Picnic Sign-Up list 2013

Our annual picnic is coming up soon. The picnic will be at the Mohican State Forest, at the North Park Picnic Shelter on Sunday July 21st at Noon.

In order to track what people are bringing to the picnic, please send an email to picnic2013@midohioatheists.org with what you plan to bring.

I think we will have about 75 people show up.  Keep checking back here as I will update the number of people as more people respond.  I will keep the list of items updated as I receive emails also.  Feel free to bring anything you like even if it isn’t on the list or someone else already volunteered that item.

Thanks, Ron.

Things people have already volunteered to bring:

  • Hamburgers & buns
  • Hotdogs & buns
  • Condiments (Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Barbecue Sauce, Mayo, Pickles, etc…..)
  • Potato Salad
  • Fruit Platter
  • Veggie Platter
  • Sweet tea
  • Bowl of Mixed Fruit
  • Chips and dip
  • Pop
  • Pasta Salad
  • Pie
  • Cookies
  • Bottled Water
  • organic Blue Corn tortilla chips and bean dip
  • Watermelon

Things still needed:

  • Charcoal & Lighter Fluid
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Macaroni salad
  • Brats
  • More Desserts (you can never have too many!)
  • Anything else you want to share.

Mid-Ohio Regional Atheist Picnic 2013

Our group is proud to announce the Mid-Ohio Regional Atheist Picnic 2013, sponsored by Mid Ohio Atheists Inc.  Again this year we are inviting groups from all over Ohio to our annual get together at the Mohican State Forest. The general public is also invited to come out and meet some atheists, as long as they are respectful and not trying to proselytize to us.  The picnic will be held on Sunday, July 21st, at noon at the Mohican State Forest.  (MAP)

We have met at the Mohican State Forest four times before and had a great experience each time.  This year though we will meet at the North Park Shelter.  Once you are in the forest, follow the signs to the shelter.  Come rain or shine, we will still have the picnic as the shelter will protect us from the rain.


Again this year we will have a contest that will benefit Harmony House, a homeless shelter in Mansfield. A representative of Harmony House said what they need the most, and what most people don’t think to donate, is toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels. So, the contest winner will be the one that brings the most of those three items.  You can donate other things as well, but the contest will be decided on only the amount of toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels that you bring.  Prizes will be admission to the Great Lakes Atheists Convention in August, tee shirts, buttons, and pens.

This is for a good cause and I hope we can collect lots of these items for Harmony House like we did last year.

Games & Activities

We will have several activities for children and adults, including a corn hole tournament, Frisbee toss, and ladder ball.

Good Conversation

The main reason to go to the picnic is for the company.  We hope to see all of our members there and people from all around the state and beyond.  It’s great to talk with like minded people and so refreshing to have conversations that aren’t stuck at the ‘does god exist’ level.

Public Invited

We also invite the members of the general public who wish to meet atheists.  This is not an invitation to have people come out and proselytize to us but rather a chance to meet with atheists and learn more about our beliefs and see that we are normal people too.


This year we will have five speakers.  It is unusual to have speakers at a picnic but we tried this for the first time last year and it worked out well.  MOA greatly appreciates the following people for volunteering to come to our picnic and sharing some of their wisdom and experiences with us:

  • Frank  Zindler, Director of American Atheists Press will speak on  “Why only atheists can save the world”
  • Rachel  Johnson, student and podcaster will talk on  “Atheist Activism”
  • Dan DeMurra,  Atheist activist and organizer will share his views on “Life Beyond Faith”
  • Douglas  Whaley, OSU professor emeritus, lawyer, LGBT activist, and author will speak about  “What atheism can learn from the LGBT movement”
  • Shauna Strand  Sowga, humanist, will share her experiences in  “How secularism has affected my life”

Good Food

What would a picnic be without good food?  We have already started the list of what foods people have volunteered to bring. Go to our picnic sign-up post and see what others are bringing and send an e-mail to picnic2013@midohioatheists.org with the food(s) you will bring.  Feel free to bring anything you like even if it isn’t on the list or someone else already volunteered that item.

We estimate we will have about 75 people show up.  Keep checking back here as the number of people will be updated as more people respond.  The list of items will be updated as we receive emails also.

Big Plans for the Picnic this Summer

I just came back from the initial planning meeting for the annual picnic this July 21st.  We have many MOA members who are enthusiastic about making this the best picnic yet.

We already have a confirmed speaker and also 2 probable speakers.  There will be games, a charity event with prizes and of course great food.  We plan to advertise the event and make this the place to be in July if you are an atheist in Ohio.

More details to follow so keep checking back.

Another awesome free e-book

John W. Loftus has made available free for download the companion book to Why I Became an Atheist.  Here are the titles of some of the chapters to give you a feel of the book-

  • Where’s The Beef? And Where’s the Evidence?
  • The Argument From the Scale of the Universe.
  • The Fall of Adam Is No Answer to Evil
  • Can Prayer Change the Past?
  • Two Problems with Calvinism
  • Preterism: an Admission Jesus Failed to Return
  • The History of Christianity Debunks Itself
  • Christians are Fearful of Doubting
  • Pascal’s Wager Revisited

The book is being offered for free but why not spread the wealth and give him a donation while your at it.  You can get the e-book here.

What are the chances for religions growing in the future?

Not very good, according to psychologist Valerie Tarico,  She sees religions being doomed due to six factors, all related to the internet.

The dogmas of religions are able to survive in the face of the truths found in the secular world because religions shield their adherents from outside information.  The internet is changing all that by bypassing religious leaders and parents and going straight to the individual, young or old.

You can read her blog enter here.

Darwin Day Celebration Evolves into a Great Event

The Darwin Day Celebration went very well.  Our speaker, author Mary Anne Farah, was able to be at the meetup despite a very bad snow storm in Ontario Canada.  She left early Friday to go to a meetup in Toledo and was stopped by the storm only a half hour from her home.  She couldn’t even get back to her home at that point and had to get a hotel room for the night.  Luckily she was able to continue to Toledo on Saturday where she was a speaker at the Great Lakes Atheists Darwin Day event.  Mary Anne then came to Mansfield today and was early for our event.

H.M.S. BeagleOur event started with me giving a brief opening.  Then Drenn Workman, Mid Ohio Atheists Vice President, gave a presentation on the life of Darwin and his voyage of discovery to South America aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, a survey vessel.  The presentation also covered the Theory of Evolution that Darwin wrote about in his seminal work, On the Origin of Species.




HMS Beagle

imageThe next speaker was Mary Anne who presented her e-book, Pepper’s Special Wings.  Mary Anne said she thought the evolution of the peppered moth species in England would be the perfect subject for a children’s book explaining how evolution through natural selection works.

Pepper’s Special Wings is about a peppered moth aptly named Pepper that was darker than her friends, who were mostly white with small flecks of black.  There were a lot more light colored moths than dark ones.  Mary Anne asked for volunteers from the audience to help count the moths on the white birch tree.  Two children came up and it was easy for them to find the dark colored moth but not so easy to find the white moths.

In the story, Pepper had to be very careful to hide from hungry birds because she was so easily seen whereas her white friends didn’t have to be so careful since they were harder to see on the white birch bark.

The story goes on to describe how industry moved close by where the moths lived and soot from the air pollution the factories produced had turned the trees to a much darker color.  Now it was easy for Pepper to hide from the hungry birds but not so easy for her friends.  Pepper went on to have lots of babies so that eventually the forest was full of dark moths like Pepper.

I thought it was a great learning experience for the kids and they seemed to really enjoy the story.

I am sure we will have more events like this in the future since this was so enjoyable.  Mary Anne was a great speaker and I would recommend her to anyone.  I want to thank her for coming all the way from Canada to Mansfield.  I also wish to thank Drenn Workman for presenting and Barbara Williams for letting us borrow her projector.  Special thanks goes to Marisa Hills for planning and coordinating the event.

The Bad News about the Good News Club

Scott Burdick has released a new video on Youtube on a group called The Good News Club that is trying to spread Evangelical Christianity in our public schools.


Sophia Investigates The Good News Club

 This club has the backing of the Supreme Court who, in a 6 to 3 decision, said the club has the right to meet in public schools after hours.

The issue is that the leaders of these meetings are teaching the kids who attend to push their beliefs onto their classmates during the school day when your kids are required to be there. 

If you are an atheist parent, your child is being converted to fundamentalist Christianity by their classmates. This can be going on without your permission, or even knowledge. If your school district has one of these clubs, you should understand what is going on at your child’s school.

Darwin Day Celebration


Mid Ohio Atheists will be holding an educational event on February 10th for elementary school children in the Mansfield area.   The event will be held at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center, 116 Park Ave. West in Mansfield at 3 PM.

Canadian author Mary Anne Farah will read her children’s e-book, Pepper’s Special Wings – A Story About Natural Selection.  Children will see how Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory works, using words and colorful artwork they can understand.  Children will also see that sometimes being different is what makes them amazing!

Next will be a presentation on Evolution and the life of Charles Darwin given by Mid Ohio Atheists Director and Vice President Drenn Workman.

The event is free to attend and there will be door prizes and light refreshments.

Here is a flyer you can print out and share- darwinday2013

There will be door prizes including books on evolution for children.  Two of Daniels Loxton’s book Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be will be given away.

Picnic Sneaking Up on Us and an Exciting Announcement

The Regional Atheist Picnic 2012 sponsored by Mid Ohio Atheists is coming up this Sunday, July 15th at 11 AM..  That is only part of the good news.  The other part is that JT Eberhard, a well known atheist organizer, blogger, speaker, and debater, will be speaking at the picnic about building communities and networking for nonbelievers.  He has promised to stick around for the rest of the picnic too.

One other new thing we are going to try this year is to invite the public to come and meet some atheists.  In the press release I sent out last week I also made it clear that this is an invitation to meet us, not debate or argue.  I’m sure our invited guests will be on their best behavior, but if not, any situation that gets out of control will be quickly handled.

This goes to our mission of being an educational organization.  We hope to educate the public that atheists are people too, that we don’t have horns.  That when we bring our kids to a picnic, they are not there to be part of the menu.  😉

Here is the press release about the picnic-

Public invited to Regional Atheist Picnic

Atheists hold Contest to benefit Homeless Shelter

Mansfield, OH, July 2, 2012:  Mid Ohio Atheists (MOA) has announced they are sponsoring a Regional Atheist Picnic which will be held on July 15th at the Mohican State Park near Loudonville.  MOA president Ron Stephens said the event will be held at the picnic area by the covered bridge at 11:00 AM.   Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to come out and meet area atheists.

MOA asks the public to remember that while the public is encouraged to attend and meet their members, this is not the setting for arguments or debates.  The picnic is intended as a family event for atheists, freethinkers, and nonbelievers, and a chance for local religious leaders and believers to come out and see that nonbelievers are not much different than believers.

The picnic will include a contest to benefit Harmony House, a homeless shelter in Mansfield.  The contest will be judged on who brings the most toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels for donation to Harmony House.  These items are the ones most people don’t think to donate but are some of the things that are greatly needed.  Prizes will be awarded for first and second place.

Secular Student Alliance campus organizer JT Eberhard, who is well known in the atheist and freethinker community as a blogger, speaker, and debater, will be speaking to attendees about community building and networking for nonbelievers. There will also be several activities for children and adults, including corn hole, volleyball and ladder ball.

Members of many surrounding groups such as the Cleveland Freethinkers, Cleveland Skeptics, Great Lakes Atheists, Recovering from Religion Toledo Chapter, and Humanist Community of Central Ohio will be in attendance at the picnic.

Mid Ohio Atheists is actively building an atheist community in the Mansfield area by having social activities for members.  Pub nights and movie nights are regularly scheduled events, a Mohican River canoe adventure is being planned for August, and a trip to the Creation Museum will be in September.

The group can be reached at midohioatheists@gmail.com or their website at midohioatheists.org

The original blog entry where you can get more information on what to bring is HERE.

Don’t forget the contest, the proceeds of which go to help local homeless families who certainly need a helping hand.

I also want to emphasize that this year we have a nearby shelter reserved in case of rain.  So, come rain or shine, the picnic will go on.

Horrible accusation levied against Atheists

Recently in the Mansfield News Journal an opinion letter about the Mid Ohio Atheists was submitted and printed.  While the author of this letter, W. Willy Allen of Bellville Ohio (I like to pretend the first W stands for Wild), shows throughout his letter that he lacks the ability to understand some of the most simple concepts– well there is only one thing in his letter I really feel needs to be addressed.

W. Willy Allen said
“Every so often in Richland County the local atheists come to the surface. They have popped up twice in recent months. Like Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, they pop to the surface. They’re cute, but not cuddly.”

I sir, will not stand for this slight against my Atheist brothers and sisters!  How dare you imply that we are not cuddly!  While I’m sure Wild, as I will refer to him from this point forward, was probably unaware but June 1st, just two days before the publishing of his letter was National Hug an Atheist day.  Everyone knows that atheists are by far the most cuddly people on the planet.

Some of our Cuddly Atheist friends at the University of Minnesota


Atheist Blogging superstar PZ Myers! Notice how cuddly?

I do want to thank Wild for, well, a wild idea.  He has inspired me to write a new series here at our blog.  Often as Atheists we are accused of so much.  Having no morals, being evil, not understanding the Bible, not having been raised properly, or just hating god.  Well the only way to dispel these ideas is to introduce you to some of our members.  Starting in the next couple of weeks I will be posting about some of our members, who they are and what they do– when they aren’t– well you know–  being atheists.

Now I realize that any evidence or ‘proof’ that the members of our group are not evil people bent on the destruction of Christianity and America is likely to be ignored so that faith can be preserved by many who will read those blogs.  Just know that I’m ok with that.  I’m not here to turn you into an Atheist.  I will happily settle for a few less hateful Christians.