All posts by Greg McKinley

IEAA is now officially a 501(c)(3) non-profit

On Wednesday, July 16th the IEAA received an exemption letter, confirming our groups official non-profit status from the IRS. This letter is the culmination of several month’s hard work dating back to January 2014. Many members dedicated time and energy to the project and we are very proud of this achievement.

By becoming a non-profit, the IEAA is starting a new chapter for secularism in the Inland Empire. With this government recognition the IEAA has a mandate to engage with other local non-profits, local governments and the local community to legitimize and promote Secularism as a valid life stance. Thank you everyone who helped make this possible! IRS Exemption

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.

Market Night is Back!

After a brief winter hiatus our Market Night stall is back in Downtown Redlands for a summer of outreach and education.

Our current booth is set to run on the fourth Thursday of the month for three months, starting April 24 at 6 pm.

We’ll be handing out flyers and answering people’s questions about secularism in an “Ask an Atheist” format. We’ll also promote the Atheist community.

Plans are in the works to increase our presence to two nights a month and to bring our booth to other communities and market nights across the Inland Empire.

If you have a location you think we should table, or would like to volunteer then please let us know!

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

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”

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.