Barbara G. Walker

On this date in 1930, Barbara G. Walker was born in Philadelphia. In early childhood, she had her first disappointment with religion, when a minister told Barbara her deceased pet dog wouldn't go to heaven. She threw an uncharacteristic tantrum, telling him: "I don't want anything to do with your rotten old God and nasty old heaven." First reading the King James bible as a young teenager, she decided: "It sounded cruel. A God who would not forgive the world until his son had been tortured to death--that did not strike me as the kind of father I would want to relate to." She majored in journalism at the university of Pennsylvania, married research chemist Gordon Walker, and moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Washington Star. Relocating to Morristown, New Jersey, she taught the Martha Graham dance technique. She is a knitting expert, writing ten volumes, including the classics, Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. In the mid-seventies she became part of the "new feminist wave," writing the monumental feminist/freethought sourcebook, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (1983). Her many other books, published by Harper & Row, include The Skeptical Feminist. An atheist, she has also specialized in debunking irresponsible, New Age assertions about crystals.

“. . . the very fears and guilts imposed by religious training are responsible for some of history's most brutal wars, crusades, pogroms, and persecutions, including five centuries of almost unimaginable terrorism under Europe's Inquisition and the unthinkably sadistic legal murder of nearly nine million women. History doesn't say much very good about God.”

—Barbara G. Walker, "The Skeptical Feminist," acceptance speech for the "1993 Humanist Heroine" award by the Feminist Caucus of the American Humanist Association, anthologized in

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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