Although the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers, Inc. is non-religious in nature, it provides many of the same services to its members that religious organizations do, such as providing a community of like-minded people and opportunities for community service and fellowship. The 501(c)(3) non-profit social and educational organization Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers, Inc. (acronymized as IAF) was formed around 10 years ago by a former pastor, and now serves hundreds of Atheists in the Des Moines metropolitan area.
Members of IAF hold that atheism is not a belief system but rather the absence of belief in supernatural deities. IAF does not maintain a unified statement of principles or overarching organized structure to promote or enforce such principles. The organization does not hold practices or services, and many members refrain from participating in religiously-tied holidays like Christmas and Easter. It is a common misconception that Atheists do not have a sense spirituality or reverence for life and existence, but this is not the case.
IAF hosts “Sunday Meetups” every week at 12pm to provide social opportunities for fellow Atheists to connect. Since IAF does not have a brick and mortar location, meetings are hosted in a variety of locations, the most popular and common of which is Sam and Louie’s Italian Restaurant in Urbandale. Members spend the meetings discussing topics of interest or relevance, at the end of which the organization’s President makes announcements.
As a non-profit organization, IAF arranges a variety of educational events, conducts charitable donation drives, and participates in activist projects related to the Separation of Church and State. They are also active in community service projects like Adopt-A-Highway and the Planned Parenthood book drive. To become more involved in the organization, members have the option to pay a small membership fee each year, which is put towards fundraising and organization events. Although many of their events are free to the public, paying members enjoy many benefits that are unavailable to non-paying members. They have the opportunity to run for a position within the organization and have full-access to their educational library as well.
IAF is organized by multiple leadership positions that IAF members can run for, including President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Members-at-Large. The members of IAF vote once a year to elect their candidates to each of these positions, and those holding office are responsible for organizing IAF events.
By Katie Schulz
- Sunday Meetups: 12pm at Sam and Louie’s Italian Restaurant, 8561 Hickman Rd, Urbandale (location subject to change)
- Phone: 515-770-8541
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dress is casual.
- Bring money to pay for a meal at the restaurant.