What is freethought?
“Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic and reason and should not be influenced by authority, tradition or any other dogma.”
Cal, I don’t believe you fully grasp the definition of freethought, or what a freethinker is. Freethought does NOT necessarily mean atheism. A person can be a freethinker and still believe in god and we have many members who believe this way. They would be classified as deists, a belief system held by many of our founding fathers. We also have agnostics in our group, secular humanists, a few neo-pagans/pantheists and, yes, some atheists.
The Fayette Freethought Society was founded in 2009 for those in the rural areas of Georgia who hold a secular worldview and who would like to meet socially with other freethinking people. Myself, along with two other individuals (not Mr. Stefanelli), founded the group and it has grown steadily over the past 2 years. We are parents, grandparents, teachers, nurses, students, and families who also live here and we volunteer in our community, in our schools, some of us give blood, or walk dogs for the Humane Society, we pick up trash along the highway, we meet socially for dinner and lunch, host holiday parties and movie nights, play trivia at Mellow Mushroom, and even prepared chili at the Civitan Chili Cookoff this year and rowed a Dragon Boat in the 2010 race on Lake Peachtree. In all honesty, we don’t see how this can be perceived as being “militant.” Cal, is it possible that you are just feeling uncomfortable about non-Christians in our community, now that the secular population has decided to come out of the closet? We are proud to be part of this community. And it is appalling that the Editor of our only local newspaper would stoop so low as to incite hate and fear towards one of our members, Leonard Presberg, and our group as a whole. Should there be a religious, or political, litmus test given to future school board members and local politicians? Are you the one to administer that test and print the results in your paper? It seems as though this is what you have done to Leonard Presberg.
In a 2010 article, Gallup noted the increasing number of Americans with no religious affiliation (16%). It is very possible that 16% of our community is also non-religious, or non-Christian. And some of them will eventually end up on the school board or as an elected official, or maybe even as our mayor. We all want the same things, Cal, to preserve the beauty of our community, our excellent school system and our quality of life here. That is our only agenda.
(A great book to read, that offers an insightful history of freethought is, “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism”, by Susan Jacoby)
Julie Williams, Founder
Denise Roddy Martin, Co-founder