From the president

From the president

Ellen Johnson

Thank you, All!

The officers, board of directors and staff of the American Atheist Center wish to thank you all for your continued support over the past year. We especially want to thank all of you who sent us Solstice greeting cards to brighten our walls and cheer us with your good wishes.

We Have It All!

On Friday, December 13, we received the best Solstice present ever, the rest of the contents of the Charles E. Stevens Library that was in storage since before 1 1995. Back then it was packed in preparation for the sale of the old GHQ and its relocation to somewhere in the northeast US. We received roughly 400 boxes of books and archival materials that had been in storage.

Of course, Santa Clause didn’t bring the library to New Jersey. AA board officer Dick Hogan oversaw the move of the books and other materials onto the 18 wheeler truck which then travelled by rail to Cranford, New Jersey. He travelled out of state to do that. Ron Barrier made all the arrangements with the trucking company for us, saving us lots of time in that endeavor.

As you can see from the photos, we have built the glass rooms that will house the CESAALA. The walls afford protection, while at the same time allowing for perfect viewing of the magnificent collection by any and all visitors.

The dry fire-suppression is also now in place. In case of fire, the dry fire-suppression system will stop the fire before the water sprinkler system has a chance to activate. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

The next task will be to catalogue and shelve the huge amount of materials. It will be a daunting task, but we are definitely ready to meet the challenge.

Margie Wait our AACHAT moderator who is also a librarian will be moving to New Jersey to volunteer as the CESAALA librarian and we are very excited about that. We will continue to keep you informed about the progress of the CESAALA.

Ellen Johnson Speaks at Coe College in Iowa

On November 19, I was the guest speaker for Coe College’s “Issue Dinner” program. I was asked to speak about the recent Pledge of Allegiance decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The “Issue Dinner” is part of the school curriculum and a required lecture for all students who must attend one of them as a requirement for graduation. More students signed up for my talk than they could accommodate. Having read the entire Ninth Circuit Court decision, I was quite prepared to explain why it was a good legal decision. I highly recommend that anyone interested in understanding Establishment Clause case law read the decision. Well, either everyone in attendance already agreed with the decision, or they were in agreement with it after my talk, because they didn’t disagree with me. Actually, their questions were about everything else but the decision.

Overall it was a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with students and faculty from Iowa.

Two Cases That Almost Were

Utah Legal Clinic attorney Brian Barnard contacted American Atheists and asked us if we would be a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city of Roy, Utah if they refused to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn of the Roy Municipal Building. Yes, we would definitely do it. Well, after being contacted by Brian about the unconstitutional placement of the monument, the town agreed to move it. A lawsuit never had to be filed.

Brian then asked if we would again agree to be a plaintiff if a lawsuit was needed to get Murray City, Utah officials to remove their Ten Commandments monument which came from the Eagles. And once again, the lawsuit wasn’t necessary because the Murray City officials agreed to give the monument back to the Eagles.

Brian is responsible for the removal of six of nine Eagles’ Ten Commandments monuments in various cities in Utah. Congratulations Brian!

Bart C. Meltzer

American Atheists New Director of State And Regional Operations

We are proud to announce the appointment of Bart C. Meltzer as American Atheists new Director of State and Regional Operations. He will be succeeding Neal Cary who held this position under a different title. We thank Neal for his many years of dedicated service to this position, building it up to the prominent level it is at today.

Bart Meltzer has been a member of American Atheists since November 1999 when he became very active in state-church separation activism in the Phoenix, Arizona area with Arizona State Director Monty Gaither. He wrote that state’s monthly AA Newsletter, arranged the monthly meetings and sponsored The Atheist Viewpoint cable access TV program. He was also very active with protests and testifying against proposed legislation mandating the displays of “In God We Trust” in the public schools in every school in Arizona. The legislation was defeated. Bart retired from the Navy after serving for twenty years as a flight engineer. He is currently a flight instructor in New Jersey where he is originally from.

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