The 2016 School Supply Drive was the best yet! Thank you so very much to everyone who donated their money, time and effort! $2356 in donations, including a full 1K match from the IAF and proceeds from our volunteers working concessions at Wells Fargo Arena during the period of the Drive. Boxes of school supplies were delivered on Friday, Aug 19 to Hiatt Middle School and to elementary schools, Edmunds, Jackson, Moulton and Smouse. Additionally, ten backpacks stuffed with school supplies were delivered to Hawthorn Hill homeless families shelter. We still have another “special delivery” to make as we also received an additional $500 from an anonymous donor through the United Coalition of Reason for STEM specific items. Stay tuned!
From the Des Moines Register August 7, 2016
I found Daniel Finney’s July 31 column interesting [Emails show Democrats disrespect for atheists], as I’m uncertain why there is this fear or hatred toward atheists. Atheism is really one plain and simple thing — a lack of belief in any god.
Not hatred of a god or religious person, just a non-belief. I don’t hate a person who has cancer without hating cancer. I don’t hate a child who believes in Santa Claus or unicorns. I simply do not share their belief. I have no agenda. I do not worship the devil or anything else. I believe in science, but do not worship it.
The national goal of the American Atheist Association is twofold — separation of church and state and to offer support to those who are like-minded and know they are not alone in a country where the majority have a religion. I do not deny we’re in a minority, but elimination of atheism worldwide would be accomplished easily — just prove there is a god.
Proving a negative is impossible. You can’t prove there is no Easter bunny or tooth fairy, so I can’t prove there is no god. The burden of proof is on those who tell me I should worship their god. Prove it exists and I’ll be happy to worship it. Any god. Poof! Atheism gone forever.
— Gary DeSomber, West Des Moines
IAF PR Officer Jason Paul Benell appeared on WHO 13 to give the atheist perspective on the declining numbers of believers in the United States, particularly in Iowa, and particularly in the Catholic Church. Jason pointed out that groups like Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers are key in providing a safe place for people to question their faith and find camaraderie without the need for superstition. We also touched on the reasons people were leaving the Church: they weren’t finding the values in sync with their own, the constant need for money and support from its members, the scandals and general problems within the church, and simply not finding the stories true or relevant anymore. Hopefully IAF being a part of the story will lead to more exposure for more Iowans to come out of the closet (and the pew) and embracing rationalism, freethinking, and science over old superstitious institutions like the church!
After a hiatus due to construction, the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers were excited to get back to work on their section of highway and do their part to improve their community. The weather was perfect on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for the volunteers to make their newly upgraded section of I-80/35 look great again after many seasons of construction and renovation. IAF is glad to be a part of the volunteer Adopt a Highway program in central Iowa with annual clean ups to reinforce their commitment to community both within and without the group. Every year IAF volunteers can be seen taking care of the section of I-35/80 between Grand Avenue and Mills Civic Parkway on the Southwestern corner of the Metro, cleaning up everything from abandoned pop cans to even massive truck tires. This year was no different with great weather, a fun atmosphere, and a dedication to the cleanliness and engagement of the community with several drivers honking their appreciation and support of IAF! We hope to see you at our next highway clean up as well as at any of our many community and volunteer events!
Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers(IAF) is proud to announce the Jerry Carpenter Memorial Scholarship! Iowa has a long history of social activism among its student body and IAF encourages this tradition of student engagement on behalf of atheism and secular ideals. In order to better facilitate atheist activism by students in Iowa, IAF has announced the Jerry Carpenter Memorial Scholarship for those students that focus on atheism, secular values, and the separation of church and state in their educational careers. IAF believes that when atheism, along with separation of church and state, are discussed openly and freely, this results in more religious liberty-not less. By empowering young Iowans to speak out and provide a culture of open dialogue about seemingly difficult religious issues we open the door to a better understanding of what it means to be an atheist in Iowa and what this means for all Iowans in a public setting. This scholarship is designed to incentivize young Iowans to be open and forward with their atheism and to learn more about what the separation of church and state means for the non religious as well as the religious.
Those Iowa students that wish to ensure a more religiously free and open society are encouraged to participate in the Scholarship with a submission on the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers website (www.iowaatheists.org) where additional application information can be found.
Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers
For more information: http://www.iowaatheists.org/jerry-carpenter-memorial-scholarship
IAF wants to assist at-risk teens in the LGBTQ community and elsewhere with information about how, when, and why to Come Out. The book “Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other and Why”, by Greta Christina, provides guidelines and advice applicable to secular people or those in the LGBTQ at-risk group – especially pre-adults. This book is a wonderful tool written by an author that is intimately familiar with both of these topics. Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers would like to provide this book for free to anyone that would like access to additional resources or assistance in Coming Out.Recently a young transgendered woman in Ohio, Leelah Alcorn, took her own life. In her final notes Leelah cited her parents’ refusal to accept her for who she was, the isolation that they had made her feel, and her parents continued pressure through religious means to change her identity. This is an absolute tragedy, and a tragedy that can be avoided by providing outreach and community for those that feel isolated and alone. Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers is dedicated to providing a safe and open community for those that feel unwelcome or isolated from their family and friends because of their (lack of) religious beliefs or LGBTQ status.
By contributing to the link below, your donation will allow IAF to purchase a case or more of this book along with other IAF resources. This book will be available on hand for free for at-risk individuals.
IAF appreciates your contribution and support in ending the kinds of isolation and alienation where Leelah Alcorn or anyone like her feels the need to take their own life.