Margaret Downey of West Chester, Pennsylvania
Margaret founded the Freethought Society, 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.
Patti Butcheck of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A humanist since childhood, an atheist since a young adult, Patricia Butcheck has always supported Humanist values and advocates for reason without religious bias, church/state separation, and secular acceptance.
A long-time member of the Freethought Society, Patti is a returning member of the FS Board.
She loves science and learning, and considers discovery and education to be humanity’s highest goals. An animal rights advocate, she has been involved in rescue and worked with no-kill shelters.
Traveling and photography round out Patti’s varied interests.
Charlotte Carney of Margate City, New Jersey
Charlotte Carney is a teaching artist and expresses her atheism and secular humanism in some of her work as well as when she is teaching. A recent painting by Charlotte was used by the National Center for Science Education, and has also had work shown on the Brights' Net (www.the-brights.net) and The Eloquent Atheist (www.eloquentatheist.com).
Charlotte lives her life as an out atheist, adding that openly living your life well as a godless individual — with kindness, respect and tolerance of others — is the best way to represent atheism.
Victoria De la Torre of San Diego, California
Victoria was born in Southern California into a Latina singleparent household within a patriarchal society. After a strict Catholic upbringing, she discovered freethought in 2007 while at the University of San Diego in pursuit of a future in the law.
During her studies in philosophy and theology, Victoria discovered the intellectual path of reason and began exploring a more secular understanding of the world. De la Torre directed her attention to the field of science, reading Dawkins and Darwin, embracing evolution and the natural universe over the myth of a deity with a divine plan. She combines her cultural traditions with logic, reason and enlightenment, especially helping fellow Hispanics, who not only have a unique and distinct path to freethought, but also often feel alone, scared, and torn as they recover from religion.
Victoria believes that through secularism we can achieve the American dream, because the beauty of humanism presents the affirmation of our true potential through logic, reasoning, and understanding.
Victoria is the current Community Outreach Coordinator for the Humanist Association of San Diego, organizing the association’s involvement in local parades, fundraisers, and homeless outreach. She is a member of the Freethought Society’s Diversity Outreach Committee, creating and facilitating programs, Hispanic materials and events.
Sally Flynn of Pocopson, Pennsylvania
Sally Flynn escaped Christianity some fifty years ago.
In addition to focusing on religious intrusion into government, Sally Flynn has supported Planned Parenthood and women's rights issues, and was active in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s.It took several decades to evolve from a moderate, cultural Christian to a rational humanist and atheist, and Sally continues to be very active in the movement.
Other interests and memberships are the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Alan Gold of Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Alan is married to Frances, is the father of three children and grandfather of four. He lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with cats, dogs, turtles and 30 chickens. He grew up in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.
Gold retired from Wells Fargo Advisors as Sr. Vice President September 1, 2016 after 41 years in the securities and insurance business.
He as a BA from Penn State and a Masters Degree from American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. and served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan 1971 to 1973.
His hobbies are world travel, reading most anything, attending live concerts, Facebook (a lot), sports, especially singles racquetball and tennis, movies and most any art form, artist (modern), writing, gardening, nature, science, photography, bridge, chess, piano, volunteering for most anything, politics, and a love of people.
Gold is a lifelong atheist, never having even a hint of doubt...if proof is shown about a god's existence makes as much sense as if proof can be shown that the Santa Claus story is real.
Since 1990, Gold has been active in the International Spring Festival that takes place in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. He became a chair of the Festival in 2013.
Gold was named PennSuburban Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year in 2015. He is active in nonprofits, including Pearl S. Buck International, United Way, B'nai B'rith (regional and local president), Boy Scouts (not since 1997) as Scoutmaster, Order of the Arrow, Eagle Scout. Gold was Man of the Year of his local synagogue and has received commendations for community service by Wells Fargo, the local municipality, and President Barack Obama.
Tracy Lockwood of Cheyney, Pennsylvania
Tracy Lockwood spent her childhood living on the compounds of an isolated religious sect before finding freedom at age eighteen. Her journey took her through evangelical Christianity and years of questioning before she lost her faith and embraced skepticism and atheism.
She is now an advocate for the separation of church and state and for the rights of children in religious communities. She is committed to working for church and state separation and she advocates for the rights of children in religious communities.
Glen Loev of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
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.
His interests include travel, reading, bicycling, woodworking, 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.
Tom Melchiorre of Norwood, Pennsylvania
Tom Melchiorre is the former editor of and contributing writer to Secular Nation and Secular World magazines, and has been involved with and a member of The Freethought Society since returning to the Philadelphia area in the late 1980s.
During his tenure as editor, he traveled the world, reporting on atheist happenings and gatherings on three continents, and discovered, encouraged, and fostered many up-and-coming, and now prominent, writers in the atheist community. Tom has also written for The Freethought News--with a regular column in the early years--and provided proofing and editing services throughout its history.
Tom is the owner of Write Edit Publish!, and provides these services and guidance to individuals, businesses, government agencies, organizations, and nonprofits, both atheist and religious, for books (nonfiction and fiction), newsletters, public relations, and more.
Dennis Middlebrooks of New York, New York
At 65, Dennis has lived in Brooklyn for his entire life. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1973 with a B.A. in History, followed by an MBA in International Business at Pace University in 1984. He retired in 2014 after 40 years in the financial industry.
Dennis was raised Catholic in a working class neighborhood and was a believer until his mid-teens. It was then that he developed an interest in astronomy and discovered Isaac Asimov's wonderful science articles in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, to which his father subscribed. In addition, he discovered an influential book at the Hayden Planetarium in New York entitled Our Emerging Universe by Alan Broms; he still has the book, which describes the origin of the cosmos in purely naturalistic terms.
When Dennis was 13, his family moved to a more upscale and ethnically mixed neighborhood, where he met friends of Jewish background who were atheists, the first non-believers he had ever encountered. This paved the way for his growing skepticism about religious claims. By the time he was a junior in high school, Dennis called himself an agnostic, and in a few years was an outright atheist. He became active in the freethought movement in the late 1980s as one of the original members of The Secular Humanist Society of New York.
Raised as a Catholic, Middlebrooks has been an atheist since he was a teenager, becoming a member and past president of the Secular Humanist Society of New York. He is proud to say that he is listed in Warren Allen Smith's Who's Who In Hell.
Over the years, many of his articles have been published in Freethought Today, Free Inquiry, IHEU News, The Freethought Society News, and Skeptical Inquirer. Dennis loves to write Letters to the Editor and can boast about having more than 200 letters published in New York City newspapers and various magazines.
Susan O'Connell of Atco, NJ
Susan 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, is an activist member of Progressive Democracy South Jersey for the past three years, and has participated in two Congressional campaigns.
She volunteers as the Freethought Society secretary, hosts meetings and is an energetic member of the Steering, Movie, the Helping Hands committees. Sue is proud to have been in dozens of protests as a participant and/or organizer. 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.
Carol Everhart Roper of Alamogordo, New Mexico
An artist, photographer and writer, Carol has been a non-believer since age 14. She prefers to discuss the reasons why she is sure there are no gods or supernatural events with believers in an atmosphere of mutual respect for one another’s humanity (not for the beliefs), rather than responding to proselytization with hostility. Her goal is mutual understanding, and with that, helping the believer find the path out of superstition and into skepticism, as well as dispelling the ridiculous ideas most believers have about atheists.
Former Vice President of the Freethought Society, she designed and managed the FS website, FS banners and ads, etc. After her husband’s death in 2014, Carol moved to New Mexico, and remains very active with the Freethought Society with design and writing services. She is the official designer of the Freethought Society’s Thomas Paine Memorial Committee.
Carol wrote two columns for the Examiner; one on Freethought, and one covering science. She has always been fascinated with the biosciences, and has become passionate about particle physics and cosmology in the last 25 years. The columns are still available on the Examiner website. Her Open Letter to Theists, and Open Letter to Atheists have been circulated widely on the web.
In addition, she writes poetry, and her artwork encompasses photography, photo-montage, mixed media, drawing and painting and is represented in multiple collections worldwide.
She has jokingly described herself as an existential determinist, a lazy obsessive-compulsive, decidedly unsure, a gregarious hermit and reluctant control-freak. A 60s hippie chick who is still idealistic when not dejectedly jaded. ULC ordained minister since 1997.
Carol looks forward to continuing her work with the Freethought Society.
Jennifer Taylor of Knoxville, Tennessee
Jennifer Taylor was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised within a dual-religious family (Jehovah’s Witness and Baptist); she was skeptical from a young age with an inquisitive nature. She considers herself both an Atheist as well as a Secular Humanist with a strong interest in community service, social justice, and separation of church and state issues.
She currently serves as the organizer for Black Atheists of Philadelphia; a group that both welcomes and encourages non-theists of diverse backgrounds to become both open and active within the Greater Philadelphia area. Black Atheists of Philadelphia is affiliated with African Americans for Humanism and the Greater Philadelphia Coalition of Reason (PhillyCor).
In addition, she is an organizer for the newly formed group, Humanists of East Tennessee. She also currently serves as a board member of the Freethought Society. Furthermore, she is an avid Jazz enthusiast who also organizes the Philadelphia Jazz Meetup.
Jenn is presently employed within corporate America, has a background in management and has more than seventeen years of diverse management level and financial experience. Jenn has attended numerous secular events, conferences and rallies including The Reason Rally, the Blackout Secular Rally, and has also participated in the Madison Atheists booth during the group’s “Ask An Atheist “event. In addition, she has been a guest on the Black Freethinkers Radio show and The Forbidden Fruit Radio Show, has served as a guest panelist during the People of Color Beyond Faith conference, and has given presentations at several secular events.
Her short term goals are promoting diversity and inclusion within the secular community and being an encouraging force, support, and sounding board to members of the secular community that have not publicly proclaimed their skepticism about religion. Long-term her mission is to help move the world towards accepting valid information related to decisions that affect us all, participate in community service efforts, to help provide networking opportunities/ information, and support to those who have yet to discover their voice within the secular community.
Greg White of Bristol, Pennsylvania
Greg has been an atheist/humanist/freethinker since at least the age of 12.
He is motivated toward growing our community beyond the confines of online activity and small local groups to a thriving force of humanity and decency throughout the US and the world, fighting for church/state separation and an end to childhood indoctrination.