March 14 COFFRF Meeting; Whetstone Library

Number attending: 13

Bill Fullarton: Called the meeting to order at 7:05, welcoming all.

Centering: Bill invited all to observe a minute of silence.

Trivia Question: Today (3/14) is also known as pi day. It is also the birthday of Einstein. He related the story of Einstein’s trip to Japan. The tip he left the bellboy when leaving the hotel was a scribbled quotation. The family kept it; it is now worth over a million dollars.

Announcements: Several examples of violation of church/state separation at various governmental entities were discussed. (Council meetings which have opening invocations.) A move to get a constitutional amendment to preserve abortion rights was approved to be placed on the November ballot. Volunteers to gather signatures are needed.

It is now necessary to show a photo ID to vote. People who do not have a driver’s license can get alternate ID at the BMV. There may be a fee for this, although some thought it might be waived.

Member story. When did your journey begin? What happened between then and now?

Brenda Penn's story: Growing up in a Black family, the church was the center of both spiritual and cultural life. She graduated from East High School, which was 80% Black. She raised two children and works as an educator and real estate broker, travelling extensively. Her journey to becoming a freethinker was gradual, having visited a number of various churches over the years. She learned about ASH from a friend at the UU church. She strongly affirms the right of all people to follow their own beliefs and notes that many require an outside “entity” to guide them.

Membership: Les Kleen

Number in our roster: 62 Number of FFRF members: 48 confirmed.

Treasurer: David Jon Krohn reported that an account was established at the Columbus Metropolitan Employees Federal Credit Union on High and Weisheimer. $1000 from FFRF was deposited. We are now registered with the Secretary of State.

Comfest: Ed Sweeney

Ed will apply for a booth (About $150) as soon as check books are available. Volunteers are needed to take shifts on June 23, 24, 25. T shirts for volunteers will be available. Bill Russell will be liaison for area humanists; Gyamfi Gyamerah will coordinate in Yellow Springs.

Glenn Waring advised members to look at the Whiteboard on the COFFRF website for information. Christian Nationalists are aggressively pushing their agenda to make Christianity a national religion. He distributed a PRRI/Brookings survey on how various groups view their goals. The majority of Americans disagree with the five assertions listed.

Bill Fullarton reported that a letter had been sent to Police Chief Bryant concerning the need for diversity among the chaplains they call on to help them.

A press release about our concerns has been approved by FFRF.

What should we do with media articles of interest? It was suggested that we post them on the website, not send lots of stuff by email.

Staffing for the Steering Committee: (in lieu of Executive Committee) Bill hopes to include two volunteers age 40 or younger. Karen Schneck volunteered to be on the Committee.

The Mission Statement was distributed. A motion was made by Jim Bossenbroek to eliminate the section “and to support the notion that non-theism is an acceptable life choice." Seconded by Brenda Penn. The motion passed unanimously. It now states:

Our mission is to provide local activities for FFRF members in central Ohio, and to further the purpose of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, in particular to prevent the intrusion of religion in the affairs of local, state and federal governments.

In pursuit of this mission, we will emphasize the need to build community, and endeavor to learn from the best practices of FFRF Chapters around the country.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35

The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 11 at 7 PM at the Worthington Library.

Submitted by Alice Faryna