There were diverse vendors present at the 8th Annual Panhandle Earth Day Celebration held on April 30th, 2016 at Morgan’s Grove Park in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. One of the booths in attendance was the Mountain State Free Thinkers, a staple to the Earth Day Celebration. The group meets locally at the Rumsey Tavern in the Clarion Inn in Shepherdstown, WV. They are a community of Humanists, Atheists, Freethinkers, and other secular affiliations.
Chris Lovelace introduced himself as the current organizer for the group. “We are here each year. This has to be our fourth of fifth year.” Chris described the group as a place for people to meet and have discussions.
Chris joined the Mountain State Free thinkers after going to an event in Washington D.C. The event was called the Reason Rally. The event is being organized this year on June 4, 2016:
Basically it was a gathering of secular people. Humanists, atheists, agnostics; people who support separating church and state. Not all are anti-religious, some are, but most people are not. My wife and I went and thought it was really cool. They are people who share our ideas. We found a group in Hagerstown, The Hagerstown Area Free Thinkers, and then from there we found out about the Mountain State Free Thinkers.
Chris emphasized that the Mountain State Free Thinkers is welcoming to anyone interested in the group. “As long as you do not come trying to proselytize to us, if you are Christian, totally welcome. Come with an open mind and a willingness to have a conversation, that’s what we want.”
The table was full of humanist swag: key chains, bookmarks, and buttons that say “Good without God”; magazines by the name of The Humanist and Compassion and Choices. The pamphlet that caught my eye was the Top 10 Public School State Church Violations and how to Stop Them.
The group is affiliated with the American Humanist Association a non-profit advocacy group who claim to “strive to bring about a progressive society where being good without a god is an accepted and respected way to live life.” Another group affiliation is the Council for Secular Humanism who define themselves as a “comprehensive, nonreligious life-stance incorporating a naturalistic philosophy, a cosmic outlook rooted in science, and a consequentialist ethical system.”
Learn more about this group at their Meetup Website.
Photo Credits: Nicholas Trietsch