Toni Van Pelt’s Florida Speaking Tour

October 13, 2008

CFI Director Presents ‘The Dangers of Freethinking Women’ During Florida Tour
Second Talk and Radio Spots Focus on Promoting Science & Reason in Law and Policy
 Amherst, New York (Oct. 10, 2008)—Toni Van Pelt, director of the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy, will undertake a speaking tour of Florida during the next two weeks, presenting two separate talks in 10 venues, and interviewing for two live radio shows.
With only a few weeks left before the Presidential Election, Van Pelt will present "The Dangers of Freethinking Women," with emphasis on the struggle for women’s suffrage in the United States to the call for Equal Rights in the U.S. Constitution in our current era. Focus will be on the brave women of the times— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emma Goldman, Ernestine Rose, Jessie Ackermann, Matilda Joslyn Gage, to name a few—who struggled fiercely against religious oppression to ultimately secure political and civil rights for all women. The title of her talk was inspired by an Inquisition-era church publication, "Malleus Maleficarum," or "The Witches’ Hammer," which indoctrinated the world to "the dangers of freethinking women," including female scholars, priestesses, nature lovers, and midwives who eased the childbirth suffering believed to be God’s rightful punishment of the female descendants of Eve, and instructed the clergy how to locate, torture, and destroy them.

Ms. Van Pelt will also give a second series of talks while in the Sunshine State, titled "CFI’s Office of Public Policy: Promoting Science & Reason in Law and Policy," focusing on the national work the D.C. branch of CFI has accomplished in its first two years in the nation’s capitol. Despite the success of science and technology in providing us with unparalleled benefits, religious fundamentalists and some postmodernists seek to inhibit free inquiry. This is a highly charged political issue, because both science and secularism are under attack.  While a number of organizations lobby and work to defend science politically, Van Pelt will show why so far no organization has worked to defend science and free inquiry more than the Center for Inquiry.

Ms. Van Pelt's upcoming speaking engagements will occur on:

· Naples, 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13 at Empire China restaurant, 2085 9th Street North, "Promoting Science & Reason in Law and Policy."  please contact Toni Van Pelt at (727) 278-8446 or  for more information.
· Daytona Beach, noon Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Red Lobster, 2735 N. Atlantic Ave, "The Dangers of Freethinking Women."  Please contact Bob Stevenson at (386) 671-1921 or for more information. 
· Orlando, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 in Reeves Lodge, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave, Winter Park, hosted by the Rollins College Campus Freethought Alliance, "The Dangers of Freethinking Women."  Please contact Shakirra Meghjee at (407) 619-5470 or for more information.
· Orlando, 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 17 at University of Central Florida, Campus Freethought Alliance, UCF Math & Physics Building, Room 405, "The Dangers of Freethinking Women."  Please contact Max Jackson at 407-760-2650 or  for more information.
· Tampa, 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 18 at CFI-Tampa, in the Bridgeport Center, 5201 West Kennedy Blvd., Ste. 124, "Promoting Science & Reason in Law and Policy."  Please contact (813) 849-7571 or for more information.
· Tallahassee, 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21 at Leroy Collins Public Library 200 West Park Ave. "The Dangers of Freethinking Women."  Please contact Mimi at or (850) 386-2813 for more information. 
· Gainesville, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22 at the University of Florida, hosted by the Gator Freethought Alliance, "The Dangers of Freethinking Women." Please contact Chris Mueller at (407) 247-9872 or for more information.
· Tampa, 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 at the Marshal Center, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Univ. of South Florida, "The Dangers of Freethinking Women."  Please contact Rachel Vistein at (941) 525-0168 or

Toni Van Pelt is the director of the Center for Inquiry-Office of Public Policy, centered in Washington, D.C. Prior to her reassignment to Washington, she was the first executive director for the Center for Inquiry-Florida. In her former role as the president of Florida National Organization for Women, she lobbied the Federal and Florida Legislature, helping to write and establish new law in the state. She is a veteran of Congressional and state political campaigns working for candidates as well as on issues.

While on the road, Ms. Van Pelt will accept invitations to interview for several live radio broadcasts, including:
· WELE-AM 1380, Orlando and Daytona Beach, from 4:15-5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15.
· WMNF-FM 88.5 (NPR Station), Tampa/St. Petersburg, from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please call Toni Van Pelt at (727) 278-8446, or e-mail her at .