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American Humanists Squash Elsinore Cross

If you haven’t heard the news, last month the American Humanist Association successfully lobbied the city of Lake Elsinore to remove a large roadside cross that had acted as defacto memorial for over a year. The cross stood near the intersection of Lake Street Temescal Canyon Road. 

The cross had been up since shortly after 19-year-old Anthony Devaney was tragically killed by a vehicle in May 2012 as he crossed Lake Street. The cross was removed on March 6.

The removal of the cross was prompted when the American Humanists Association (AMA) asked the city to take down the cross because it violated the separation of church and state.

According to Monica Miller, the attorney for the AMA, the cross was left up despite city ordinances against roadside displays. “None of those rules have been applied here so it’s basically selective enforcement of their sign law,” she said.

While the removal of a monument to the victim of a tragedy may seem callous, the simple fact is that the cross persisted despite ordinances that prohibited other similar roadside memorials for remaining up for over a year. This was a clear case of the city engaging in selective enforcement over religious symbol.

On March 22, Lake Elsinore installed a plaque in a local park to honor the memory of Anthony Devaney. This non-sectarian plaque does not privilege any one religion over another nor violate city ordinances. The IEAA applauds the city of Lake Elsinors decision to respect all members and beliefs of their community while memorializing this tragedy.

P Spring

Member Spotlight: Phillip Spring, Market Night champion and the IEAA’s newest Treasure

If you see Phillip at one of our events, be sure to say hi since he’s always

interested in lively conversation, “I hope to find intelligent like minded people who are not afraid to be who they are. I hope for lively cool-headed debates over beer or coffee and possibly make some good friends,” he says.

Phillip Spring joined the IEAA in the summer of 2012, but it wasn’t until we started our regular Redlands Market Night stalls that he truly became involved.

Phillip attended most, if not all, of our market night stalls, and was one of the most important members in supporting the project.

Since Market Night, Phillip has gone on to become one of the most active members in the IEAA, attending nearly every planning dinner. Phillip’s dedication has also extended to running the group, as he was appointed Treasurer on Feb. 5.

Membership Dues Decision

Dues decided after months of debate.

Hello IEAA Members!

At the last IEAA activities planning dinner on April 2, our membership decided to implement dues at a $25 annual member rate and a $10 current student rate.

We’ve received a lot of feedback on this issue and this has been one of our most discussed topics in recent IEAA history. I would like to clarify some questions members may have.

First, these dues are not mandatory. Everyone is still able to volunteer at and attend events. We will never turn anyone away because they aren’t a “paying member.”

Dues are a way for members to show their support and take a direct role in the group. By becoming a paying member you are becoming a shareholder of the IEAA and are able elect officers and run for positions, and members can take an active role in deciding policy.

Second, these dues will help cover a lot of events. Currently, the IEAA budget comes from what is donated at our Monthly Meetings. But for over a year, these donations, more often than not, haven’t covered the full costs of running the meetings. At the end of each meeting, the donations have been divided amongst the people who hosted and paid for the event. Often, these members have been left to foot a large percentage of the bill themselves. Dues will help us with:

•Speaker honoraria and venue fees – good speakers cost money.

•Costs such as printing, meetup, signs, websites, and merchandise

•Community engagement, activism, and outreach such as tabling

fees, like those for our current Market Night stall.

•Educational events like providing Atheist books to libraries.

•Some service and charitable projects like adopting a street.

Even a modest income from member fees, such as $500 a year, would be enough to greatly increase the quality of events and our level of engagement with the community.

To join the IEAA as a paid member, please  apply online by clicking the button to the right of the screen, or come to a Monthly Meeting and fill out an application. And if you have any questions please ask.

Thank you!

­—Greg McKinley-Powell, Chairperson

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IEAA to Become a Non-Profit

The next step for Atheism in the Inland Empire
GREG McKINLEY-POWELL, 1-20-2014

On January 8th, at our Monthly Planning Meeting the collected membership of the IEAA unanimously approved a plan to incorporate the Inland Empire Atheists and Agnostics as a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation.
The IEAA has always been a non-Prophet organization, but we are taking that to the next level by seeking full non-Profit status What does incorporating mean for our members?
Not much really. We’re still going to have all of our same events, we’re still going to be a completely member-run organization, and we’re still going to work to promote the Secular Community in the Inland Empire.
But what it will change is our ability to achieve these goals. By becoming a non-profit, the IEAA will be able to:

• Offer tax exemption for large donations,
• Get serious discounts (90%) when renting local civic venues,
• Discounts on other civic events, such as Market Night stalls,
• Get lower rates on financial services like PayPal and checking,
• Limit liability for our Organizers if the IEAA is ever sued,
• Discount mailing rates with the USPS,
• Publish PSAs with local radio and newspapers,
• Apply for grants from cities and other Atheist groups, and of course, becoming a non-profit will mean that our group will continue to use all money donated to support our mission.

RayMiller

Member Spotlight: Ray Miller

Organizer of the Morongo Basin Free Thinkers!

Ray Miller grew up in a Pentecostal Christian household in Texas, going to church Sundays and Wednesday evenings every week. Eventually he started getting in trouble for questioning stories, church doctrine, and other inconsistencies and would only attend when forced by his parents.

Ray has seen society’s treatment of Atheists first hand. After coming out at work he noticed his coworkers treated him very differently.

Eventually Ray came across a meetup in Victorville for Atheists.

“I had no idea that there were groups of Atheists in the highly religious area of the high desert where I live and that is what led me to the IEAA,”

“One of the most profound things about the Atheist community is the diversity. I really enjoy the fact that most people are willing to challenge their assumptions and think outside the box,” said Ray.

“I think the more that we continue to call out the divisive coercion of the public through theocratic methods, the better our world will be, not just for Atheists but for everyone”

Market night 2

Market Night, a Look Back

We spent a summer in Downtown Redlands, Here’s what we learned.
GREG McKINLEY-POWELL 11/15/2013

For the last several months, the IEAA has been hosting an “Ask An Atheist” booth at the Redlands Market Night.
On more than ten evenings over the summer and fall, we’ve set up our booth in one of the most Christian areas in the Inland Empire.
We’ve been yelled at, mocked and debated… but we’ve also been thanked, hugged, and strengthened.
We began hosting Market Night in April, and have kept it up about twice a month. And it’s been a wild ride. Some nights we’d have over 100 people stop by our booth.
When we first started, we just had a picnic table, an easy up and a banner hung in the back. Since then we’ve managed to create one of the nicest looking booths in the whole place, complete with some great shirts, great people, and lots of information.
While hosting Market Night we learned a few things:

1. People are really glad to see us.
2. Proselytizers are like a bear attack: The only way to survive
is to play dead and hope they leave.
3. People are REALLY glad to see us.
4. We need to keep doing this.

For some, our booth is like a light in the dark. We can’t count how many times someone would come up to us, just happy to know that they weren’t alone. And that’s why we do this.

We’ll be hosting our last Market Night of this year on Thursday, Nov. 21. Stop by to see us in action one last time.

Thank you, everyone.
Greg McKinley-Powell

 

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Welcome to the IEAA’s new website

Welcome to the Inland Empire Atheists and Agnostics’ website!

We are the Inland Empire’s oldest and largest group specifically devoted to meeting the needs of the Atheist, Agnostic, and Secular communities.

Please look around this site to learn about our organization, our past and future events, and about the latest secular news.

This new site offers features that meetup and facebook alone can’t, such as background information about our group and our leaders, current files and our organizational structure.

The site also allows for blog publishing and syndication, so that  newsletters and other news can be moved and shared online. The new site also lets members join and donate directly to the IEAA

We hold dozens of events every month, from informative lectures, community engagement, to social and networking.

And we’re also the only completely democratically member run 501(c)(3) non-profit for the Secular community. If you would like to know more about our organization  and how you can become an active participant, please see our about section.

The Inland Empire Atheists and Agnostics is a community for the non-religious. We are good without God