30th Edition                                                                                           April 2017
First things first! We need you to complete our 2017 survey by May 1st for 2 reasons:
  • We care what you think about the CFFC and how you can help us with our goals. So let us know! 
  • If you are a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, we get $5 of your FFRF dues just by letting them know you support the CFFC.

The 2017 legislative session is well underway in Tallahassee and there are several bills of concern. Our allies at Planned Parenthood, Equality Florida, Florida Citizens for Science, and the Anti-Defamation League have been working hard tracking, lobbying, and doing grassroots activism. 

What we all have in common is the goal of secular government that neither inhibits nor promotes religion. Unfortunately, Florida legislators and their constituents don't always share the secular values they need to treat everyone equally.

The Religious Expression in Public Schools bill we have focused on is nearing completion of the process and while it does still present some problems, it is much better than when it started. 

We hope that your phone calls to the legislators helped with that. Here is the original bill and here is the current version. The House and Senate bills now match. Here is the current version as of this writing.

One hero of our cause has appeared. It is no surprise, though, since Representative Carlos Guillermo-Smith is a longtime LGBT activist who knows how to spot and face down legislation that can result in challenges to minority communities. Here's the  video of his exchange with the bill sponsor in debate on the House floor.

We are thrilled to announce that Representative Smith will be joining us for our May CFFC Event on Sunday, May 28th at 1 PM. Look for an event announcement very soon and be sure to get there early! 

As a reminder, the CFFC has an ongoing campaign in cooperation with BE Orlando to  collect science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) books for use by kids in this summer's reading programs.  Bring your books to any event in April or May and look for the red bin.
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar and set a reminder!

STEM Book Drive with BE. Orlando
Bring your STEM-themed books to any upcoming CFFC event, look for the red bin, and we'll be sure they are delivered to the Heart of Florida United Way summer reading initiatives. And thanks for helping out!

Saturday, April 15, 7:30 PM
Outdoor Movie Night: 
This Is The End
For the last movie of the season, we feature a comedy of biblical proportions. Watch the apocalypse strike Hollywood. It's a lot funnier than it sounds. It features James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and lots more stars who play themselves.  Here's the trailer .

Thursday, Apr 20, 7 PM
CFFC Discussion Group - Developing Community
Bring ideas to share. Talk about what you have seen work with other groups. Discuss what you think would help make our community stronger.
Saturday, Apr 22 - DOUBLE FEATURE
Central Florida Earth Day, 10 AM - 6 PM
March for Science, 11 AM - 2 PM
Two great events on the same day. Come by and say hello or be in touch if you want to volunteer at our exhibit table.

Sunday, Apr 23, 1 PM
Film Screening: A Better Life with Flimmaker Chris Johnson
In this fascinating documentary, Chris introduces us to people from all walks of life and backgrounds who challenge the false stereotypes of atheists as immoral and evil. From Daniel Dennett and A.C. Grayling, to Julia Sweeney and Robert Llewellyn-learn the various ways many atheists have left religion to a better life filled with love, compassion, hope, and wonder.
T hursday, May 4, 5:45 PM
Secular invocation and Dinner
If you're in Lake County, come out and support Joseph Richardson as he offers a secular invocation in the City of Eustis on the National Day or Reason (which happens to be the National Day of Prayer).

Freethought Cruise with Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker
March 3-7, 
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 be giving talks during the cruise. 
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 or regional news that matters to you!

Longwood Promotes Christianity with Cross in City Chamber

Last summer, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall visited Central Florida. The City of Longwood sponsored and promoted the 4-day event which included scheduled Christian prayers at every opportunity and the display of a Latin cross which made its way into the City Council Chamber.  While the Mayor says it was not their intent to promote Christianity, that's exactly what a Christian symbol in the seat of government does. 

Unfortunately for the Mayor, I ntent doesn't absolve the City from role in this Establishment Clause violation. CFFC d irector, Joseph Richardson, points this out in an interview when the story first broke as well as a head-to-head discussion on Fox 35, with Mayor Durso.

It even made it onto Fox & Friends where the Mayor spoke on the issue unchallenged by any opposition in some "fair and balanced" coverage.
We should no more honor atheists and other  non-Christian veterans with a Latin cross than honor  veterans of our allied countries with a U.S. flag. To do so, in fact, dishonors them and that for which they fought. Our servicemen and women do not defend or fight for flags and religious symbols. They fight to preserve our way of life and for civil and human rights granted by our U.S. Constitution which includes, among others, the right to freedom from religion.
FFRF's Attorney on the Rubin Report
Andrew Seidel, the FFRF attorney who works on Florida issues with us, sat down for an hour with Dave Rubin of the Rubin Report for a discussion about the First Amendment.  Set aside some time to check it out .

An Intro to Humanism at Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning

CFFC supporter and Humanist Celebrant, Steve Bechtel, will be teaching a four-week clas s beginning June 7 at the  Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning   for students over 50. 

The course, An Introduction to Humanism, will run four consecutive Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 to 3:00. It is a p rimer on the history, philosophy, and goals of Humanism.

For information, contact lifelonglearning@rollins.edu or call 407-646-1577.  You may also contact Steve directly at srbechtel@gmail.com or 407-247-5562 for more information.
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.
A Useful Resource
Something you should know about
More on your Florida Legislature

To  listen to an audio summary of the proceedings at the end of the each day during the session, listen to  Capital Report from WFSU  in Tallahassee. You can listen online or subscribe to the  podcast feed  and the broadcast can be heard on local NPR stations.

If you want to watch the legislature in action or catch a summary at the end of the day, watch videos at   The Florida Channel or check out  Capitol Update each evening during the legislative session.

If you have a special interest in keeping an eye on the Florida Legislature, let us know. We can always use more help with that.

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.