Out In Droves – Arguing Same-Sex Marriage

House Bill H.R.1054 was up for a vote in the Civil Law Committee on Tuesday. On that day the committee took testimony from any and all citizens who wanted to share their views on the bill. Many presented their own views and some introduced themselves as representatives for a group.

I don’t often watch political committee discussions (but when I do…), but this is a topic of great interest. H.R.1054 is a bill that, if passed by the MN Congress, would give same-sex couples the right to get married in Minnesota! I also wanted to watch because August Berkshire was scheduled to speak on behalf of Minnesota Atheists. August live-Facebooked the event. Fellow MN Atheist members Greg Laden and Stephanie Zvan also blogged about the committee meeting.

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Out In Droves – Arguing Same-Sex Marriage

Atheist Billboard Celebration

Yesterday a group of Minnesota Atheists gathered at The Public House restaurant for an evening of socializing and celebrating the two billboards that are nearing the end of their month-long run. There was one couple who was attending this as their first MNA meetup; they had donated to the billboard fund and wanted to gather for the last hurrah.

I sat next to a group that discussed  the joke that was Darrel Issa’s hearing on the constitutionality of the HHS rules on contraception and the now infamous aspirin as contraception quote from Foster Friess (aka, keep your legs shut you filthy sluts), then we chatted books. One of the guys tried to keep us on track about the “serious” books we were reading, but then someone mentioned the Hunger Games and all was lost (ohmigawd – only a little over one month until the movie comes out!). We were also sitting next to the producer of Atheists Talk, the MNA radio show that airs every Sunday morning at 9am on KTNF AM950, so we talked about some of the upcoming guests – it’s quite the lineup!

There was a fun 10-question quiz about religion, atheism and separation of church and state. One of the new attendees ended up winning the free Minnesota Atheists t-shirt prize. The shirts were also available for sale – $6.66 each. And then we all trooped outside into the brisk Minnesota weather to take a group photo under the billboard. I haven’t seen the photo posted up on the meetup site or mnatheists.org yet, but here’s a pic that was taken earlier this month when the sign was being put up:

Billboard by Minnesota Atheists

Billboard in Minneapolis by Minnesota Atheists. Photo by Lynn Fellman.

I can’t properly describe to you how this photo doesn’t do the billboard’s SCREAMING YELLOW!!! justice, especially at night when the board is illuminated by three powerful lights. I’ll post the photo that we took last night when it become available.

Both billboards – this one and the one in Saint Paul – come down on Monday. They’ve been up for the month and the committee overseeing the billboards are very pleased with the reception, the media attention, and the increase in people who have signed up on the MNA meetup group. And from the water cooler gossip being tossed around last night, it sounds like this might be something that MNA is interested in doing again in the future.

Atheist Billboard Celebration

I was on the radio!

A few months ago I was invited to do something new and exciting: I was asked if I wanted to be a radio host for MN Atheists radio show, Atheists Talk! I was very excited to be asked, but I didn’t want to put anything out here on the blog until all the details came together. Today they did.

Today I was the host for an interview with Dr. David Eller on his book Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious Violence Across Culture and History. It aired at 9am this morning on AM950 KTFN. You can listen to the interview here or on iTunes (the podcast is called “Atheists Talk”, and this is episode #137 “Exploring Religious Violence”). I won’t go into the details of the interview itself here, but it was interesting enough that I found it a little hard to stay focused on the technical side of things, instead of letting myself get completely engaged in the issues Dr. Eller was discussing.

Being the radio host was a neat experience. I read all of the intros and outros, kept an eye on the clock, introduced the guest and the interviewer, thanked the sponsors, and theoretically would have read any email questions or taken any phone calls for the guest, had that happened. There was a kick-butt radio engineer in studio who took care of the actual sound quality, getting Dr. Eller on the phone, turning the mics on and off, and other techy goodness. And aren’t we all grateful for that?

Hosting was a little nerve-wracking and I did mess up a few sections. I totally, utterly cut off Dr. Eller at two of the commercial breaks, but then the engineer came in and clued me in to how those were supposed to work (as opposed to how I had been doing them, lol). Going to commercial is a bit of a delicate dance between the interviewer, the interviewee and the host, but after messing it up twice we NAILED the third break. But then we ran out of time at the end. And I said “uh” quite a bit. And I missed an entire paragraph of script for one of the intros.

So, there’s room for improvement, but now I’ll be one of the regular hosts and I’ll have a chance to try it again! I’ll be alternating with Atheists Talk radio host (and the blogger behind Almost Diamonds) Stephanie Zvan most weeks. My next show is on Sunday October 30th at 9am. We’re scheduled to have Alex Rosenberg on to discuss his book The Atheist’s Guide to Reality.

Fun, huh?

I was on the radio!