Board of Directors
Margaret Downey, Founder and President
Margaret founded the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) and the Anti-Discrimination Support Network (ADSN) in 1993. In 1994 Margaret founded the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee.
Margaret Downey was born into a multi-cultural family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up in a highly prejudiced southern society in the 1950s, Margaret became concerned about persecution from an early age. She has devoted her life to ending any and all discrimination against any and all peoples of the world. Reading the literary work of Thomas Paine and Robert G. Ingersoll enabled Margaret to develop a keen sense of revolutionary thought. She became an openly declared atheist and activist in her twenties. Free from the constraints of religious dogma and patriarchal systems, Margaret became involved with the feminist movement. Margaret fought for basic rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of choice, personal family leave for working parents, equal pay, and promotional opportunities for women. Continue reading “Who is Margaret Downey” for more information.
Carol has been an atheist since her teens, after recognizing that the Roman Catholicism she’d been immersed in by her Italian family was irrational. For many years, she thought she was alone as an atheist, but in the early 90s she discovered online communities and encountered atheist groups everywhere! She became the senior sysop on Compuserve’s religion forum and served in that capacity for 13 years, and was a sponsor of the Freethought and Science/Philosophy sections there along with her husband, Lee. A writer, photographer and artist, her writing is often about the nature of atheism and its many branches, such as Freethought, Naturalism, Humanism, etc. Her artwork explores the beauty and mystery of nature and is viewable at www.carolroper.com. Endlessly curious, her passion for science and art enriches her life as a wife, mother, and grandmother. As a concerned humanitarian, Carol’s ambition is to encourage tolerance and compassion and she considers herself a secular Buddhist as well as a Freethinker, atheist, and Naturalist. Carol writes two columns for Examiner Online; as the Philadelphia Freethought Examiner and the Philadelphia Science Examiner.
Glen Loev, Secretary
Glen reached the conclusion that there are no deities gradually, as he transitioned from his Conservative Jewish upbringing through Reconstructionist, Reform, and (finally!) arriving at Secular Humanism. He is currently on the Board of Shir Shalom, a community for Secular Humanist Jews in the Greater Philadelphia area. Glen retired from the practice of Dentistry in 2001. His main “occupation” is playing Mr. Mom for his two teenage children. He is also currently working as a bookkeeper for his partner’s hair salon, and is General Manager of their 2 vacation rental villas in Costa Rica. His interests include travel, reading, bicycling, and the intellectual challenge of discussing (OK, arguing about) faith with religious friends and relatives. Glen finds writing about himself in the third person somewhat embarrassing and rather amusing.
Dan Hoffman, Treasurer
Dan has been a member of the Freethought Society since its founding in 1993. He was born into a large Catholic family, was an alter-boy as a child, became a Protestant Fundamentalist as a teenager, and returned to his Catholicism while serving in the military.
Dan was a social activist while in high school and in college. After his tour in the Navy, he entered the Catholic Seminary and was there when Pope Paul VI and Catholic Progressivism died. While retaining his faith, he attended LaSalle College, earning a BA in philosophy, and Villanova University, earning an MA in philosophy. Because he could no longer maintain the illusion required to hold onto theology, and because he opposed the injustice done in its name, Dan rejected belief in any gods; though he still shares the out of fashion humanistic values of Christianity, and of America– accepting the marginalized, and helping those in need.
Andrew Barrett is a student working toward degrees in philosophy and mathematics. He has diverse academic interests which include logic and the philosophy of mathematics. He wishes to promote skepticism, critical thinking, and reason based ethics. His activism encompasses many areas and focuses on personal responsibility and self determination.
Sally Flynn escaped Christianity some fifty years ago. Her trek into humanism and freethought involved the Civil Rights struggle of the ’60s and women’s equality issues, including long time support of Planned Parenthood.
Other interests and memberships are the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Mike Judge is an airline pilot and former fighter pilot and ‘atheist in a foxhole’ that spent 20 years in the Air Force. He has been atheist at least since graduating with a degree in mathematics from a small Presbyterian affiliated liberal arts college. Judge has been active in promoting science and reason over belief in superstitions and supernatural mythologies for many years. Judge has been a member of the Freethought Society (FS) for over 10 years. He is also a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Atheist Alliance International, the Council for Secular Humanism, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Philadelphia Association of Critical Thinking, Mensa, and American Atheists. He is a frequent contributor the FS’s newsletter as a book reviewer and commentator.
Bob, a.k.a. Robert E. Kay, M.D., is a retired psychiatrist who graduated from Tufts University Medical School and served his residency at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Although raised Jewish-atheist, Bob converted to the Baptist faith as a youth, eventually returned to his atheist roots in college, and has since been a dedicated Unitarian. After serving seven years in the Army, he settled in Philadelphia, where he treated both adults and children in many different inpatient and outpatient settings. Best-known for his acclaimed paper “The Know-Nothing Psychiatrist” (Psychiatric Times, April 2002), Bob has remained engaged in the field by volunteering his time, writing and lecturing since his 2006 retirement. Active in numerous causes, most especially in the academic, psychiatric, medical, political and anti-war fields, Bob is an honorary member of Grandmothers For Peace and works with FSGP’s Helping Hands Committee.
Susan lives in Atco, NJ and has worked as a secretary and book production editor for over 25 years. However, Sue’s role as a political activist is her most important work. Sue worked for President Obama’s campaign, and is an activist member of Progressive Democracy South Jersey for the past three years. Through this group, Sue has participated in two Congressional campaigns. She also volunteers as the group’s secretary, is a member of its Steering Committee, Movie Committee and host for meetings. Sue is proud to have been in dozens of protests as a participant and/or organizer. Sue is an energetic member of the board of FSGP and the Helping Hands committee. She is also a member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, American Atheists, the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Atheists meetup.
Javier is an avid bicyclist, and his other interests include wine-making, hiking, chess and politics. His favorite authors are Richard Dawkins and Carl Hiaason. He maintains a blog called The Science Pundit.