Name: Paul D. Redleaf, M.D.
Where I live: Lilydale, Minn., across the Mississippi from Saint Paul.
Where and when I was born: New York City, April 24, 1931.
Family: My wife, Rhoda, two sons and two daughters and their spouses, five grandsons, two granddaughters and one great-granddaughter.
Education: Great Neck High School, valedictorian, 1948; Cornell University, zoology and general studies, 1951; Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 1955; internships and residencies, University of Minnesota, 1955-57. 1958-61.
Occupation: Internal medicine private practice in Saint Paul, 1961-80, part time 1980-83. Member, Chicago Board Options Exchange (trader in put and call options).
Military service: Captain, U.S. Army, 1957-59, serving at Fort Knox, Ky. How I got where I am today: (1) A great deal of good luck, healthwise and escaping the dangers of financial disaster on the CBOE. (2) Making the best possible choice in marrying Rhoda, a wonderful wife and absolutely perfect mother and grandmother. (3) Good decisions to leave the medical practice and options trading while ahead, and entrusting all my savings to my son Andy’s management.
Where I’m headed: Obviously, at 83, downhill. Hearing is going, no longer skiing but still playing singles tennis with buddies 10 years younger. Hoping to live out the years without dementia and eventually a good death, unburdensome to me and my family.
Person in history I admire: Obviously there are many, but I cast a vote for Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, the only senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001.
A quotation I like: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” (Anatole France)
These are a few of my favorite things: Travel (having seen most of the U.S. and a good chunk of the world), classical music, good nonfiction books an periodicals
These are not: Noisy restaurants.
My doubts about religion started: While reading the biblical Book of Job in freshman English at Cornell. If there’s a God who can treat Job as he treats him, he doesn’t deserve worship. And the state of the world demonstrates that if there is a God, he is neither all-wise or all-just.
Before I die: I’d like to see some very bad actors on the Supreme Court gone and a Republican Party which could include someone like the late Jacob Javits, a U.S. senator from New York from 1957-81. (I still consider myself a Javits Republican.)
Ways I promote freethought: We’ve promoted freethought in our family. One daughter is a virulent anti-capitalist, and a son, to our chagrin, was a founder of the Federalist Society.
[Editor’s note: Paul modestly doesn’t mention his and Rhoda’s ongoing, generous endowment of the Redleaf Internship Fund, formerly at Carleton College, and now Sarah Lawrence, which allows FFRF and sother select nonprofits to employ summer interns.
Bible quotes vanish from whiteboard
The Clinton County School District in Plattsburg, Mo., ordered removal of bible quotes from a middle school administrator’s whiteboard.
In an Oct. 8 letter of complaint, Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott informed the district, “Courts have continually held that school districts may not display religious messages or iconography in public schools.”
The school district’s attorney responded Oct. 10 to say that the bible verse had been removed.
Joel Osteen trip trips FFRF trigger
Botetourt County, Fincastle, Va., ceased sponsorship and website promotion of a trip to see megachurch pastor and televangelist Joel Osteen trip after getting a Sept. 26 letter from Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott.
“We respect the importance of government coordination of community events and trips, but holding religious events specifically for a Christian subset of citizens is inappropriate and unconstitutional,” wrote Elliott.
The county removed the event posting, and County Administrator Kathleen Guzi said in a response letter that the county was not hosting or organizing the trip and would seek legal advice regarding FFRF’s concerns.
Better ‘BELIEVE’ it: Yearbook cleansed
Gallia County (Ohio) Local Schools will no longer endorse religion on the cover of its yearbooks. The PTO of Addaville Elementary School printed and distributed yearbooks with a large cross bearing the word “BELIEVE” on the cover. Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote to the school district Sept. 26.
A school district attorney forwarded Markert a letter from the superintendent to parents, explaining that the religious message was inappropriate. The superintendent also wrote to the PTO, saying that in the future, the group “must refrain from displaying any religious message or symbol in publications that are or appear to be sponsored by or associated with the Gallia County Local School District.”
Courthouse protest brings arrest
Eliot Kalman, 69, Athens, Ohio, was arrested Oct. 28 and charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief for his protest of the church directory sign on the Athens County Courthouse. Kalman admitted putting stickers advocating state/church separation on the directory, reported the Athens News. The sign lists 40 different churches and religious groups in the county.
County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said it’s his “understanding that the county has no influence or authority over what goes up or how it goes up, and that by going through the [private] group who controls it, anyone can post any group organizational information they want.”
Kalman said if something is on county property, it’s under the county’s authority. He said he’s upset about being handcuffed, searched and “perp walked” after what he considers an appropriate public protest. “They put me in handcuffs for exercising my First Amendment rights as if I were a dangerous person.”
Atheist settles suit for $2 million
Barry Hazle Jr. and the state of California settled Hazle’s six-year-old civil rights suit on Oct. 14 for almost $2 million. Hazle was imprisoned for just over 100 days after contesting a “higher power” drug treatment program while he was on parole, the Redding Record Searchlight reported.
Hazle asked for a secular treatment program, was told none was available and was eventually sent back to prison, where he’d already spent a year on drug possession charges that were overturned by an appeals court.
An appeals judge ruled in August 2013 that compensatory damages are mandatory in cases of unconstitutional imprisonment and said the trial jury had been misinstructed, resulting in the settlement. The state will pay Hazle $1 million and $925,000 will come from Westcare California Inc., the contractor that offered only a religious rehabilitation program.
Election results are mixed bag
Daniel Moran, a Democrat and atheist running for the Texas House of Representatives, lost his race Nov. 4, as did James Woods, an Arizona Democrat and atheist running for the U.S. House. Woods was the only open atheist running for Congress.
Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, defeated Moran by getting 77.3% of the vote. Incumbent Republican Rep. Matt Salmon won 68% of the vote against Woods.
Arizona Democratic state Rep. Juan Mendez, an atheist who gave a secular invocation from the floor of the House (for which he was honored at FFRF’s 2013 convention), won a second term.
Religion News Service reported that voters rejected two Rhode Island politicians who criticized teen atheist activist Jessica Ahlquist. Democrat Peter Palumbo, who called her an “evil little thing,” lost his legislative bid, and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who also criticized Ahlquist, lost the gubernatorial race to Democrat Gina Raimondo, who became the state’s first woman governor.
Other religion-related results:
• A state constitutional amendment banning use of “foreign law” in Alabama courts passed 72%-28%. It was first put forth by people worried that Islamic sharia could someday influence court cases.
• “Fetal personhood” amendments lost in Colorado (65%-35%) and North Dakota (64%-36%).
• Tennessee voters by 52.6% approved a state constitutional amendment saying this: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.” It gives legislators more power to restrict abortions. The amendment received much more support in rural areas.
• Illinois voters approved by 67%-33% a nonbinding referendum requiring health insurers to include prescription birth control as part of drug coverage.
Humanist denied chaplaincy sues
Atheist Navy chaplain candidate Jason Heap filed suit Nov. 5 in U.S. District Court in Virginia to challenge the rejection in June of his chaplain application. Defendants are Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and several other Defense Department and Navy personnel.
Heap has a doctorate in religion and has studied at Oxford and Texas Christian University and is a former youth minister. The suit asks for his instatement as a Navy chaplain and the designation of the Humanist Society as the official endorsing agent for humanist chaplains.
Heap and his supporters say that humanist beliefs “are constitutionally equal to religious faith and that chaplains are key contacts for troops on a variety of personnel and quality-of-life matters, ranging from recreational activities to suicide prevention programs,” reported Stars and Stripes.
Wis. judge rules church must pay
St. Raphael Cathedral property was properly taxed in 2013 by the city of Madison, Wis., because the Catholic parish missed a deadline to seek a religious exemption, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess ruled Nov. 4. The cathedral suffered severe fire damage in 2005. The property was unused for years until 2013 when a 14-station Way of the Cross display was installed.
If not for missing the deadline, Niess said the property could have been given a $101,125 tax exemption because the Way of the Cross served a religious purpose.
“You may all go on to the Court of Appeals to see if I’m right,” Niess told the parties. City Assessor Mark Hanson said the city denied St. Raphael’s Congregation’s 2014 tax exemption request. “We didn’t feel the current use qualified for an exemption.” The congregation will have to pay the tax and then file in January for a refund as it did for 2013, Hanson said.
FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott wrote a formal letter to the assessor and addressed the Madison Common Council in opposition to the exemption.
Calif. city council prayers appealed
Carole Beaton, a Eureka, Calif., activist and FFRF member, is appealing to the state Court of Appeal a December 2013 ruling that said nonsectarian prayers at Eureka City Council meetings are constitutional.
The city and Beaton settled part of the suit in October in an agreement prohibiting the city from using its resources, city seal and the title of mayor to promote or support prayer breakfasts.
The city agreed to pay Beaton $16,500 for attorney’s fees.
“Prayer is religion in action, so prayer and government don’t mix either,” plaintiff’s attorney Peter Martin said. “We would like the Court of Appeal to draw a bright line.” The point is to keep religion out of government, not out of people’s lives, Beaton said in an email to the Eureka Times-Standard. “The separation of church and state is a precious American principle which protects us all, both religious and nonbelievers.”
Florida judge removed from bench
The Florida Supreme Court on Oct. 30 removed Judith Hawkins from her position as a Leon County judge for selling religious books from her office as part of her for-profit Christian ministry, The Associated Press reported.
The court said Hawkins was deceitful and dishonest at her disciplinary hearing before the Judicial Qualifications Commission. She was also accused of using her county email account, judicial assistant and her office spaces and equipment to create, edit and promote Gaza Road Ministry products “to the detriment of the prompt and efficient administration of justice.”
Her annual judge’s salary was $142,000.
Devil blamed for commandments crash
Michael Tate Reed Jr., 29, allegedly told federal authorities that Satan told him to drive his car into a Ten Commandments monument Oct. 23 at the Oklahoma Capitol. Reed was charged with destruction of state property/improvements, indecent exposure, making threatening statements, reckless driving and operating a vehicle with a revoked license. The monument was toppled about 9 p.m.
An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the monument, donated by state Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, was dismissed in September. but the ACLU is appealing to the state Supreme Court.
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, The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God, was published by Ullysses Press in January, 2011. 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
FFRF President emerita
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.
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.
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.
KATIE DANIEL is the bookkeeper/executive assistant/staff baker at FFRF. She was born in California and has lived in Pennsylvania, Alabama and Missouri. She moved to Madison in 2005 to attend UW-Madison and graduated in 2009 with a BA in Gender & Women's Studies and a Certificate in LGBT Studies. She joined the foundation staff as a student clerical employee in September 2008 and started as the full-time bookkeeper in 2009. Unlike many of the Foundation's staff members, Katie is religious and considers herself a practicing Wiivangelical.
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 is the publicist & assistant editor at FFRF. She was born in Wausau, Wisconsin 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.
PHYLLIS ROSE is a retired library administrator from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been volunteering 3 afternoons a week at the FFRF office since 2000. A Lifetime Member, Phyllis provides oversight, clerical and editorial support. Phyllis serves as an officer on the Foundation's governing body.
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!”
- 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.”