a government agency hosts and promotes religious activities.  In this case, the City agreed and said they will no longer host the event.

This second example, in Ocoee, is state/church separation activism at its best. Ideally, such violations wouldn't occur, but when we find them, point them out, and the government agency learns from their mistake, we call that a victory. Thanks to everyone involved in this win.
Are there similar violations in your area? Let us know by using the Contact Us page.


CFFC Partners with Others for Town Hall Meeting
   
On August 26, the CFFC participated in Examining Hate: A Town Hall Meeting organized by Senator Geraldine Thompson. We were one of more than a dozen organizations representing minorities from across Central Florida as partners in the event.
 
Hate crosses many demographics and includes religious bigotry. So CFFC was asked to talk about the hate which is experienced by non-believers. We gave two examples of students in public school who were ostracized, bullied, and demonized not just by fellow students, but teachers and staff.
 
The CFFC Board and several members attended and participated in small group discussions which brought back ideas to the larger group. Hopefully, we will continue to be involved if the initiative becomes an educational campaign or any other opportunity for activism. If it does, we'll be sure to let you know.
 
 
Positively Doubtful Podcast with CFFC Director, Keith Becher
 
Last week, CFFC Director, and Humanist of the Space Coast Founder, Keith Becher sat in on Positively Doubtful, a podcast produced by the Suncoast Skeptics in Sarasota. 
 
Keith talked with the podcast crew about the Brevard lawsuit and stayed on for the entire show. Check out the show at the podcast page here.
 
 
Teach, Don't Preach in Public Schools
 
Hillsborough County Schools have found themselves in the spotlight for over a year as churches vie for opportunities to participate as volunteers on campus, "student-led" Christian clubs find themselves being led by adults with criminal records and no background checks (and without having permission to be on campus), Christian organizations obtain access to the campus rent-free, and now the superintendent actually had to tell a school principal not to "lead prayer circles" with faculty.
 
It is safe to say that Hillsborough County Schools have our full attention now along with that of several organizations who care that our children receive the secular education our taxes are paying for. Here's the recent article about the prayer circles.
 

FFRF Convention
October 6-8, Pittsburgh
 
Have you registered for the FFRF's Annual Convention yet? CFFC Board members will be attending so come along with us to visit Pittsburgh and hear some fantastic speakers:
  • Susan Jacoby
  • Daniel Dennett
  • Lawrence Krauss
  • Jerry Coyne
  • ...and more!
CFFC Director, David Williamson, will address the convention audience on Friday night to offer the opening "Invocation" for the event and accept the 2016 Nothing Fails Like Prayer "President's Pick" award.

We'll have a great time so consider joining us. Here's the event in the CFFC Meetup. And here is the FFRF Convention Schedule.


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Florida's Dirty Dozen
  • Schools may not offer religious groups or other individuals unique access to school property to befriend and proselytize to students. 
  • Clubs and athletic teams cannot appoint or employ a chaplain, or seek out a spiritual leader for the team (even a student). 
  • Renaming a religious figure a "life coach" or other title to "get around" the law does not pass muster. 
  • Schools may not allow pastors, religious youth groups, or churches onto school grounds during the school day (e.g., in the lunch room) to talk with students. 
Watch your local public schools for this and the rest of  Florida's Dirty Dozen . And if you see something, say something!
Secular Quotable

"Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people ."

Eleanor Roosevelt
CENTRAL FLORIDA FREETHOUGHT COMMUNITY 
PO Box 621123, Oviedo, FL 32762
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,

  • A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.