This meeting, which was sponsored by the UUSS Public Forum (rather than HAGSA) and held in the UUSS auditorium, was the most successful and enjoyable meeting in a very long time. Most of the planning was done by HAGSA.
Dan was a great draw and did not disappoint the audience. He is an accomplished musician and has had a rather interesting religious odyssey. As a teenager and as a young man, he was an active evangelical Christian, trained for the ministry, and served as a pastor. As a musician, he gave many performances and made many recordings of Christian music. However, he tried some dangerous outside reading and over a period of about five years, became an atheist. He went public with that and is currently co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Ken Helms, a retired UUA minister, introduced Dan Barker. Dan began by singing some of his songs while playing on the piano. They included “Beware of Dogma,” “You Can’t Win With Original Sin” and “Nothing Fails Like Prayer.” He then talked about his career as a Christian evangelist musician. While in his early 30s, he met with liberal Christians and received from them a different perspective from his black and white fundamentalist worldview. He began to do outside reading that cast doubt on his fundamentalist beliefs, and a few years later finally decided to reject religious belief altogether and to leave the ministry. He notified his family and his associates of his decision. His parents lost their faith but his decision did lead to a breakup of his marriage. He has since married Anne Laurie Gaylor.
There was the usual question and answer period. During that period, Dan announced that the 2006 National FFRF Convention will be held in San Francisco, at the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway Hotel, from October 6 to 8.
Report prepared by Wayne Luney, Recorder