Writer's Guidelines for the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs “Freethought Views” "advertorial" column in the Colorado Springs Independent – 2022
About the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs
The Freethinkers of Colorado Springs (FCS) was founded in 1993 in response to Colorado's Amendment 2, a referendum that amended the Colorado Constitution to prohibit "any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy" through which gays, lesbians, or bisexuals could "have or claim any minority status, quota preferences, protected status or claim of discrimination." Amendment 2 appeared to violate the separation of church and state, deny equal protection of the law to gays and lesbians, and prohibit them from petitioning their government for a redress of grievances. The passage of Amendment 2 prompted a set of citizens in Colorado Springs to create an organization to provide community to non-believers and defend logic, reason, and especially, the separation of church and state. The Freethinkers of Colorado Springs prefer objective verifiable points of view supported by engineering, logic, mathematics, medicine, and science rather than subjective beliefs stemming from authority, emotion, dogma, or tradition. The Freethinkers of Colorado Springs strive for factual accuracy and precision, and advocate the use of reason, defend the separation of church and state, and support interpersonal dialogue, non-violence, human rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, tolerance, and equality for all.
About Freethought Views
The Freethinkers of Colorado Springs have published the Freethought Views "advertorial" column in the Colorado Springs Independent occasionally, weekly, and monthly since 1999. Freethought Views currently appears on the first Wednesday of every month, and essays printed in the Freethought Views column are ~555 words in length, and discuss many topics, primarily revolving around human and civil rights, personal freedoms, critical thinking, privacy, religion, science, and especially, the separation of church and state.
Because Freethinkers of Colorado Springs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Freethought Views essays may not support or oppose, or appear to support or oppose, political parties or candidates actively running for any elective office. This aspect of United States Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 non-profit requirements is known as the "Johnson Rule" because President Johnson insisted on its inclusion in the 501(c)3 legislation. However, essays appearing in the Freethought Views column are free to address political issues.
Freethought Views is an advertisement, which now costs the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs close to $200.00 per issue. The overall costs of publication since 1999 are estimated to exceed well over $25,000.
The topical focus of Freethought Views essays should mirror the philosophical priorities of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, and must be formed on the basis of facts, science, and logic rather than emotion, authority, tradition, or dogma. Specifically, the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs advocates the use of reason, defends the separation of church and state, and supports human rights, civil rights, tolerance, interpersonal dialogue, and equality for all. Essays have been published on a wide array of subjects from abortion to unconstitutionality that are directly and or indirectly related to the philosophical priorities of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs.
Freethought Views columns focus on issues rather than on specific persons. Exceptions may be allowed when the statements or actions of a public figure are extremely detrimental to civil rights and human freedoms and are widely reported in the public media. In such cases, columns will still focus primarily on the person’s views and actions and not ascribe motives behind the views unless such motives have been articulated by the subject themselves. Otherwise, oblique references to identity are preferred. While Freethought Views will report upon and discuss current events, Freethought Views will not attack any person, group, organization etc., and instead will focus on verifiable, repeatable, and predictive facts.
While the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs do not support religion or magical beliefs of any kind – the FCS is also not actively “anti-religion.” Specifically, the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs and Freethought Views essays do not directly disparage or attack individuals or organizations - nor do Freethought View columns denigrate or ridicule religion just for “being religion.” However, Freethought Views essays often address the shortcomings and societal ramifications of religious beliefs, political policies, and irrational points of view by identifying, analyzing, and critiquing factual inconsistencies, illogical beliefs, and incorrect statements; comparing them to verifiable, rational, and scientific points of view; and discussing errors in critical thinking, logic etc. that clearly contradict engineering, facts, history, mathematics, medicine, science, and other sources of objective information.
Columns advancing critical thinking and addressing the intermixing of church and state are preferred, particularly when the absence of the former means the latter results in negative outcomes with regard to individual liberty, equal rights, equal justice under law, and generalized religious freedom. In all cases, Freethought Views essays seek to make positive statements and maintain a straightforward, thoughtful tone, avoiding language that could be interpreted as destructive, snide, snarky, or overtly dismissive to opposing positions and viewpoints. The Freethought Views column seeks to persuade readers with observations, facts, and (when appropriate) criticism delivered in a spirit of respectfulness over rancor and evidence over opinion. In addition, consistently acting as an advocate rather than an opponent appears to be a useful tactic in writing that seeks to persuade.
Essays published in the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs Freethought Views are about 555 words in length - about 200 words shorter than a standard "op-ed" essay. Although essays of as little as 500 words may be accepted under certain circumstances, essays with fewer than 500 words or more than about 565 words create formatting and readability problems in our small space in the Independent.
Submitting a query will ensure that your topic and treatment meets our editorial needs. Please forward your query (preferred) or completed draft to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond as soon as possible.
Virtually all submissions require some form of editing and Freethought Views provides a wide range of editorial assistance to contributors. If you feel your writing skills may not meet our editorial standards, rest assured the editorial staff at Freethought Views will do everything possible to help you prepare your manuscript for publication. Please note that the editor of Freethought Views may need to make changes to your essay during the editorial process and your essay may appear in print with changes that reflect developing current events or the last minute recognition of content that might be counterproductive. However, every effort will be made to ensure contributors are fully aware of every aspect of the editorial and publication process.
The Freethinkers of Colorado Springs Freethought Views column pays $50.00 upon publication.
By Line and Anonymity
You may choose the name under which your essay will appear, and it is possible to publish anonymously. However, pen names should be discreet and unique whenever possible. Freethought Views and Freethinkers of Colorado Springs will make every effort to maintain the anonymity of contributors who prefer to remain anonymous. However, Freethought Views and the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs are not responsible for breaches of anonymity, especially if the writer does not follow the suggestions of the editor with regard to protecting anonymity.
Each Freethought Views essay is published with a footer that includes biographical information about the contributor and a quotation selected by the editor or the contributor.
Note that although the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs very much wants to publish new contributors, the final decision whether or not to publish a submitted or proofed article will be at the sole discretion of the Freethought Views editor.
Questions, Comments, and Feedback
Please direct queries, submissions, questions, comments, and feedback to email@example.com