Announcement 2010 Contest

Noon on Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

 Robert G. Ingersoll, known as The Great Agnostic, was a famous 19th century orator and outspoken critic of religion.  He was an advocate for racial equality, birth control, women’s rights, Darwin’s theory of evolution, Shakespeare, free speech, and voting rights for Washington, DC. 

 He delivered over 1,200 speeches to packed houses across the country in the late 1800s, all of them documented in a 12-volume set of his works.  After he moved his family to Washington, DC, in 1878, he lived, worked and spoke here for seven years.  He was a Civil War veteran and a very successful lawyer and political speaker.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Yet he has been neglected and largely forgotten by history.  To revive his message and popularity we are announcing:

 The Second Annual Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest

 Up to 15 contestants will each deliver a brief excerpt from Robert G. Ingersoll’s works.  A panel of judges will evaluate and award prizes for the best performance.  

 Sign up to be a contestant, or just come to hear the outrageous blasphemy and rhetoric of this undeservedly forgotten American orator. 

Bring your blanket or chair and applaud your favorite selection or speaker.  No chairs will be provided.  

Noon on Sunday, October 24, 2010 in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

 In case of rain, the contest will still be held nearby at :

James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar,      One Dupont Circle, NW.    tel.: 202-223-8440.


Registration deadline is October 17, 2010. Contestants pay a fee of $20.

Hurry!  The contest is limited to 15 contestants.

For information on how to register, see the Information for Contestants page at the contest Web site at

Questions?  Send an e-mail to:

or call and leave a message at 202-657-6346


  • First Place:       $150   
  • Second Place$100
  • Third Place:       $75
  • Fourth Place:     $50

in addition to cash, other items may also be awarded. All contestants will receive a certificate.

 This free public event is sponsored by:

a project of the Council for Secular Humanism



Ingersoll’s speeches may be found, among other places, at:


Photos and videos of last year’s contest can be seen at the Contest web site.


Some Quotations of Ingersoll:

The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellow-men.
Robert Green Ingersoll, “The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called “faith.” Robert Green Ingersoll, The GodsThis century will be called Darwin’s century.  He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers……. the Bible is a book written by ignorance — at the instigation of fear. …….Charles Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts.
Robert Green Ingersoll, “Orthodoxy”

The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray.

Robert Green Ingersoll



The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church.  Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.

Robert Green Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses,

Contest Web site: 


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