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April 17, 2012

Godless Festival and Ad Campaign Coming to Madison

(Madison, Wisconsin, April 17, 2012) "Freethought Festival 2012: Reason to Celebrate"

These words are starting to pop up on the screens of Madison-area computer users. They are part of an internet ad campaign aimed at letting more area atheists know they aren't alone, and that like-minded community groups exist for them to join. The ads are being placed by the newly launched Madison Area Coalition of Reason (MadCoR), an alliance of seven freethought organizations in the city and surrounding areas.

The Madison campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort funded by the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), which has supported similar efforts in 30 states. "The point of our ongoing nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of UnitedCoR. "Visibility is important to us. In this society, agnostics and atheists often don't know many people like themselves, and feel isolated. We're trying to change that."

The MadCoR launch also heralds the upcoming Freethought Festival, the coalition's inaugural conference. This free, three-day event will run from April 27-29th in the Humanities Building on the University of Wisconsin campus. Prominent atheist blogger P.Z. Myers and Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor are among the 21 scientists, authors and atheist activists who will be speaking. It has already drawn hundreds of online registrations from across the Midwest.

The conference is being hosted by the Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics, a student organization at UW–Madison. "It's unprecedented for students to organize a conference of this magnitude," explains Festival Event Organizer and graduate student Chris Calvey. "It's really a testament to the fact that young people are living happy, productive and fulfilling lives without God. My generation is the least religious in American history, and our numbers are growing every year."

The festival is comprised of a total of four sessions, each featuring several speakers presenting talks on a similar theme. These themes include human sexuality, strategies for debating religious ideas, and plans for growing the secular movement. Saturday afternoon's theme, the separation of church and state, will culminate with a panel discussion hosted by keynote speaker Sean Faircloth, former member of the Maine House of Representatives and author of "Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What to Do About It"

To learn more about the new coalition, go to MadCoR.org .

For information on the Freethought Festival 2012, go to FreethoughtFestival.org . Speaker information can be found there.

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The Madison Area Coalition of Reason is a resource for freethinking people, with the goal of uniting the various non-theistic organizations throughout the greater Madison area.

The United Coalition of Reason is made up of more than 55 local coalitions nationwide and works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among non-theistic groups.

For more information contact:

Chris Calvey
Freethought Festival Event Manager
Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics @ UW-Madison
217-721-5982
Calvey@Wisc.edu
WiscAtheists@blogspot.com
FreethoughtFestival.org

Leslie Starczewski
Coordinator
Madison Area Coalition of Reason
608-217-2507
MadisonBrights@gmail.com
MadCoR.org