Saluting Julian Bond, civil libertarian, atheist

Civil rights leader Horace Julian Bond, 75, died Aug. 15 of vascular disease in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla. The iconic civil libertarian, journalist and author who co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Southern Poverty Law Center, chaired the NAACP and served in the Georgia Legislature, was also a nonbeliever.

Doug Blackmon of “American Forum” on PBS interviewed Bond this year, asking him, “Are you a believer?” Bond replied, “No,” then asked with a smile, “Will that tarnish my reputation?”

He went on to criticize mainstream churches for being “absent without leave today” on civil rights issues and religious homophobia. “Why don’t we hear church voices?”

Freedom From Religion Foundation