The symposium was held at North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills. I witnessed only the second half of the presentation so I can't comment on anything before the milk and cookies. The panel was composed of Janet and Craig Parshall, Julie Madden; Social Justice/Pastoral Minister of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis, and Dan Barker; former evangelical minister who represented a group called Minnesota Atheists.
Mr. Barker's comments were laced with cheap shots at President Bush and the war in Iraq; at one point he stated that secularists were winning all of the important cultural battles so why were Christians still bothering (!) to defend their religious freedoms in court. His argument was the oft repeated deception that governmentally sponsored repression of free speech is free speech itself. Fellow Republicans in attendance must have been pleased to hear Mr. Barker enthusiastically compare the higher ideals of atheism with the Democratic Party, a cultural position the devastated Dems are scrambling like mad to distance themselves from. Anyone who employs The Treaty of Tripoli (created to free American hostages from Muslim pirates and thrown out by Congress three years after it was enacted) as proof that the United States isn't officially a 'Christian Nation' (not the point of those fighting for increasingly denied freedoms in our Republican form of government) succeeds only in begging comparisons to the greater truths of our founding documents, an inevitable and welcome service which unfortunately time and format didn't here allow.
As poor a representative of his cause as was Mr. Barker, he was outshamed by the 'Social Justice' minister of the uber-lib St. Joan of Arc. Enemies of the Catholic church could not have placed a better representative on stage. The totality of her vacuousness was best exemplified, in response to the question posed during closing statements of whether she believed more in the world view represented by the fellow Christians sitting to one side or the Atheist on the other, by her vote after a long and sighful pause...for herself.