National organizations

American Atheists “is dedicated to working for the civil rights of Atheists, promoting separation of state and church, and providing information about Atheism.” Publications: Atheist Viewpoint TV show, GodlessWiki, No God blog. Offers a scholarship for atheist students.

The American Humanist Association: “We strive to bring about a progressive society where being “good without god” is an accepted way to live life. We are accomplishing this through our defense of civil liberties and secular governance, by our outreach to the growing number of people without religious belief or preference, and through a continued refinement and advancement of the humanist worldview.” Publications: The Humanist magazine, Rant & Reason blog, Humanist Network News podcast.

Americans United “is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.” Publications: Church and State magazine, The Wall of Separation blog, videos.

Atheists for Human Rights: “We are committed to making atheism visible in the community as a rational, responsible voice for secular morality.”

The Center for Inquiry: “Fostering a secular society requires attention to many specific goals, but three goals in particular represent the focus of our activities: 1. an end to the influence that religion and pseudoscience have on public policy, 2. an end to the privileged position that religion and pseudoscience continue to enjoy in many societies, 3. an end to the stigma attached to being a nonbeliever, whether the nonbeliever describes her/himself as an atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker or skeptic.” Publications: Point of Inquiry podcast, videos on a variety of topics, multiple magazines.

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry “promotes science and scientific inquiry, critical thinking, science education, and the use of reason in examining important issues. It encourages the critical investigation of controversial or extraordinary claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminates factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community, the media, and the public.” Publications: Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

“The mission of the Council for Secular Humanism is to advocate and defend a nonreligious lifestance rooted in science, naturalistic philosophy, and humanist ethics and to serve and support adherents of that lifestance.” Publications: Free Inquiry magazine.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation “is an educational group working for the separation of state and church. Its purposes, as stated in its bylaws, are to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.” Publications: Freethought Today newspaper, Freethought radio and podcast, Holds a yearly student essay competition.

The Godless Americans Political Action Committee “endorses candidates for public office who support the First Amendment separation of church and state; defend equal rights and protections for our nation’s godless Americans; inform our community of the voting records of their elected representatives on issues of concern; and support our goal of having ‘a place at the table’ in formulating public policy. In addition, GAMPAC will facilitate the training and development of those godless Americans seeking to bring their organizations talents to the field of electoral politics.” Publications: Enlighten the Vote blog.

The Secular Coalition for America “is the national lobby representing the interests of atheists, humanists, agnostics, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans.”

The Secular Student Alliance works “to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human based ethics.” Publications: eMpirical eNews. Provides a variety of services for student groups. AAS is an affiliate of SSA.

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4 comments on “National organizations

  1. susan juda says:

    looking for a group in DeBary Florida. How does one go about finding and organizing such a group?

  2. Anastasia says:

    Hello Susan,
    You might check out http://www.meetup.com/. I know quite a few people in Iowa that have found locals with a similar point of view on that site. You might have to go a little ways to Sanford or Orlando, but I bet you will find a group. Good luck!

  3. A huge news story, barely noticed

    (The Charleston Gazette – Nov. 9, 2010)

    By James A. Haught
    Philosopher-historian Will Durant called it “the basic event of modern times.” He didn’t mean the world wars, or the end of colonialism, or the rise of electronics. He was talking about the decline of religion in Western democracies.
    The great mentor saw subsiding faith as the most profound occurrence of the past century — a shift of Western civilization, rather like former transitions away from the age of kings, the era of slavery and such epochs.
    Since World War II, worship has dwindled starkly in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and other advanced democracies. In those busy places, only 5 or 10 percent of adults now attend church. Secular society scurries along heedlessly.
    Pope Benedict XVI protested: “Europe has developed a culture that, in a manner unknown before now to humanity, excludes God from the public conscience.” Columnist George Will called the Vatican “109 acres of faith in a European sea of unbelief.”
    America seems an exception. This country has 350,000 churches whose members donate $100 billion per year. The United States teems with booming megachurches, gigantic sales of “Rapture” books, fundamentalist attacks on evolution, hundred-million-dollar TV ministries, talking-in-tongues Pentecostals, the white evangelical “religious right” attached to the Republican Party, and the like.
    But quietly, under the radar, much of America slowly is following the path previously taken by Europe. Little noticed, secularism keeps climbing in the United States. Here’s the evidence:
    | Rising “nones.” Various polls find a strong increase in the number of Americans — especially the young — who answer “none” when asked their religion. In 1990, this group had climbed to 8 percent, and by 2008, it had doubled to 15 percent — plus another 5 percent who answer “don’t know.” This implies that around 45 million U.S. adults today lack church affiliation. In Hawaii, more than half say they have no church connection.
    | Mainline losses. America’s traditional Protestant churches — “tall steeple” denominations with seminary-trained clergy — once dominated U.S. culture. They were the essence of America. But their membership is collapsing. Over the past half-century, while the U.S. population doubled, United Methodists fell from 11 million to 7.9 million, Episcopalians dropped from 3.4 million to 2 million, the Presbyterian Church USA sank from 4.1 million to 2.2 million, etc. The religious journal First Things — noting that mainline faiths dwindled from 50 percent of the adult U.S. population to a mere 8 percent — lamented that “the Great Church of America has come to an end.” A researcher at the Ashbrook think-tank dubbed it “Flatline Protestantism.”
    | Catholic losses. Although Hispanic immigration resupplies U.S. Catholicism with replacements, many former adherents have drifted from the giant church. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 20 million Americans have quit Catholicism — thus one-tenth of U.S. adults now are ex-Catholics.
    | Fading taboos. A half-century ago, church-backed laws had power in America. In the 1950s, it was a crime to look at the equivalent of a Playboy magazine or R-rated movie — or for stores to open on the Sabbath — or to buy a cocktail or lottery ticket — or to sell birth-control devices in some states — or to be homosexual — or to terminate a pregnancy — or to read a sexy novel — or for an unwed couple to share a bedroom. Now all those morality laws have fallen, one after another. Currently, state after state is legalizing gay marriage, despite church outrage.
    Sociologists are fascinated by America’s secular shift. Dr. Robert Putnam of Harvard, author of “Bowling Alone,” found as many as 40 percent of young Americans answering “none” to faith surveys. “It’s a huge change, a stunning development,” he said. “That is the future of America.” He joined Dr. David Campbell of Notre Dame in writing a new book, “American Grace,” that outlines the trend. Putnam’s Social Capital site sums up: “Young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of five to six times the historic rate.”
    Oddly, males outnumber females among the churchless. “The ratio of 60 males to 40 females is a remarkable result,” the 2008 ARIS poll reported. “These gender patterns correspond with many earlier findings that show women to be more religious than men.”
    Growing secularism has political implications. The Republican Party may suffer as the white evangelical “religious right” shrinks. In contrast, burgeoning “nones” tend to vote Democratic. Sociologist Ruy Teixeira says the steady rise of the unaffiliated, plus swelling minorities, means that “by the 2016 election (or 2020 at the outside) the United States will have ceased to be a white Christian nation. Looking even farther down the road, white Christians will be only around 35 percent of the population by 2040, and conservative white Christians, who have been such a critical part of the Republican base, will be only about a third of that — a minority within a minority.”
    Gradually, decade by decade, religion is moving from the advanced First World to the less-developed Third World. Faith retains enormous power in Muslim lands. Pentecostalism is booming in Africa and South America. Yet the West steadily turns more secular.
    Arguably, it’s one of the biggest news stories during our lives — although most of us are too busy to notice. Durant may have been correct when he wrote that it is the basic event of modern times.
    (Haught, editor of The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia’s largest newspaper, can be reached by phone at 304-348-5199 or e-mail at haught@wvgazette.com. This essay is adapted from his ninth book, Fading Faith: The Rise of the Secular Age.)

    • Stephen Borkowski says:

      The difficulty of faith is certainty where there is no empirical proof. Bing West in discussing war with radical islamists said Imams must stop teaching that killing will get muslims into Heaven. I say all teachere who deal with a God be required to cite a disclaimer stating God has not been proven or disproven and that Faith is not Fact. Taught correctly , uncertainty would be ingrained

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