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California Freethought Day

Sunday, October 13, 2019

California State Capitol Building

Authors' and Podcasters' Panel

The following details are still being updated from our prior year and may be changed.

Our authors and podcasters will be assembled together at Freethought Day with their books and other goodies ready to sign and sell, so bring some cash (or credit cards) to buy their books!

Shortly after 1:00 PM, our authors and podcasters will take the stage for a lively Q&A session about topics fun and serious. What will you ask them?

Are you an Author?

Authors and podcast hosts from all over are encouraged to join us at Freethought Day. If you're an author or podcast host and want to join us, please let us know or register online for your table space. (It's free.)

Want to buy their books?

Make it easy by pre-purchasing authors' books when you register online. We'll have your book(s) waiting for you at our registration table for pickup. Or, you can buy books at the event while supplies last.

Ryan Bell, Author, Podcaster

Ryan BellIn 2013 Ryan Bell left a 19-year career as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor due to theological and practical differences with the denomination and his own changing beliefs. In 2014 Ryan launched a blog called A Year Without God which chronicled his experience of leaving his faith behind and living for a year as an atheist. A Year Without God has been covered by CNN, the BBC, The Los Angeles Times, NPR and the Huffington Post, among others.

Ryan is currently the National Organizing Manager at Secular Student Alliance and an educator, writer, and speaker on the topic of religion, irreligion, and humanism in America. He is also the founder of Life After God and the host of the Life After God podcast, which you can find at

This year, Ryan will be facilitating the Authors' and Podcasters' panel.

Thomas Westbrook, Holy Koolaid

Thomas WestbrookRaised as a missionary kid in a former Soviet, Muslim country, it wasn’t until Thomas moved back to the US for college that he fell in love with science and left religion behind. His love of science and frustration with harmful pseudoscience and with religious cult tactics led him to found Holy Koolaid LLC – an anti-cult organization that creates laser-focused animated science videos debunking woo.

Thomas is also the host of a science and big idea podcast called The Here and How with co-hosts Steven Woodford (Rationality Rules) and Rachel Oates. He’s on the Board of the Atheist Community of Tulsa and is the marketing chair for the Faithless Forum Conference (the first conference organized entirely by atheist YouTubers). 

His channel, Holy Koolaid, has over 50,000 subscribers, averages over 300,000 monthly views, and has been featured on Cognitive Dissonance, The Thinking Atheist, The Ra-Men, and The Friendly Atheist.

Follow him on Twitter @HolyKoolaid.

Becky Friedman, Ask an Atheist

Rebecca FriedmanBecky has been a host and assistant producer for the long-running weekly radio program Ask An Atheist With Sam Mulvey for 6 years, has served as a volunteer leader for Camp Quest NorthWest since its inaugural summer in areas of programming, staff leadership, and cabin counseloring, and is the secretary of Humanists of Washington. 

Most recently, Becky joined her partner Sam and one other in forming the board of Tacoma's newest low-power FM radio station, KTQA-LP 95.3 FM, a nonprofit community radio station guided by Humanist principles. 

Becky is also a National Board Certified public school educator living in Tacoma, Washington, where she teaches Spanish and English language learners in the greater Seattle area. 

Follow the show on Twitter @AskAnAtheistWA

ɘlbe spurling, author of The Brick Bible

ɘlbe spurlingElbe is an atheist and renowned Bible illustrator. She is the creator of The Brick Bible, where for a dozen years she has been working to illustrate the entire Bible using only LEGOŽ bricks. Her illustrations have been featured in Time, People, Rolling Stone, SPIN, and Entertainment Weekly, and on CBS News Sunday Morning, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  

Elbe's approach to illustrating the Bible has won her fans from across the spectrum of belief from atheists and freethinkers to creationists and clergy. Her presentation is notable not just for its artistry and meticulous attention to detail, but for its uniquely straightforward and frank approach to the Bible's content, paying as much attention to the 90% of the Bible not covered in church as to the 10% that is.

Elbe's work is beautifully showcased in a new two-book box set, The Brick Bible: The Complete Set. Spurling has also created a five-book series of Bible picture book stories for kids, and has most recently illustrated the Brick Book of Mormon.

Follow Elbe's work on Facebook and Twitter (@BrickTestament).

Rebecca Hensler, Grief Beyond Belief

Rebecca HenslerFollowing the death of her infant son, Rebecca Hensler discovered that most grief support groups are dominated by religion and spiritualism. Alienated by talk of angels, heaven and signs, she conceived an alternative free of mythology and mysticism.

In 2011, Rebecca founded Grief Beyond Belief, a community devoted to faith-free grief support. Since then, the project has grown to include a peer-to-peer online support group, a website, and secular grief-support workshops conducted at secular events and organizations nationwide.

Rebecca's ebook teaching community organizers how to provide grief support in their freethought communities will be published this Fall.

William Bakeman, author of Unimpeachable Verdict

William BakemanWilliam has been a trial attorney in California for 40 years, a Deputy District Attorney, public defender, criminal defense attorney, and personal injury attorney.

He has the distinction of being a skeptic and also a former Baptist seminarian, preacher, evangelist, Bible teacher, and jail chaplain. His background is uniquely fitting to perform an objective, informed, insightful, and incisive forensic analysis of the Bible’s credibility. 

Unimpeachable Verdict is the first book to, among other things, present a convincing argument that Jesus was gay, cutting no corners to deliver the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, no matter whom it may antagonize.