Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

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Unintended consequences

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Fearing Satan, Phoenix boots prayers

The Phoenix City Council voted 5-4 on Wednesday night to stop all prayers and move to a moment of silence. The move comes after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a Feb. 1 letter backing the Satanic Temple's bid to give a prayer before the City Council's Feb. 17 meeting. 

In that letter, FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, who's been working on behalf of Phoenix members to stop prayers in their city since August 2012, wrote, "If this council is unwilling to listen to prayers from all citizens, regardless of their belief, the solution is to not have prayers at all." Seidel explained the law simply: "Government prayers are an all or none proposition."

Hundreds filled the seats for Wednesday night's meeting. Several FFRF members testified. The meeting dragged on for hours with more than 50 citizens giving public comment, some of them shouting in defense of the "one true God." A few prayer supporters held a prayer circle outside after the meeting, tears in their eyes.

The Phoenix City Council's choice to get rid of prayers appears to be another example of "Lucien's Law." The law is named after the Satanic Temple founder Lucien Greaves but the phrase was coined by FFRF member and Florida chapter President David Williamson. Lucien's Law states that governments will either 1) discontinue starting official sessions with prayer when the Satanic Temple asks to lead or 2) censor the Satanic Temple, thereby opening themselves to legal liability. In this case, the Phoenix City Council fortunately decided to go with option #1.

Michelle Shortt, the Satanist who was scheduled to pray, delivered her invocation to the media. It can be viewed here

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor commented, "We're delighted to see that reason and the Constitution has prevailed in Phoenix."

FFRF has a national enrollment of 23,000 nonreligious members, including more than 500 in Arizona.

FOR FFRF AZ MEMBERS ONLY

CONTACT

It’s helpful to make sure the city council and mayor receive positive feedback! Please thank city council members for removing governmental prayer from council meetings.

City Council Members:

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Mayor, City of Phoenix
200 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

TALKING POINTS

Feel free to cut and paste the remarks below into your email. If you are a resident of Phoenix, please be sure to identify yourself as a constituent.

[As a a Phoenix resident and atheist/nonbeliever] I wish to thank you for taking action to halt acrimonious and divisive governmental prayers. Prayer is beyond the scope of our secular government.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent the letter, below, today to President Barack Obama (on the same day he addressed the National Prayer Breakfast). Or read as PDF here.

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Please also welcome nonreligious to the "American family"

Dear Mr. President:

To help counter anti-Muslim bigotry, you spoke at a mosque yesterday. Last week, you spoke at the Israeli embassy and, in a show of solidarity with the Jewish minority, said, "I, too, am a Jew." It is laudable for the President to embrace citizens of all colors and religious viewpoints as being part of "one American family" and to caution citizens not to be "bystanders to bigotry." But there is one U.S. minority that has been consistently excluded from such notice: nonreligious Americans.

We respectfully invite you, in your final year in office, to do something no American president has ever done: reach out to secular America. Such attention from the Office of the President would demonstrate that freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and rationalists are accepted citizens. As you pointed out in your first inaugural address: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers."

On June 4, 2016, as you are aware, America's "Nones" will gather at the Lincoln Memorial for the Reason Rally, sponsored by major secular organizations, including Freedom From Religion Foundation. On behalf of our 23,500 members around the nation, we add our voice to those encouraging you to make a historic appearance at what will be the largest event for secular Americans. This would provide an ideal opportunity for the Office of the President to welcome and address tens of thousands of good citizens who reflect the 23 percent of the adult population who identify as nonreligious. "Nones" are the fastest growing segment in the U.S. population by religious identification. More than a third of Millennials — 35 percent — identify as nonreligious. In fact, "Nones" have recently surpassed Roman Catholics as the largest "denomination" in the United States.

Yet reprehensible prejudice and ubiquitous social stigmatization dog U.S. freethinkers, atheists and agnostics. Those of us who are nonreligious daily encounter unwarranted stereotypes, putdowns and assumptions that we cannot be good people or good citizens. A December 2011 study in the Journal of Personality and Psychology found, appallingly, that atheists rank, with rapists, as least trustworthy!

The University of Minnesota found that atheists are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to social acceptance, in comparison to a variety of minorities often typified as "other," including gays, Muslims, recent immigrants, Jews and racial minorities. "Acceptance of religious
diversity does not extend to the nonreligious." The study, published in the American Sociological Review, April 2006, even reported that atheists are the people they would least like their children to marry.

Only in the past few years has a slim majority polled by Gallup even agreed it would consider voting for an atheist. It is sad that in a nation with a secular Constitution barring religious tests for public office, a de facto religious test is being imposed. Boy Scouts of America, of which the President is the nominal "commander in chief," recently lifted its hurtful membership ban against gays, but continues to brag about excluding nonreligious boys and to maintain "that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God."

Thomas Jefferson, a Deist, famously pointed out: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." Yet too many Americans appear to have imbibed the lessons found in the untrue condemnations in Psalm 14: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." We're sure you agree that it isn't what you profess that makes you a good person — it is what you do.

Freethinkers and nontheists have made and continue to make unheralded contributions to U.S. society, beginning with patriot Thomas Paine, an archcritic of biblical claims who sparked support for the revolution and gave our nation its very name. The first to speak out for abolition of slavery and capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for the right to reproductive freedom, have been freethinkers. The ranks of U.S. nonbelievers include legendary social reformers (W.E.B. DuBois, Clarence Darrow, Frederick Douglass, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton), scientists (Luther Burbank, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Steven Pinker, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson), philanthropists (Jane Addams, Warren Buffett, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates), literary luminaries (Isaac Asimov, Pearl Buck, Nora Ephron, Myla Goldberg, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ursula K. LeGuin, Sinclair Lewis, James A. Michener, Ayn Rand, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut), songwriters, musicians and composers (Irving Berlin, Aaron Copland, Stephen Foster, the Gershwins, Billy Joel, Scott Joplin, Thelonious Monk, Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, Charles Strouse) and so many others who have brought beauty, art, progress, knowledge, compassion and reason to our society. As John Stuart Mill observed, "The world would be astonished if it knew how great a proportion of its brightest ornaments — of those most distinguished even in popular estimation for wisdom and virtue — are complete skeptics in religion."

By showing up on June 4, as you did at the mosque, and addressing nonbelieving Americans, you can send a signal that the marginalization of a quarter of the U.S. population is unacceptable. Please use your "bully pulpit" to help erase harmful attitudes toward the nonreligious minority in the United States, as you have done for religious minorities. Please address the Reason Rally on June 4 or speak at our auditorium in Freethought Hall (our offices) any time. We look forward to your reply.

Most respectfully,

signature

Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor
Co-Presidents
Freedom From Religion Foundation

You have an opportunity to rectify a grave injustice by lending your support to proposed state bills that protect children from serious medical harm.

Tennessee has a religious defense for felony crimes against children. This has led to instances of deaths or major complications in children when parents substituted prayer for medical assistance. Bills currently under consideration in both the state Assembly and Senate seek to repeal this protection.

The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevent Child Abuse America, National District Attorneys Association and the National Association of Medical Examiners have all called for rescinding such religious exceptions.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Prince v. Massachusetts more than 70 years ago that our constitutional "right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or child to communicable disease, or the latter to ill health or death." A parent should have a legal duty to provide necessary health care to his or her child regardless of the parent's religious beliefs.

CONTACT

TALKING POINTS

Feel free to copy or paraphrase these comments. (When you contact your state legislator, please add that you are a constituent.)

As a Tennessee resident and taxpayer, I urge you to support HB 2043 and SB 1761, which revoke a religious exemption for health care of children. This is a very important step toward protecting minors from practices that could possibly endanger their well-being and lives.

Currently, Tennessee law allows a religious exception in needed health care for children. This can result — and has resulted — in a child's loss of life or intense suffering. HB 2043 and SB 1761 will do away with such an exception.

Parents are always free to pray for their children, and our First Amendment rights are precious. But that cannot be used as a reason by guardians to deny necessary medical treatment for their young ones, especially when this can grievously jeopardize the health of a child.

For more reading on the issue, click here

 

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Virginia Action Alert

You have an opportunity to rectify a grave injustice by lending your support to a proposed state bill that protects children from medical neglect.

Virginia has a religious defense for felony crimes against children, including manslaughter, and religious exemptions to child negligence in the civil code. This has led to many instances of deaths or complications in children when parents substituted prayer for medical assistance. HB 1295 seeks to repeal them. It is currently before the state's House Courts of Justice Committee.

The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevent Child Abuse America, National District Attorneys Association and the National Association of Medical Examiners have all called for rescinding such religious exceptions.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Prince v. Massachusetts more than 70 years ago that our constitutional "right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or child to communicable disease, or the latter to ill health or death." A parent should have a legal duty to provide necessary health care to his or her child regardless of the parent's religious beliefs.

Please contact members of the Virginia House Courts of Justice Committee and cc your own legislator to let them know your support for the bill. Personalize your statement if possible or feel free to cut and paste the wording below.

TALKING POINTS

Feel free to copy or paraphrase these comments:

I am writing you [as your constituent] and a Virginia taxpayer. I support HB 1295, which revokes religious exemptions for health care of children. This is a very important step toward protecting minors from practices that could possibly endanger their well-being and lives.

Currently, Virginia law allows religious exemptions in needed health care for children. HB 1295 will do away with such exceptions.

Parents are always free to pray for their children, and our First Amendment rights are precious. But that cannot be used by guardians as a reason to deny necessary medical treatment for their young ones.

For more information about the bill, click here. For more reading on the issue, click here.

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 was a founder and president emerita of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She served as executive director from 1978 to 2005, and worked as a consultant to the Foundation. Born in rural Wisconsin, she was 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 did 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. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Library Association. She has 25 years of experience in nonprofit organizations, both as a staff member and volunteer leader, including having served as board president of the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives and the Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin. She has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota. Lisa 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.

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 in some capacity since May 2012, starting as a legal intern/extern, and currently works as a legal fellow.

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.

RYAN JAYNE received a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Honors College in 2007. After graduating, Ryan taught piano and chess lessons while working as a financial advisor until 2012, when he began law school at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon. In law school he focused on intellectual property and animal law, serving as an associate editor for the Animal Law Review at Lewis & Clark and co-founding the Pacific Northwest’s first Secular Legal Society. Ryan graduated cum laude in 2015, began working with FFRF in January of 2015, and became a Diane Uhl Legal Fellow in September, 2015, specializing in faith-based government funding.

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.

ALYSSA SCHAEFER is FFRF’s Program Assistant.  She graduated from The George Washington University in 2014 with a BA in International Affairs, concentrating in Security Policy.   A native of Wisco, she recently moved back to Madison from the east coast. In her free time Alyssa enjoys traveling, exploring the great outdoors, live music, and lazy Sundays with her cat Lola.

PJ SLINGER is editor of Freethought Today. A Green Bay native, he has a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has worked as a sports reporter, news reporter, copy editor, web editor and photo editor in newspapers in Marshall (Minn.), Mankato (Minn.) and Madison (Wis). Prior to coming to FFRF in 2015, he worked for 15 years at The Capital Times in Madison. He has a wife and three kids.

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 & communications coordianator. She was born in Wausau, Wis. and studied abroad in Nagasaki, Japan. Lauryn graduated from the UW-Stout in 2012 with her BS in Professional Communications and Emerging Media, concentrating in Technical Communication & International Studies. Lauryn moved to Madison in 2013 and enjoys reading about space stuff, biking and creating art at coffee shops. 

JAKE SWENSON started as FFRF’s first graphic designer in 2015. He was born in Rockford, Illinois, and graduated with a degree in fine art from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. He enjoys music, cycling, photography, traveling, and coffee.

LISA TREU is our Director Of First Impressions at FFRF.  She comes to us after working in broadcasting for iHeart Radio in Madison, Wisconsin.  She hosted various radio programs for fifteen years.  Lisa and her husband ran their own Birdhouse/Birdfeeder manufacturing company called Northwoods Mfg., Inc. during the 1990’s where she had her own line of decorative birdhouses that she designed and painted herself.  Lisa is the wife of Harry and is the mother of twin daughters Katrina and Karinthia.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, painting, gardening, feeding the birds, getting silly with her daughters and lounging with her two cats.

ELEANOR MCENTEE has over a decade of experience as a nonprofit bookkeeper and is very dedicated to nonprofit organizations.  In her free time, she journals, spends time with her cats Steven and MacNcheez, and rides her Harley all over Wisconsin and more!

FFRF Honorary Board

honoraryboardmembers

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.”
  • 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.”
  • Oliver Sacks, M.D., the compassionate neurologist and bestselling author, describes himself as “an old Jewish atheist.”

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