North Texas Church of Freethought
Founded 1994, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Headquarters Dallas, Texas
Key people Tim Gorski, MD, Pastoral Director
Zachary Moore, PhD, Executive Director
The North Texas Church of Freethought (NTCOF) was founded by Tim Gorski, Deborah Boak, Mike Sullivan, and Marilyn Sullivan in 1994 to serve the psychosocial needs of atheists, agnostics, and other non-religious people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.[1][2] The first service was held at the Wilson World hotel in Irving, Texas; when that hotel closed, services were moved to the Holiday Inn DFW Airport North, later renamed the Wyndham DFW Airport North. Sunday School classes are provided for children, and are managed by Deborah Boak.[3]

It was joined a few years later by the Houston Church of Freethought. A Northern California Church of Freethought was founded in 1999, but has since disbanded.[4]

On May 18, 2006, the Texas State Comptroller's office granted tax-exempt status to the NTCOF as a result of actions taken by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who had previously secured tax-exempt status for the Ethical Society of Austin.[5] This status had been previously denied to the NTCOF and other non-traditional churches because they did not profess "a belief in God, or gods, or a higher power."[6]

Because the NTCOF characterizes itself as a church, it has been the subject of mixed opinion by atheist groups; for example, an attempted donation to American Atheists was once rejected,[7] and Paul Kurtz, founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, discouraged the NTCOF founders when they approached him with their idea.[8] However, the Atheist Alliance International in 2000 published a press release defending the NTCOF against perceived media bias from a Dallas-area television news story.[9]

The NTCOF filed an amicus curiae brief in 2004 for Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, supporting Michael Newdow's argument. Dr. Newdow has also founded a secular church, the First Atheist Church of True Science (FACTS).[10]

The NTCOF participated in the inaugural Texas Freethought Convention, held on October 26, 2008 in Austin, Texas.[11] In April 2009, the NTCOF became one of seven founding organizations of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason (DFWCOR)[12], a local umbrella group affiliated with the United Coalition of Reason. In August 2009, the NTCOF sponsored the inaugural Camp Quest Texas, which is a regional affiliate of Camp Quest, and provides a secular alternative to religious-themed summer camps for children.[13][14]

External links


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