ESFF Speakers Bureau

Do you represent a church? Would you like to find a speaker to defend atheism or an explanation for the secular position on issues like same-sex marriage or abortion? Or perhaps your church embraces liberal theology and you want someone to discuss recovery from fundamentalism, how atheists find meaning, or common values shared by the religious and atheists.

Do you represent a secular organization? Would you like some new ideas at your next meeting?

Are you a reporter who needs a secular viewpoint of something in the news?

Or perhaps you represent a school or service club and would be interested in a presentation on freethought or related ideas.

The Evergreen State Freethought Federation has a speakers bureau to match your needs to a qualified speaker. You’ll find summaries of the available speakers below. To request a speaker or for more information, please contact us at speakers@evergreenfreethought.org.

Valerie Tarico is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings. Raised in a staunch fundamentalist family, Valerie attended Wheaton College, where the Billy Graham Center features a museum about the history of Evangelism in North America. She obtained a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington. She subsequently joined the staff of Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Seattle and ran Children’s Behavior and Learning Clinic in Bellevue, Washington, before moving on to private practice.

For years Valerie practiced “don’t ask, don’t tell” about matters of faith. But as it became clear that the Religious Right was opening a public conversation about Christianity, she decided to join the fray. Her articles are featured at Alternet, TruthOut and ExChristian.net. Her TrustingDoubt Channel on YouTube offers life tips for recovering fundamentalists and hosts two popular series, “God’s Emotions” and “Christian Belief through the Lens of Cognitive Science.” Only one of her brothers thinks that she is actually channeling Satan.

Valerie is actively engaged in interspiritual dialogue that aims to find common ground in humanity’s shared moral core. She is a founder of WisdomCommons.org, an interactive site that allows users to find and discuss information about character virtues that are valued across secular and religious wisdom traditions.

Valerie is interested in speaking on:

  • Recovery from fundamentalism
  • Reproductive rights and technologies (and religious interference with both)
  • The psychology of belief
  • Religious recruiting of children, and how to defend against it
  • Raising good kids without gods

Essays and podcasts can be found at her blog, Away Point.

Valerie prefers speaking opportunities in the Seattle/Tacoma area but would consider events statewide.

Bob Seidensticker has been a repeat guest on the Christian radio programs and podcasts Apologetics.com, CARM, and PleaseConvinceMe.com. He has given public presentations on various aspects of atheism and Christianity to Seattle Atheists (twice), at Seattle University (twice), and at several Meetups. He has been interviewed twice for Moral Politics TV and was a guest on the Ask an Atheist radio show four times.

While flogging his book Future Hype (about technology change, 2006), he made two dozen local presentations (including a plenary conference presentation) and was interviewed over 30 times.

His most recent book, Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey (2011), is a novel in which Christian apologetics (and counter-apologetics) play a dominant role—perhaps a first in fiction. He blogs at Cross Examined.

Bob is interested in speaking on:

  • Christian apologetics—the logical arguments in support of Christianity (and why they aren’t as strong as many Christians think)
  • Counter-apologetics—positive arguments in favor of atheism
  • The impact of Christianity on American society—in particular, homosexuality and gay marriage, abortion, tax-exempt status for churches, and church/state separation

Bob is also interested in formal debates on topics such as “Does God exist?” and “Is abortion moral?”

After living mostly on the east coast, Bob moved with his family to Seattle in 1989 to work for Microsoft. He finished a 25-year career in the computer industry (BS from MIT, 1980) and is now an author. He has lived in Switzerland, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and he makes some awesome brownies.

Bob lives and works in Sammamish. Speaking opportunities in the Seattle/Tacoma area are the most convenient, but he will consider other events.

Barbara Dority has been speaking on behalf of Humanism and Freethought for over 30 years on a wide range of topics. She is also a speaker for the Washington Coalition Against Censorship and the Feminist Anti-Censorship Taskforce. This entails issues of free speech regarding sexually explicit materials, liberated feminism, the politics of sex, the Ethical Slut, and marriage equality. Topics may also be tailored to a given event.

She has spoken to a wide range of groups, from the Humanists of Washington (of which she was President for nearly 25 years), the Humanists of Spokane, and the ACLU, where she served on the Board of Directors for 3 years. She has been a guest on numerous radio shows and seven TV shows (“Good Morning America” and “Town Meeting”). She has spoken at the annual conference of the American Humanist Association a number of times, once presenting an award to Stanley Kramer and once on the topic of “Freethought Activism: An Affair of the Heart.” (This conference was held in California aboard the Queen Mary and she met a lot of new Humanists there.)

She has also written extensively over the years. She wrote both feature articles and a column entitled “Civil Liberties Watch” for the national Humanist magazine for over 15 years and wrote for the Secular Humanist Press for over 30 years. She has written for many other publications, including the Seattle Times, the Seattle PI, and numerous creative writing texts for college students.

She prefers to speak to groups in the Greater Seattle area, but might be willing to travel for the right engagement.

Barbara was raised in a Fundamentalist household—her father was a Fundamentalist minister. She realized she was an Atheist pretty early on, and then realized that she was a Humanist after reading Corliss Lamont’s excellent book, The Philosophy of Humanism. She has a personal passion against the evils of Fundamentalist thinking.

She loves her cats and her birds.

Jim Corbett has been a Humanist and Atheist for more than 40 years despite spending too many formative years in Catholic elementary school and high school. He is a long-time member of the Humanists of North Puget Sound, American Humanist Association, American Atheists and Humanists of Washington. He has published articles in the magazines for the AHA, American Atheists and Humanists of Washington. He has also represented those organizations in public debates against ministers of varying faiths and on panels addressing the topic, “Does God Exist?”

Jim had the privilege of utilizing his background in law librarianship by assisting Michael Newdow in conducting legal research to support the Inauguration Prayer case against U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, a case in which Jim was a co-Plaintiff.

Jim has performed some of his original and parody songs at the AHA annual conference and other Humanist meetings as well. His songs on YouTube have been viewed by Humanists in over 60 countries.  Click below to listen to some of the songs:

Jim has a Masters in Library & Information Science and attended law school. He lives in Edmonds, Washington with his spouse of 28 years and they have two grown children who lead healthy and happy non-theistic lives.

Jim would like to speak on any of the following original topics (or several condensed together):

  • The 5 Stages of Coping with our Mortality
  • The God Gene Revisited
  • A New Argument against the Existence of God: The Argument from Patterns
  • Paul’s Dilemma: The Invention of a New Messiah
  • The Emperor’s New Savior

Greg Myers has a strong background in theology, with an M.Div. from Regents College and additional study at the School of World Missions at Fuller Theological Seminary. Greg has run a street theater troupe, owned his own restaurant, started a web design company, and worked for several high-tech start-ups as Project Manager, Marketing Director and head of QA. In addition to acting, writing and directing for the theater, Greg has had extensive experience speaking in churches, seminars, and corporate training events. He also served on the board of directors for Kansas Citizens for Science, an advocacy group for science education actively involved in combating creationist attempts to derail the state science standards.

Greg wrote the Why Behave blog for three years, which focused on ethics and community from an atheist perspective. He also taught a series of classes in a church setting that explored the evidence for the scientific consensus for the age of the earth and support for evolution. Greg has more than 20 years of experience as a speaker and trainer in the business world.  Greg currently conducts regular corporate training classes, and speaks at area software development conferences.

Speaking topics:

  • Morality and ethics without god
  • Hope, Joy and Community without god
  • Science, the Giant Killer
  • The 8th Mystery: The role of awe, story and recognizing our limitations
  • Upgrade your Reality: Why we all believe things that aren’t true, and what we can do about it

Greg also enjoys making pottery and practicing Tai Chi.

Rebecca Friedman is a language and literacy educator in the Seattle-Tacoma area. She is a producer of the Tacoma-based radio program Ask An Atheist and currently serves as secretary on the board of Humanists of Washington and formerly as secretary of Seattle Atheists. Rebecca was a camp counselor, staff trainer, and program contributor during Camp Quest Northwest’s inaugural camp session in August 2012.

Rebecca enjoys exploring issues in education, including how to discuss religion in a classroom, incorporating science, literacy, and numeracy across curricular disciplines, and how school communities remain respectful of students and employees’ religious preferences and rights while maintaining separation of church and state. Having grown up in a pluralistic Jewish household, she is familiar the context of being a religious minority in a mainly Christian substrate and enjoys talking about the variety of religious belief and practice. She is also available to give presentations in Spanish or bilingually in Spanish and English.