Toni Van Pelt’s Pennsylvania and Ohio Speaking Tour

October 27, 2008

In addition to working on the national scene, Toni Van Pelt, Government Affairs Director for the Office of Public Policy, also works on the state level. She is now on a speaking tour in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Ms. Van Pelt will present two separate talks. One is “The Dangers of Freethinking Women,” from 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. The focus will be on the brave women of the times— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Louise Aston, Ernestine Rose, Barbara Leigh Smith —who struggled fiercely against religious oppression to secure political and civil rights for all women. The title of Van Pelt’s 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 present “CFI’s Office of Public Policy: Promoting Science and Reason in Law and Policy,” focusing on the national political work of CFI’s Office of Public Policy. 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 itinerary in Pennsylvania and Ohio:

Monday 27 October, 7:00 PM. Porter Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA. More information at

Tuesday 28 October, 7:00 PM. Kilcawley Center (Ohio Room), Youngstown State University, Youngstown OH

Wednsday 29 October, 7:00 PM. Strosacker Auditorium, Case Quad, 2125 Adelbert Rd., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH. More information at

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