Edward Tabash

On this date in 1950, attorney Edward “Eddie” Tabash, advocate for state-church separation and an atheist, was born in Los Angeles. His father was a rabbi from Lithuania and his mother was an Auschwitz survivor from Hungary. He remembers adults telling him at age 7 at a Passover seder how the god of the Old Testament rescued Jewish slaves from Egypt, prompting him to ask why that same god allowed the Holocaust. The adults responded with an embarrassed silence.

As a young adult he sought spiritual comfort from New Age meditation and similar techniques. He graduated magna cum laude from UCLA in 1973 and in 1976 from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he specializes in constitutional law and criminal defense.

For two decades, Tabesh was the primary speaker and debater for the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. He represents the atheist viewpoint in formal debates with Christian apologists and is a longtime FFRF supporter and Life Member. As of this writing in 2021, he is board chair of the Center for Inquiry. 

Asked in a debate where morality comes from, he answered: “It develops from compassion, from mercy, and from understanding the plight of the human condition. … [T]he superiority of the atheist-derived compassion is evidenced by the fact that we don’t talk about how justified it is for people to go to hell forever just because they made the wrong theological choice. That, to me, is the most damning, immoral obscenity articulated by Christians.” (Debate at UC-Davis, Dec. 1, 1993)

Tabash seeks equality for nonbelievers and believers but has expressed concern about how fundamentalist beliefs of all kinds have been used throughout history to deny women equality: “No person should lose her or his freedom because of someone else’s religious beliefs.” He said the same is true about LGBTQ+ discrimination: “There is not one proposed piece of legislation that would deny gays and lesbians equal rights that is not grounded in religious dogma.” (“Point of Inquiry” podcast, May 4, 2006) 

He lives in Pacific Palisades, a coastal Los Angeles community.

Freedom From Religion Foundation