This is a summary of the FFRF Maine meeting at the Curtis Library, Brunswick on September 10, 2016.
Attendees: Tom W.; Tim B.; Nathan G.; Ron L.; Bob S.
Tom reported that Ben Bragdon, Editorial Page editor of the KJ, would not commit to Tom about Tom’s writing a monthly Central Maine web page column on Church-State Separation because he felt the focus was too narrow, especially during an election season. Tom will try to convince him that this FFRF subject matter covers many areas such as abortion rights, LGBT issues, Hobby Lobby, Planned Parenthood cuts, and the “Prayer Caucus”. Tom also contacted Bangor Daily News, which seems to prefer blogs and said that the FFRF blog would not be Maine oriented enough. Tom has a call out to the BDN editor to try to set something up.
Tom and Tim agreed that Tom would attribute his own writing but could mention Tim as an “editor”.
Comments on FFRF Writings
Tom wants to encourage members to comment in support on FFRF columns etc. that appear on the Central Maine website. You can do that by getting a DIQUS account with Central Maine that allows anonymity as to your identity. You can use a code name and you e-mail address is kept confidential. Tom feels such comments would make others take more notice of the group and indicate its popularity. For support comments, Ben Bragdon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments for the two columns written thus far can be obtained by searching in the website such terms as “Wadell-Skowhegan”, “FFRF Maine” or “In Reason We Trust”.
Satanic Temple Fund Raising
Tom and Nathan G. spoke about a Cambridge, MA group called the Satanic Temple. They were founded in Cambridge, MA three years ago, around the same time as FFRF Maine. Despite its name, it is not a Satanist religious group as such, but is an advocacy group of secularists that seeks to “facilitate the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty” (according to its website mission statement). They have set up a number of after school programs and chapters around the country, and have had some success with “crowd funding” where they raised $20,000. Tom thinks we should look into this and other fundraising methods and have an on-line dialog about fundraising.
Need For More Member Participation in Chapter
Bob S. noted that a core group often does most of the work of many groups. Tom noted that an FFRF Maine chapter cannot be run just by the efforts of a couple of people or in a monthly two hour meeting. We need to make the Chapter known. We can’t lobby as part of FFRF, but can get involved in local talks and events, coordinate with other groups such as Maine Atheists & Humanists for speakers, etc. for mutual benefit. Nathan G. agreed to help with more outreach to members. Tom noted that competition with other groups like MAH was never the intent. Other groups are social in nature. Maine FFRF is the only activist group with national support.
Tom noted that a full board is needed. Right now we have just a President and Secretary. Ron L. expressed interest in the Vice President or Treasurer roll. Tom is presently managing our new website but that could be open to participation from others as long as Tom has input.
Actions – Members need to give more input, support articles with comments, and have a dialog on fundraising options and strategies.
The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, October 22nd in the Brunswick Library at 10 AM.