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July 12, 2012
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Workshops, speakers featured at the Colorado Secular Conference

You don't have to be a church-goer to do good. That may seem obvious, yet Jesse Bond and Velvet Johnson founded a group called Humanists Doing Good, in part, to offer those who are non-religious to find ways to do good deeds, while finding fellowship."Humanists promote equal rights and separation of church and state," Bond said. The local group is a chapter of the American Humanists Association. Founded in September, the organization has a mailing list of 70, and about 30 active members."There are three main things we focus on," Bond said. "One, we volunteer good deeds; two, we promote a sense of fellowship and community for the non-religious; and three, we promote secular education and activism."Group members have participated in roadside clean-ups; painting the C.L.A.W.S. cat rescue building; and cleaning up an area along the shore where the Gunnison and Colorado rivers converge. Members have also raked yards for people for free.Humanists Doing Good range in age from 13 to 80, a fact of which Bond said he is most proud.Good deeds, along with a monthly social gathering and educational event, translate into almost weekly activity, Bond said. "We were largely hearing from people who wanted to do good deeds for the sake of doing good. There were a lot of non-religious people who were going to church who didn't want to give up volunteer opportunities or the social aspects," of church-going, Bond said, explaining the reason for forming Humanists Doing Good.The group is hosting the Colorado Secular Conference Saturday, July 21 in Grand Junction at Colorado Mesa University Ballroom, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The conference is sponsored by the Colorado Coalition of Reason.Kelly Damerow of the Secular Coalition of America in Washington, D.C. will give a talk titled "Ignorance Becomes Intolerance: The Truth about Religious Liberty." Damerow will talk about how widespread misinformation about the rights and limits of religious liberty is breeding a new form of religious intolerance.Kathleen Hynes of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado will speak about the Patriot Act and its impact on civil rights and liberties.The afternoon will also include a workshop/seminar on issues relating to secular groups led by Michael Werner of United Coalition of Reason.Two pairs of tickets will be raffled off at the conference for a performance by comedian and political commentator Bill Maher at Pikes Peak Center in Denver."The goal (of the conference) is to come together, network, learn and make new friends and establish working relationships with one another," Bond said. For more information or to register for the free conference, visit

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 12, 2012 03:59PM Published Jul 12, 2012 03:58PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.