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25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary

The Freethought Society is celebrating our 25th!  We are proud and honored by the celebratory messages shared by friends and associates.  

Boston, Rob

Edwords, Fred

Jillette, Penn

Loftus, Elizabeth

Newdow, Michael

Silverman, Herb

Speckhardt, Roy

Teller the Magician

Van Pelt, Toni

Zimmerman, Roy




Roy Zimmerman

Roy Zimmerman

I’m tempted to be glib and say God Bless the Freethought Society!  But glibness belies the important work the Freethought Society has been doing for 25 years now.  Freedom of belief or non-belief is the foundation of our free way of life.  It is one of the things that Makes America Great Again and again.  So let us all bless the Freethought Society, and send it into another 25 years of important, successful work 

– Roy Zimmerman
American Satirical Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist

Roy Speckhardt

Roy Speckhardt


Congratulations to those gathered to celebrate the 25th year of the Freethought Society! Today, America is shamefully lead by a president whose priorities are antithetical to humanism and freethought. Trump’s aggressive posture to other nations, his willingness to merge church and state, his opposition to social justice and his disregard of the poor are on the far extreme of what we would hope for from our nation’s leader. That’s just one reason we at the American Humanist Association are pleased to work side by side with the Freethought Society to show the nation and the world that Mr. Trump doesn’t represent us all. 

Fortunately, our numbers of nonreligious and nontheistic are continuing their rapid rise. This leads to greater respect and prominence for humanist and freethought perspectives in government and public life. The Freethought Society helps raise the profile for our perspective and focus our energies toward real progress. 

Our best wishes to everyone gathered as we support the promotion of critical thinking. We don’t need gods or other supernatural forces to make this world better. We understand that science and reason are better guides than ancient holy texts and divine revelation. Together, let’s make this world a better place for all.

Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director
American Humanist Association

Teller the Magician

Teller the Magician

Teller the Magician

When you started your amazing work, atheism had barely penetrated into the popular consciousness.  Prominent people were atheists, but tended to remain discreet, and many of the outspoken declarations of atheism, such as The God Delusion, The End of Faith, God is Not Great, and, God No, had yet to be published, much less become bestsellers.  

It took guts and enormous amounts of planning, outreach, and work for you to lead that movement into the age of TV and Internet.  You did this against great odds and with great success and are a tremendous model of the impact that smart and determined heroes can have on the culture.  


Toni Van Pelt

It is with great pleasure I congratulate and honor the Freethought Soceity, its Founder and President Margaret Downey, Vice President Glen Loev, and the Freethought Society Board of Directors on the 25th anniversary of their founding. The importance of  their work and their reach can not be over emphasized. The members of the Freethought Society by their actions are helping to create a more humane society. Thank you to each and every one of you for all that you do. Here’s to another twenty-five years of promoting rational thinking, scientific advocacy and happiness! Toni Van Pelt, President of the Institute for Science and Human Values and the National Organization for Women. 

Press forward,

Toni Van Pelt
National Organization for Women

Herb Silverman


-Herb Silverman

Founder of the Secular Coalition for America and author of:
Candidate Without a Prayer
An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt

Elizabeth Loftus


On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Freethought Society, Margaret Downey should receive a Gold Medal for all she and the organization have done to promote freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and other crucial ideals and values.

Elizabeth Loftus
Distinguished Professor 
Psychology & Social Behavior
Criminology, Law & Society 
Cognitive Sciences
School of Law

University of California, Irvine
2393 Social Ecology II
Irvine, Calif. 92697-7080  USA

 Tel: 949-824-3285
Fax: 949-824-3001
email:  eloftus@uci.edu
UCI web:  http://socialecology.uci.edu/faculty/eloftus/   or http://faculty.sites.uci.edu/eloftus/

Fred Edwords

Fred Edwords

For a quarter century the Freethought Society, led by the unsinkable Margaret Downey, has not only been a staple of freethought in the greater Philadelphia area but a player in the nation as a whole. As such, the Freethought Society continues to be a focus for activism, education, and camaraderie. And it has been my personal honor to address its members as a featured speaker. 

Moreover, across these past twenty-five years we have watched the larger secular movement experience dramatic growth. The Freethought Society, under Margaret Downey’s inspired guidance, has been a significant part of that, often leading the way with innovative programming, robust social action, and imaginative initiatives toward greater cooperation among atheist, freethought, and humanist organizations. 

Many people in our movement owe the Freethought Society a personal debt. For some, it is because it helped them find their way to emotional and intellectual liberation through a life of reason. For others, it is because it stood up for their civil liberties when nobody else would. But beyond such intensive accomplishments, the Humanist Society has continued to amuse, delight, and entertain us, making serious ideas fun and human community both a comfort and a joy. 

Therefore, I heartily congratulate the Freethought Society on reaching this silver milestone in its continuing history. Should I be more progressive and call it a silver kilometer stone? Well then, I should drop the “silver” part too. The notion of a silver anniversary finds its origin in the Holy Roman Empire with its silver wreaths. And who uses stones anymore to mark off distances? 

But we can refashion old traditions to new uses, can’t we? After all, those old traditions were invented by human beings to serve practical purposes. So I say, “Happy silver anniversary Freethought Society!” Please plan on me being there in person for your golden one. I’ll only be ninety-four years old but have a whole lot more to say! 

Fred Edwords
Director of Planned Giving
Humanist Foundation
American Humanist Association

Rob Boston



Rob Boston Congratulations Video 

Rob Boston
Director of Communications at Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Michael Newdow

Congratulations to the Freethought Society on reaching 25 years of work in its support of the magnificent principles of religious equality and non-establishment. The framers of our Constitution would have been appalled to see the pervasive and persistent violations of the first ten words of the Bill of Rights that are the hallmark of today’s federal government. Margaret Downey has been tireless in her efforts to return the nation to its constitutional underpinnings, and the fact that her Freethought Society is still going strong after two and a half decades is a testament to both her tenacity and to the many who truly understand religious freedom. 

Michael Newdow
Attorney and Emergency Medicine Physician, best known for
his efforts to have recitations of the current version of the
 Pledge of Allegiance in public schools in the
United States declared unconstitutional because of its
inclusion of the phrase “under God.”

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette


Penn Jillette

Magician/Illusionist, Juggler, Comedian, Musician, Inventor, Actor, Filmmaker, Television Personality and best-selling author known for his work with fellow magician Teller as half of the team Penn & Teller