Edwin Kagin

On this date in 1940, Edwin Frederick Kagin was born in Greenville, South Carolina. In 1996 he and his wife Helen founded Camp Quest, a summer camp for the children of atheists, humanists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers. The Kagins suggested Camp Quest as a way to counter the exclusion of nontheists from the Boy Scouts. Over 16 locations of Camp Quest have spread across the U.S., with branches in Europe and Canada. Campers participate in traditional activities such as swimming, camp fires, crafts, hiking, along with participating in educational activities.

Those activities include science experiments, learning about famous freethinkers, evolution and world religions. Campers also participate in a logical exercise in which they attempt to prove an invisible unicorn does not exist. Camp Quest's vision is "a world in which children grow up exploring, thinking for themselves, connecting with their communities, and acting to make the most of life for themselves and others."

The son of a Presbyterian minister, Kagin earned his law degree from the University of Louisville in 1972. In addition to practicing civil rights and constitutional law, he was the national legal director for American Atheists. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a medic in 1961-62. Kagin was the author of Baubles of Blasphemy (2005) and a contributing author of The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America (2003). He was married to Helen from 1984 until her death in 2010. He was a longtime FFRF member. He died in 2014.

Helen and Edwin Kagin in 2005. CC 4.0

Atheists Are Everywhere

There are Atheists in foxholes
Atheists in hurricanes
There are Atheists in all the roles
Denied by your refrains.

Atheists are your fellow citizens
People who love and laugh and cry
Atheists are your relatives and friends
Don't insult them with a lie.

Atheists in many foxholes served
And some have had to die
Give Atheists the thanks deserved
Don't dismiss them with a lie.

Atheists are all around you
They work, they help, they care
And no matter what you think is true
Atheists are everywhere
And no matter what you think is true
They do not want your prayer.

—Kagin poem, “Atheists Are Everywhere” (Sept. 12, 2005)

Compiled by Sarah Eucalano

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