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2004 TAAC Showcases Both Workshops and Excitement: Newdow, Van Orden featured

October 10, 2004

Convening the weekend of Friday, October 8, through Sunday, October 10, the 2004 Texas Atheist and Agnostic Conference, hosted by the Atheist Community of Austin at the Holiday Inn-Town Lake, was widely viewed by attendees as a rousing success. As the highlight of the event, Michael Newdow detailed his experiences challenging the "Under God" addition to the Pledge of Allegiance in his keynote address in an emotionally engaging, fast-paced rapid-fire style laced with jokes and even songs, some of which are also available at his website. After having his challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance denied by the US Supreme Court for reasons of standing, Newdow now plans to represent other families making the same challenge in every Federal Circuit Court in the nation.

Earlier on Saturday, Newdow had appeared as a guest on Jeff Dee, Russell Glasser and Dennis Loubetís internet-audio show The Non-Prophets, along with several other conference speakers. The internet-audio show team combined interviews with news and technical information on how to produce a show like theirs in front of a studio audience.

On Sunday morning, local attorney Thomas Van Orden indicated that the US Supreme Courtís certiori decision on his suit challenging the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas Capitol grounds in Austin would be available Tuesday morning at the Supreme Court's website. Should cert be granted, Van Orden expects to win 6-3.

The Atheist Community of Austin gave donations to both Newdow and Van Orden to help them continue their state-church separation efforts.

Envisioned as an annual working conference to leverage the experience of different Texas groups in support of each otherís growth, attendees to this yearís gathering learned details of website development, internet-audio show production, and public-access television-show creation. They also heard experiences from each otherís groups as well as listened to informative and often entertaining presentations. At a meeting Saturday night, it was decided to return to Austin for next yearís conference. This year was its first annual.

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