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Sacramento Freethought Day

Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at the Californa State Capitol

Sunday, Oct 11, 2015

California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA


In celebration of our 14th anniversary, we are proud to have booked some amazing speakers. In addition to these speakers, we also have live entertainment and an Authors' Panel.

And don't forget Leadership Day on Saturday for those in leadership and advocacy roles at the local and state level, and our Supporters' Reception on Satuday evening where you can meet many of our speakers and enjoy wine, dessert, and more.

Jason Torpy, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers

Jason TorpyJason serves as the President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF), a national non-profit building community for atheists and humanists in the military. Mr. Torpy also holds seats on the board of the Secular Coalition for America Educational Fund of the premier lobbying organization for secular issues, and the American Humanist Association, which fosters Humanist community and ethics.

After joining the military in 1994, Mr. Torpy has been active with the nontheist community. He has addressed issues of separation of church and state and equal opportunity for nontheistic service members in Army basic training, Army parachutist training, military academy programs, and in combat situations. Mr. Torpy’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from West Point and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from The Ohio State University. He is a Humanist Celebrant recognized by the Humanist Society.

After earning top graduate honors from two intelligence training programs, Mr. Torpy was offered direct admission to the United States Military Academy. Upon graduation, Mr. Torpy was commissioned as an officer and served for five years in Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq with the Army’s 1st Armored Division. He left the service in 2005 at the rank of Captain to pursue an MBA. Mr. Torpy currently lives in Washington, DC.

Mandisa Thomas, Black Nonbelievers

Mantisa ThomasMandisa is a founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism, and Islam. As a child she loved reading, and enjoyed various tales of Gods from different cultures, including Greek and Ghanaian. “Through reading these stories and being taught about other cultures at an early age, I quickly noticed that there were similarities and differences between those deities and the God of the Christian Bible. I couldn’t help but wonder what made this God so special that he warrants such prevalence in today’s society,” she recalls.

Mandisa has a number of media appearances to her credit, including CBS Sunday Morning,, and JET magazine. She has been a guest on podcasts such as The Humanist Hour and Ask an Atheist, as well as the documentaries Contradiction and My Week in Atheism. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Coalition for America, and has presented at conferences/conventions for American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Secular Student Alliance, and many others.

As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Mandisa works to encourage more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones. "The more we make our presence known, the better our chances of working together to turn around some of the disparities we face. We are NOT alone."

Dr. Jason Heap, United Coalition of Reason

Jason HeapJason (Jase) serve as the Executive Director for the United Coalition of Reason, based in Washington, DC. Through his work with UnitedCoR, Jase nurtures over 85 local Coalitions of Reason, in addition to supporting over 800 cooperating and affiliated groups within these local coalitions.

Jase took double majors in philosophy and practical theology at Howard Payne University before attending Brite Divinity School (Texas Christian University) for an MDiv. He then studied for an additional Master's in history and religion at The University of Oxford before completing further post-graduate certification from Sheffield Hallam University that allowed him to teach in the UK's state-maintained schools. He has recently completed a Doctor of Education in administrator leadership and his dissertation focused on empowering non-Western grassroots schools and teachers.

Jase is a Humanist endorsed chaplain and celebrant, a regular contributor to TheHumanist.Com, and gives regular volunteer time to chaplaincy work with student organizations at major American and British universities. He is the current applicant to become the first Humanist Chaplain in the history of the United States armed forces.

Tom Manger, Secular Coalition for California

Tom MangerTom Manger, the Legislative Chair for the Secular Coalition for California (SCCA), will be speaking on secular activism in California.

The SCCA has had a number of successes helping to minimize religious bias and religious privileging in new legislation.

In this talk, Tom will give a wrap up of 2015 California legislation from a secular perspective. He will also talk about activities planned for 2016 and ways you can assist in not just enforcing the separation of church and state, but ways to reverse the many ways that religion is unduly privileged in existing laws.  

Chris Johnson, Director

Chris JohnsonChris Johnson is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker. His photography has been seen in various outlets, including The New York Times.

He has spent the last three years working on A Better Life, traveling across the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and other countries.

For the book and film of A Better Life, he interviewed many prominent atheist figures such as Steven Pinker, Dan Dennett, Derren Brown, Julia Sweeney, Penn & Teller, and many more.

He has given talks on atheism and his work at the Humanist Community at Harvard, New York Society for Ethical Culture, Freedom from Religion Foundation Annual Conference, and more.

Chris is the recipient of the Kodak Award for Excellence in Filmmaking as well as the B.F. Lorenzetti Scholarship for Excellence in Filmmaking.

Susan Corbett, United Coalition of Reason

Susan CorbettSusan is a native of Liverpool, UK and has been a supporter of the British Humanist Association and the Merseyside Skeptics Society. After completing studies in English literature and language as well as British contract and criminal law, she then trained to work with Special Educational Needs students in the UK’s State-maintained schools. She also specialised in teaching Science and expanded her work with students for whom English is an additional language. With over 15 years’ experience in international education, Susan uses the skills she utilised in schools to address and develop the needs for adult learners within local coalitions.

Susan enjoys world travels and has enjoyed meeting individual CoRs in their local contexts. She also enjoys singing (she toured with a rock band in her teenage years throughout Northern Africa, Western Europe and spent many years in Scandinavian countries) and working with horses.

Amanda Metskas, Camp Quest

Amanda MetskasAmanda K. Metskas is the executive director of Camp Quest, Inc. She has been involved with Camp Quest since 2003, and served on the board of directors from 2004-2007.  Amanda became executive director when Camp Quest, Inc. hired her as its first staff person in January 2008. As executive director, Amanda oversees the growth and development of Camp Quest.

In addition to her work with Camp Quest, Amanda is a board member of the Secular Coalition for America.  She co-authored Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief with Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura and Jan Devor.  Amanda holds an M.A. in political science from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in international relations and psychology from Brown University.  She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband August E. Brunsman IV and their two cats.

Don Button, Sacramento City College