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FFRF Valley of the Sun Chapter Meeting

9:00am        Breakfast & networking

9:30-ish      Welcome remarks & speaker introduction

1) Main Speaker: VSUN Member Bruce Ratcliff  - “THE GIDEON’S BIBLE:  HOW CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS THINK AND OPERATE”  (and he also has ideas to “Fight Back!”)         

2) Brief Update: VSUN Member Matt Schoenley – “SECULAR COALITION FOR ARIZONA’S 1st YEAR”

Closing remarks

The meeting should last approximately 2 hours. 

We hope to see you there!


Bruce Ratcliff was born into a strongly active Protestant Christian tradition in rural Iowa .  As a child, he attended church at least twice weekly. The family had daily devotions plus prayer at all meals. Bruce also attended Sunday School, Summer Bible School , and a weekly youth group.  In his early youth he was exposed to many Billy Graham evangelistic films, revival meetings, and gospel music events. Bruce became a “born again” Christian at Quaker Heights summer church camp in his 8th grade year.  While in college, he worked as a paid church choir director. He met his wife, Dolores, while directing a Baptist church choir. As a senior, he was president of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship - an evangelical campus group.

In the following 30 some years, Bruce became a High School teacher but nearly always also had a salaried position as a church minister of music or choir director -- generally in mainline churches.  Bruce’s Christianity became more liberal as the years passed. Meanwhile, some of his relatives were evolving into hard-core fundamentalists, known to Bruce’s children as “Baptists from Hell.” Among these relatives is brother-in-law Bob, The Gideon. Bruce resigned his church membership in 2008 and became a member of the Humanist Society in 2009.

The current presentation, THE GIDEON’S BIBLE:  HOW CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS THINK AND OPERATE is intended to provide the audience with insight gained from Bruce’s experience from inside both fundamentalist and moderate-liberal Christian communities

Matt Schoenley is Chair & Executive Director of Secular Coalition for Arizona (SC Arizona) - the legislative voice and lobby of the Arizona nontheistic community to the Arizona Legislature and government, and is the very first State Affiliate of the Secular Coalition for America in Washington D.C.

At the cashier, tell him/her you are with the Freedom From Religion meeting. We have the back room reserved. You may partake in the “all you can eat” buffet breakfast for the special negotiated price of $8.50. (You must say you are with the FFRF group or will not get this discounted price.) Or if you prefer to skip the meal, tell them you are just attending the program, not eating, and they will gladly point you to our room.

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  • Anne M.

    Great meeting. Our community has many views and is not just one-dimensional. I love this group!

    August 8, 2011

  • David S

    I enjoyed the opportunity to network and interact with like-minded members of the community. The presentations and discussions were (and are) thought-provoking and informative. Keep 'em coming! (Thanks too, Anne, for keeping the discussions focused and relatively on-topic!)

    August 8, 2011

  • Donna (& Al) E.

    Thought the meeting was interesting. I had NO idea what the Gideons did and thought the information about them was very interesting. I will copy the paper and keep it and take it when we travel.....I've always felt that it was dumb that every room had those Bibles, and had NO idea that they were "SPECIAL" Bibles! I also loved the report from Secular Coalition for America...and glad to know there is more work going on....

    August 8, 2011

  • Anne M.

    Wendy - you might post here about your general area in Mesa and maybe someone will pick you up. We have attendees from all over the valley so you might get lucky. Hope u can make it!

    July 3, 2011

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