Meet an active member: Todd L. Erickson

Name: Todd L. Erickson.

Where I live: Atwater, in west-central Minnesota. I spend winters in Mesa, Ariz.

Where and when I was born: Willmar, Minn., May 21, 1958.

Family: My father, 88, my mother, 82, and six brothers.

Education: Electronics technology degree from Northwest Electronics Institute in Minneapolis.

Occupation: Retired telephone company worker, 31 years; real estate investor and tree grower.

Military service: Five years in the Minnesota National Guard. I’m a member of Veterans for Peace and a critic of the excessive military spending and imperialism of our government. We should rededicate many of those billions of dollars to things like higher education. How I got where I am today: I grew up on a farm and moved to Minneapolis after high school. Working for a large corporation, I valued the concept of being organized as workers. I served 16 years as an elected union representative. I’ve been involved with politics ever since.

Where I’m headed: I’m finding more time for the things I enjoy. I spent a month in early 2014 exploring Ecuador. Australia is next on my list. I work on retiree issues with the National Retiree Legislative Network’s Arizona chapter.

People in history I admire: Clarence Darrow and other lawyers who follow that type of legal service. He represented labor and other causes well during turbulent times. Also, George Carlin, Julia Sweeney and others who use humor to talk about the craziness of religion.

Quotations I like: “There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages.” (Ruth Hurmence Green). I like the bumper sticker that says ”The bible was written by the same people who said the earth was flat.”

These are a few of my favorite things: Hiking, disc golf, bicycling, friends, movies, books, music, documentaries, parties and travel.

These are not: Our complicated, expensive health care system. People and organizations who are anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-labor. Hate talk radio/TV. My doubts about religion started: My Lutheran upbringing was mild. I quit going to church after confirmation and mainly ignored/tolerated liberal religion. I learned from my father’s parenting skills to question authority. The Religious Right got my attention with their intolerant theories and policies in my 30s. I had more and more questions about the truth of the bible and the reason for religion.

I bought The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins at Mayday Books on the West Bank in Minneapolis on 12-27-07 and have called myself an atheist ever since. I have read dozens of books on this subject to get myself up to speed. It’s been quite the eye opener. Before I die: I hope to learn to play guitar and sing country and folk songs that appeal to me.

Ways I promote freethought: It has taken quite awhile, but I’m ready and willing to let people know that I’m a proud nonbeliever when it comes to religion. I do get letters to the editor published on religious issues — lots of right-wing religious nuts in Arizona. I’ve made life easier by: Avoiding debt and being on the frugal side of things have made money matters less stressful.

I like this about FFRF: Friendly staff, talented and and well-spoken attorneys, outstanding leadership of Annie Laurie and Dan. I treasure each issue of Freethought Today. I like FFRF’s appreciation of the history of freethinkers. I like the music and humor. I value being part of the greater freethought community. I enjoy the annual conventions. Thanks to FFRF and FFRF members for what you do!

Freedom From Religion Foundation