Freethought Today · May 2012

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard May 2012

[T]he National Day of Reason is about taking time to improve our communities. Every year, events are held on this day that demonstrate the desire of secular Americans to help their fellow citizens and our nation as a whole. Community service events, such as food drives and blood drives, are just some of the ways that people will be working to help those in need on the Day of Reason and throughout the year. I encourage everyone to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thinking, the scientific method, and free inquiry to improve our world and our nation.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., U.S. House floor statement recognizing May 3 as the National Day of Reason
Congressional Record, 4-27-12

About 1,520 results; About 36 results
Google News search results respectively for “National Day of Prayer” and “National Day of Reason,” both observed on May 3, 5-4-12

The truth is way too dangerous.
Alex Aan, 30, imprisoned in Indonesia for posting “God does not exist” on Facebook
The Guardian, 5-3-12

In a statement released today, God, the supreme being and creator of the universe, confirmed that he has once again postponed the transfer of the planet Earth to the meek.
Satirical news story
The Smew, 5-1-12

Had the Year of the Bible been declared by the Catholic Church, the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Pentecostals, just about any religious group one can name, there wouldn’t be any issue whatsoever. But it wasn’t a religious group that drove this designation. It was our state government, and the members of that body should know better.
Rahn Forney, editorial page editor, criticizing Pennsylvania lawmakers for declaring 2012 as the Year of the Bible, an action FFRF is suing over
Lebanon Daily News, 4-19-12

I think it’s time the church ceases to protect the bad priests. The representatives of the church did wrong to cover up and hide this problem.
Mary Mignogno, nurse and Catholic school volunteer, on Pennsylvania parishioners being told Fr. Robert Brennan was removed because he had Lyme disease instead of the real reason, that he was accused of molesting a boy
Norristown Times Herald, 5-8-12

At the time, industry and science reflected an enlightenment mindset. People believed freedom of thought and industrial growth would bind and unify the new country, not religion or God.
Todd Imhof, whose company auctioned for $1 million a 1792 “silver plug” penny, which says “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry” instead of “In God We Trust”
ABC News, 4-19-12

Nothing fails quite like prayer. One of the reasons we’ve been fighting the War on Terror is because of religion. You rely on your buddies.
Scott Otto, an atheist and Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, now an anthropology major at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston
The Daily Eastern News, 4-18-12 

That’s what’s unique about both militant nationalists and militant Islamists. We do believe in an afterlife, at least many of us do, because we are Christians.
Anders Behring Breivik, describing himself as a “militant Christian” in court in Norway at his trial for killing 77 people last July
The Guardian, 4-18-12

I won’t point fingers, but it’s suspicious, given the circumstances.
High school senior Jacob Nantau, Middle Lake, Saskatchewan, whose car was vandalized several times after he voted against having prayer at a graduation banquet.
Regina Leader-Post, 4-24-12

I think it’s time for me to move to Japan. When I said that I was an atheist, everyone insulted me and the legal authorities jumped on everything that I wrote on Twitter. I am perhaps the first person anywhere in the world to be the object of a judicial inquiry for declaring that they are an atheist.
Composer/pianist Fazil Say, on the rise of conservative Islam in his native Turkey
Al Arabiya, 4-23-12

What would Jesus do with the U.S. economy?
First sentence in a news story headlined “Christians Debate: Was Jesus For Small Government?”
National Public Radio, 4-16-12

Bottom line, we are saying do not attempt to pass a policy based on this statute unless you want to have lengthy litigation.
Wayne Blanton, Florida School Boards Association executive director, on a new law that lets students give “inspirational messages,” including prayers, at school functions
Orlando Sentinel, 4-11-12 

I invite you to visit the Ali Forney Center, only 30 blocks from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and meet with youths whose Catholic parents drove them from their homes. I want you to hear them tell you what it is like to have their parents be ashamed of them, and tell them that they are against God. I want you to see what their lives are like alone, unloved, and abandoned in the streets. I hope that by meeting our kids you can understand the pain and anguish you help to cause.
Letter from Joseph Amodeo, Executive Committee member of the Junior Board of Catholic Charities, to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, after which Amodeo resigned from the board
Huffington Post, 4-5-12 

Ban on Gideon Bible handout at public schools sparks torrent of hate mail
Headline on news story about a Canadian school district
Toronto Star, 4-8-12

We inhabit a polity now saturated with religion. On one side, the Republican base is made up of evangelical Protestants who believe that religion must consume and influence every aspect of public life. On the other side, the last Democratic primary had candidates profess their faith in public forums, and more recently President Obama appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast, invoking Jesus to defend his plan for universal health care.
Columnist Andrew Sullivan, “Christianity in Crisis”
The Daily Beast, 4-2-12 

It was kind of like looking at a black-and-white picture and seeing someone wearing a yellow hat. It just seemed odd to me.
Robert Kane, testifying at the trial of Fr. James Brennan how the image has stuck in his head of seeing the priest massage the bare back in 1990 of a boy after a youth baseball game
Philadelphia Inquirer, 4-11-12

I hope this organization helps skeptic students “come out” with their beliefs. We hope to build an accepting community for an otherwise largely stigmatized movement. Long-term, I hope the club grows to have an impactful presence on the QU community and ideally strip away the heavy negative view of secular thinking, especially atheism, which seems to meet the most hostile opposition.
Co-founder Julia Olson of the Quinnipiac University Atheist, Humanist and Agnostic Association in Hamden, Conn.
The Quad News, 4-22-12

We understand that in some Islamic states, gay people are persecuted and executed for their sexuality. It was an ideal opportunity to challenge the notion of acceptance and tolerance. As we began kissing, the Muslims began chanting, “Burn in hell.”
Gregory Storer, on kissing his partner in front of Muslim protesters at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, Australia
GNN, 4-16-12 

Atheists are like snowflakes — no two are the same. You find very few that reach a conclusion to the “God question” the same way. We are just a group of people who lack a belief in God or gods, but we have different beliefs outside of that.
Brandon Moore, North Carolina State graduate student in biomanufacturing and engineering
Technician, 4-30-12

Even as Republicans try to wrestle women into chastity belts, the Vatican is trying to muzzle American nuns. How can the church hierarchy be more offended by the nuns’ impassioned advocacy for the poor than by priests’ sordid pedophilia? The church leadership never recoiled in horror from pedophilia, yet it recoils in horror from outspoken nuns.
Columnist Maureen Dowd, “Bishops play church queens as pawns”
New York Times, 4-28-12

In reality, as I worked through them, I found that religion had so many holes in it, that I just progressed through stages where I couldn’t believe it.
Teresa MacBain, Tallahassee, Fla., a former Methodist pastor who has embraced atheism
National Public Radio, 4-30-12

Don’t just read verbatim the text on a PowerPoint slide or merely describe an image being shown. “That’s a totally naked man” adds no real informational value to the presentation. Tell us something about the naked man we don’t know just from looking at his picture. Maybe he loves soccer, maybe he’s a Freemason. Make him more than just another naked man who showed up mysteriously in your presentation. Otherwise the audience will end up in “PowerPoint Hell.”
Columnist Chris Nerney, on an Irish priest whose photos of nude men were mistakenly shown to parents of children preparing for First Communion
IT World, 4-30-12

Harbor of Light Publishing Releases Simple-Minded Guides for Bible Reading
Press release headline from Newnan, Ga., company on its Redneck’s Guide series, 5-2-12 

I am a victim of rape by a priest.
Megan Peterson, 22, speaking outside the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Winona, Minn., about being raped at age 14 for 10 months by a Catholic priest who fled to India
Winona Daily News, 5-2-12

Obviously, there are millions of very smart and generally rational people who believe in God. Obviously, this study doesn’t prove the nonexistence of God. But it poses a challenge to believers: If God exists, and if believing in God is perfectly rational, then why does increasing rational thinking tend to decrease belief in God?
Harvard University psychologist Joshua Greene
Scientific American, 4-26-12

This service has a very right-wing bent, a born-again slant. It’s not inclusive to any religion.
Paul Goleb, New Britain, Conn., an atheist protesting the National Day of Prayer event inside City Hall in Middletown, Conn.
Middletown Patch, 5-4-12

I’ve gotten a lot out of [the atheist] community. This is kind of a way for me to do something for the community that uses my skills and knowledge. I don’t think there’s been anything done like this.
Bill Lehto, Farmington, Minn., who founded Freethought House to publish a collection of 35 essays by Minnesota atheists
Farmington Independent, 5-5-12 

Residents of states that have laws banning gay marriage have 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t restrict gay marriage. I wonder what passage of the bible they twist around to rationalize that little hobby.
Syndicated columnist Lloyd Garver
Springfield State Journal-Register, 5-10-12

Evidently Jesus was so filled with rage that he was speechless. I am confident he condemned [gay marriage] all the time in private, when he was hanging out with those other 12 dudes at their elaborate dinner parties, where they all sat on the same side of the table, just living the bachelor life together, drinking wine and working on their washboard abs.
Stephen Colbert, on being unable to find any words about homosexuality attributed to Jesus
“The Colbert Report,” 5-10-12

The larger concern with secularism is that it damages people, and that it actually keeps people from being reasonable with one another. It creates a great level of intolerance for people of faith. I think secularism for Pope Benedict is a feature of this growing bifurcation between faith and reason.
Chad Pecknold, assistant professor of systematic theology, Catholic University of America
Catholic News Service, 4-20-12

Research scientists have proven that the miracles described in The Bible and in films like The Ten Commandments really DID occur, The ENQUIRER has learned!
News story, “Scientists: Bible Miracles Really Happened!”
National Enquirer, 4-5-12

He’s an atheist like the rest of his party. They’re all atheists.
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, who also called President Obama “the jug-eared lunkhead in the White House” in a speech at Missouri State University
Springfield News-Leader, 4-11-12
Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama, with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.
Bishop Daniel Jenky, Diocese of Peoria, Ill., addressing “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” rally and march
The Catholic Post, 4-14-12

It’s imperative that we reach into the arsenal of history and discover the weapon that defeated Adolph [sic] Hitler.
Christian author Brad Fenichel, calling for a May 3 National Minute of Prayer, a World War II “phenomenon which was widely credited, by contemporary people of faith, for the demise of the Third Reich” 
Christian Newswire, 4-16-12 

At first she was talking about public displays of affection, and she turned around and she directly pointed to the gay people and said, “If you’re gay you’re going to hell, and if you’re pregnant, your life is over.”
Student Amber Whittiemore, on remarks made to students by Dorothy Bond, high school principal in Brownsville, Tenn., who resigned after they were made public
ABC 24, 2-28-12
I would not vote for a man who was an atheist because I believe you need to have an acknowledgement or a reverence or a fear for almighty God.
Anne Graham Lotz, Rev. Billy Graham’s daughter
“Meet the Press,” 4-8-12

As much as we love the Brewers, unlike Jesus, they didn’t die for your sins. With regard to beer and brats on Good Friday, let’s just say that’s why God created the three-game series.
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, telling Catholic baseball fans they must be wiener-less
McClatchy News Service, 4-7-12

FFRF Co-Presidents

DAN BARKER and ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR are co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and co-hosts of Freethought Radio. A former minister and evangelist, Dan became a freethinker in 1983. His books, Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children and Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher To Atheist (1992) are published by the Foundation. His newest book, Life Driven Purpose: How an atheist finds meaning, was published by Pitchstone Press in 2015. His previous book, the autobiographical Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists, was published in 2008. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Religion, Dan now puts his knowledge of Christianity to effective freethought use. A professional pianist and composer, Dan performs freethought concerts and is featured in the Foundation's musical cassettes, "My Thoughts Are Free," "Reason's Greetings," "Dan Barker Salutes Freethought Then And Now," a 2-CD album "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist," and the CD "Beware of Dogma." He joined the Foundation staff in 1987 and served as public relations director. He was first elected co-president in November 2004.

Annie Laurie was also editor of Freethought Today from 1984 to 2009, when she became executive editor. The paper is published 10 times a year. Her book, Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So, first published in 1981, is now in its 4th printing. In 1988, the Foundation published her book, Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, the first book documenting widespread sexual abuse by clergy. Her 1997 book, Women Without Superstition: 'No Gods, No Masters'is the first collection of the writings of historic and contemporary women freethinkers. A 1980 graduate of the UW-Madison Journalism School, she was an award-winning student reporter and recipient of the Ken Purdy scholarship. After graduation, she founded, edited and published the Feminist Connection,a monthly advocacy newspaper, from 1980-1985. She joined the Foundation staff in 1985. She has been co-president since 2004. She co-founded the original FFRF with Anne Gaylor (see below) as a college student. Photo: Timothy Hughes

See Dan's bio »
See Dan's online writings »

See Dan's Debates »
Contact Dan »

See Annie Laurie's bio »
See Annie Laurie's online writings »
Contact Annie Laurie »

FFRF President emerita

Anne Nicol Gaylor
Photo by Brent Nicastro.

ANNE NICOL GAYLOR is a founder and president emerita of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She served as executive director from 1978 to 2005, and is now working as a consultant to the Foundation. Born in rural Wisconsin, she is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She owned and managed successful small businesses and was co-owner and editor of an award-winning suburban weekly newspaper. A feminist author, she has done substantial volunteer work for women's rights (including serving as volunteer director of the Women's Medical Fund). Under her leadership the Freedom From Religion Foundation has grown from its initial three Wisconsin members to a national group with representation in every state and Canada.

Slideshow of Anne Gaylor & FFRF activism
See Anne Gaylor's online writings.

Director of Operations

LISA STRAND is director of operations of FFRF. She has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit (primarily association) management, including 15 years as executive director of the Wisconsin Library Association. She is married with a daughter, as well as three cats, a guinea pig and an untended garden that will someday be beautiful.

FFRF Legal

REBECCA S. MARKERT attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received her B.A. in political science, international relations and German in 1998. After graduating from UW–Madison, Rebecca spent one year working as a legislative fellow at the German Parliament in Bonn, Germany. In the fall 1999, she returned to the United States and began working as a legislative correspondent and assistant to the chief of staff for United States Senator Russ Feingold in Washington, D.C. In 2002, she returned to Madison, Wisconsin, to work on Senator Feingold’s 2004 re-election campaign. After the campaign, Rebecca attended Roger Williams University School of Law and received her Juris Doctor in 2008. She joined the Foundation staff in October 2008.

Rebecca is the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s first staff attorney and primarily works on Establishment Clause cases. She is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin.

PATRICK ELLIOTT, the Foundation's second staff attorney, hails from St. Paul, Minn. Patrick received a degree in legal studies and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. He attended the University of Wisconsin Law School and received his Juris Doctor in 2009. While in school, Patrick took an interest in the First Amendment and constitutional law. He joined FFRF as a staff attorney in July 2010, after working part-time for the Foundation since February. Patrick is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin.

ANDREW SEIDEL graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.S. in neuroscience and environmental science and magna cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where he was awarded the Haber J. McCarthy Award for excellence in environmental law. He studied human rights and international law at the University of Amsterdam and traveled the world on Semester at Sea. In May of 2011, Andrew completed his Master of Laws at Denver University Sturm College of Law with a 4.0 GPA and was awarded the Outstanding L.L.M. Award. He has written a book on International Human Rights Law and his essay on the role of religion in government and the founding of our nation placed second in the FFRF's 2010 graduate student essay contest. Andrew is a former Grand Canyon tour guide and accomplished nature photographer; his work has been displayed in galleries in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland. He joined the FFRF staff as a constitutional consultant in November 2011.

ELIZABETH CAVELL received her B.A in English from the University of Florida in 2005. After college, Elizabeth spent a year as a full-time volunteer in AmeriCorps*NCCC. She attended Tulane University Law School and received her Juris Doctor in 2009. After law school, she worked as a deputy public defender in southern Colorado. She joined the Foundation as a staff attorney in January 2013, after working for the Foundation part-time since September 2012.

SAM GROVER received his B.A. in philosophy and government from Wesleyan University in 2008. He first worked for FFRF in 2010 as a legal intern while attending Boston University School of Law. In 2011, his article on the religious exemptions in the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate was published in the American Journal of Law and Medicine. After receiving his J.D. from Boston University in 2012, Sam worked as a law clerk for the Vermont Office of Legislative Council where he drafted legislation on health care, human services, and tax issues. He returned to work as a constitutional consultant for FFRF in the fall of 2013. Sam has written a paper on counterterrorism and the law that was published by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City and has traveled to southern Africa to work under Justice Unity Dow of Botswana’s High Court.

KATHERINE PAIGE graduated magna cum laude from Wichita State University in 2010 with a B.A. in History, Political Science, and French. She attended law school at the College of William & Mary where she received her Juris Doctor in 2014. Katherine became FFRF’s first Legal Fellow in September 2014, specializing in faith-based government funding.

MADELINE ZIEGLER graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in 2011 with a B.A. in English Literature and Political Science. She attended the University of Wisconsin Law School and received her Juris Doctor in 2014. She has worked at FFRF since May 2012, starting as a legal intern/extern, and currently works as a law clerk and legal publicist.

CALLAHAN MILLER graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin — Madison in 2014 with a B.A. in Sociology and Legal Studies and a certificate in Criminal Justice.  She received a Distinction in the Major for Legal Studies and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Kappa Delta.  For the majority of her time as an undergraduate, she was a leading member of UW’s ground-breaking Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics student organization.  She joined the FFRF team as an official staff member in January of 2015 after having previously been an intern and intends on going to law school herself in a few years.

FFRF Staff

JACKIE DOUGLAS is the office manager at the Foundation. She graduated in 2002 from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Human Development and Family Services. Jackie is happily married, owns a home on the east side of Madison, and has a black cat named Lucky.

BILL DUNN is the editor of Freethought Today. He has a degree in history and mass communications (journalism emphasis) from the University of South Dakota and has worked as a reporter, copy editor and editor in South Dakota and Wisconsin since 1980. Bill joined the Foundation staff in July 2009. He has two daughters, Kaitlin Marie and Jamie Lee.

LAURYN SEERING is the publicist & assistant webmaster. She was born in Wausau, Wis. and has also lived in Nagasaki, Japan. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2012 with her B.S. in Professional Communications and Emerging Media, concentrating in Technical Communication and International Studies. She also received a double minor in Journalism and English. Lauryn moved to Madison in January 2013 and enjoys reading about astrophysics, basking in the sun like a turtle and creating art at coffee shops. Lauryn is a practicing Pastafarian

DAYNA LONG is an administrative assistant at FFRF. Originally from Illinois, she attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received a degree in English. She has been with FFRF since July 2013. She spends her free time volunteering for the Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for Women. She also enjoys reading, cooking, and admiring her beautiful cats.

CHARLOTTE STEIN is waiting to welcome you into FFRF’s new building as the organization’s front desk receptionist and administrative assistant. A lifelong dairy enthusiast and badger lover, Charlotte graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 with a BA in Political Science and French, and certificates in Global Cultures and European Studies. Before moving to Morocco to volunteer for the US Peace Corps in 2012, Charlotte embraced her atheism and began working at FFRF. Since returning from North Africa in 2014, tanned and multi-lingual, she has been writing, biking around Madison’s lakes, and consuming lots of fried food. She is no longer tan.

FFRF Honorary Board


The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to announce the formation of a new FFRF Honorary Board of distinguished achievers who have made known their dissent from religion.

The FFRF Honorary Board includes Jerry Coyne, Robin Morgan, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Ernie Harburg, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Jacoby, Mike Newdow, Katha Pollitt, Steven Pinker, Ron Reagan, Oliver Sacks, M.D., Robert Sapolsky, Edward Sorel and Julia Sweeney.

“We are so pleased that these outstanding thinkers and freethinkers have agreed to publicly lend their endorsement to the Foundation, and its two purposes of promoting freethought and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause,” said Dan Barker, Foundation co-president.

  • Jerry Coyne, Ph.D., professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, is author of the popular book 'Why Evolution is True' and the blog of the same name.
  • Richard Dawkins, probably the world’s most famous contemporary atheist and a distinguished evolutionary biologist, is Oxford professor emeritus. In his blockbuster book, The God Delusion, Dawkins writes: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.”
  • Daniel C. Dennett is Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts, and author of the bestselling book about religion, Breaking the Spell. In a newspaper article about his nonbelief, Dennett once wrote: “I’ve come to realize it’s time to sound the alarm.”
  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of 36 Arguments For the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction and a research associate in Harvard’s psychology department, is FFRF Freethought Heroine of 2011. Goldstein is a 1996 MacArthur Fellow (the “genius” award). She has taught at Barnard and in the Columbia MFA writing program and the Rutgers philosophy department. She’s been a visiting scholar at Brandeis and at Trinity College in Hartford.
  • Ernie Harburg, a retired research scientist, is president of Yip Harburg Foundation and co-author of Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz? Ernie has dedicated his retirement to furthering the lyrics, music, memory and progressive views of his freethinking father, the lyricist Yip Harburg, author of classic songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and of Rhymes for the Irreverent, recently republished by FFRF.
  • Jennifer Michael Hecht, poet, historian and author of the acclaimed Doubt: A History and The End of the Soul, told the FFRF 2009 convention audience: “If there is no god — and there isn't — then we [humans] made up morality. And I'm very impressed.”
  • Susan Jacoby, bestselling author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, and program director of the Center for Inquiry-New York City, told FFRF convention-goers in 2004: "[President] Kennedy had to speak about his religion because he was suspected of insufficient dedication to the Constitution's separation of church and state. Today's candidates are suspect if they display too much dedication to secular government."
  • Robin Morgan, feminist pioneer, global activist, author of the groundbreaking "Sisterhood is Powerful" and more than 20 books, was formerly Ms. Magazine editor and consulting editor. She is the co-founder of the Feminist Women's Health Network and Women's Media Center and currently hosts "Women's Media Center Live" the radio "talk-show with a brain."
  • Mike Newdow is working pro bono to challenge such violations as the addition of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. He told the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments: “I am an atheist. I don't believe in God. And every school morning my child is asked to stand up, face that flag, put her hand over her heart, and say that her father is wrong.”
  • Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard, is author of The Blank Slate: “I never outgrew my conversion to atheist at 13.”
  • Katha Pollitt, “Subject to Debate” columnist for The Nation, author and poet, has spoken out regularly and energetically as a freethinker, in such columns as “Freedom From Religion, Sí!”
  • Ron Reagan, media commentator, describes himself in a radio ad he taped for FFRF as: “Unabashed atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”
  • Oliver Sacks, M.D., the compassionate neurologist and bestselling author, describes himself as “an old Jewish atheist.”
  • Robert Sapolsky, a neurologist, Stanford professor and bestselling author, once suggested FFRF put up a sign at its conventions: “Welcome, hellbound atheists.”
  • Edward Sorel, satiric cartoonist and irreverent illustrator who is a regular contributor to The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and whose caricatures have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, has been a Foundation member since the 1980s.
  • Julia Sweeney, comedian and actress, is writer/performer of the play, “Letting Go of God”: “How dare the religious use the term 'born again.' That truly describes freethinkers who've thrown off the shackles of religion so much better!”

In Memoriam 

  • Christopher Hitchens, the iconoclastic journalist, is author of the bestselling God Is Not Great: “Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.”

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