Annie Laurie Gaylor is co-president with Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics) working to keep religion out of government. She co-founded the original FFRF with her mother Anne Gaylor as a college student in 1976. She was editor of Freethought Today from 1984 to 2009, when she became executive editor. The paper is published 10 times a year. Her book, Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So, first published in 1981, is now in its 4th printing. In 1988, the Foundation published her book, Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, the first book documenting widespread sexual abuse by clergy. Her 1997 book, Women Without Superstition: ‘No Gods, No Masters’ is the first collection of the writings of historic and contemporary women freethinkers. A 1980 graduate of the UW-Madison Journalism School, she was an award-winning student reporter and recipient of the Ken Purdy scholarship. After graduation, she founded, edited and published the Feminist Connection,a monthly advocacy newspaper, from 1980-1985. She joined the Foundation staff in 1985. She has been co-president since 2004.
Aron Ra is one of the “YouTube atheists” and an advocate for rationalism in science classrooms. He grew up in an exclusively creationist environment where he felt like a lonely outcast just for understanding evolution, let alone accepting it. Being raised in a mostly-Mormon family encouraged him to explore other denominations and eventually non-Abrahamic spiritualism before rejecting faith-based beliefs altogether. He was drawn into activism when the Religious Right dominated his state’s Board of Education, and began undermining education in history, health, science, and social studies. His videos often focus on evolution and the evidence indicating an interrelated tree of life. His series summarizing the ‘Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism’ and his subsequent series, ‘Falsifying Phylogeny’ (including the Phylogeny Challenge’) have been mirrored, featured, referenced, and recommended by many professional scientists, secularists, and educators, and has attracted more than 60,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel
Dr. Darrel Ray, is a psychologist and lifelong student of religion. He holds a BA in sociology/anthropology from Friends University, MA from Scarritt College for Christian Workers and Ed.D. in counseling psychology from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. In 2009 he founded Recovering from Religion, which is now an international organization led by Sarah Morehead with an international team, it helps people deal with the trauma of religious indoctrination. He is also the director of the Secular Therapy Project, connecting secular people with secular therapists throughout the world. He is author of the best selling book, The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture. In 2011, he and Amanda Brown published Sex and Secularism, What 10,000 Secularists Say About Their Sex Lives and in 2012 he published his latest book, Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. He recently returned from book tour in Australia and has spoken many times in the UK, Ireland, and Canada.
David Fitzgerald has been called “one of the busiest atheist activists in the Bay Area.” In addition to serving on the board of San Francisco Atheists and Center For Inquiry-SF, he is also the Director/Co-Founder of both the world’s first Atheist Film Festival and Evolutionpalooza!, San Francisco’s oldest annual Darwin Day celebration. He and Greta Christina are co-founders of Godless Perverts Story Hour. In addition, he is a writer and historical researcher, author of NAILED: Ten Christian Myths that Show Jesus Never Existed at All and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion. (Secretly, he is also a fiction writer under the name Kilt Kilpatrick). He lectures around the country at universities, churches and national secular events.
Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is author of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless,” and of “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More,” and is editor of “Paying For It: A Guide for Sex Workers for Their Clients.” She blogs at Greta Christina’s Blog, freethoughtblogs.com/ greta, and you can follow her on Twitter at @GretaChristina.
Heina, counter-intuitively pronounced “hee-na,” is a twenty-something graduate of a fine University of California institution with a B.A. in English and another in Philosophy. She spent her childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in her right mind would have believed that she would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist, or, in other words, a Skepchick. She is the author of A Skeptic’s Guide to Islam.
Mandisa Thomas is a founder and current President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into religion, she was heavily exposed to Black Nationalism, Christianity, and Islam. Mandisa has been featured in JET magazine, and as a guest on “In Contact”, a local Atlanta area TV program sponsored by the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. She also serves on the Board for Foundation Beyond Belief.
Nate Phelps is the son of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, which gained infamy from their protests at soldiers’ funerals around the United States. He is the sixth of thirteen children, and was taught his father’s extreme version of Calvinism from an early age. This was accompanied by extreme physical punishments and abuse, extreme dietary and health requirements, and other extreme expectations. Nate left home at midnight on his eighteenth birthday, and moved to California where he built a new life away from his family. He later moved to Canada, and only recently began speaking out about his story after a chance encounter with a reporter while driving a cab in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Nate has now spoken about his story to many groups around North America, and even returned home to Topeka in 2010 to tell his story to the people in his hometown. Today Nate lives in Calgary, Alberta and works for the Center For Inquiry. He is a vocal LGBT advocate, and speaks out against the dangers of religion and child abuse.