I realize this has been an eventful day on Daylight Atheism, but it’s come to my attention that today is also a very special day, one that I’d be remiss if I failed to commemorate.
From the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s daily Freethought of the Day e-mail bulletin:
Happy birthday, Mr. Barker! We atheists are proud to have you on our side, and deeply appreciative of all your tireless effort in the service of promoting freethought and defending church-state separation. I’m personally honored to be a member of the FFRF and to be able to fight the good fight alongside you. I wish you a joyous day today, and may you have many more years of long life, good health and happiness ahead.
On this date in 1949, Dan Barker was born in California. His father, Norman Barker, a talented trombonist, played with Hoagy Carmichael, and has a cameo with Judy Garland in the movie “Easter Parade.” Dan, who became a piano-player and songwriter, worked as a volunteer missionary as a teenager, going to Mexico with youth groups. He attended Asuza Pacific College, majoring in religion. Ordained by a Christian Church congregation, Dan worked as an assistant minister in several churches, but mainly freelanced with a musical ministry, also writing secular children’s music. Many of his songs and two Christian children’s musicals were produced by Manna Music and other Christian publishing houses. In his early thirties, Dan began a course of reading in science, liberal theology and rationalism that led to “an intense inner conflict.” Finally, “I just lost faith in faith.” In 1983, he publicly left religion. He joined the staff of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1987, and has written the book Losing Faith in Faith (1992), as well as three freethought/humanist books for children, and more than 30 freethought songs, including “You Can’t Win with Original Sin,” “None of the Above,” and “Nothing Fails Like Prayer.” He has recorded his freethought songs, as well as other traditional and contemporary freethought music, in three music cassettes and two CDs, “Friendly Neighborhood Atheist,” and “Beware of Dogma.”
(A note to readers: You can join the Freedom from Religion Foundation at www.ffrf.org/membership, or sign up for Freethought of the Day at the above address. You can also listen to Dan and FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor’s weekly broadcast/podcast at Freethought Radio, which is an excellent program that I highly recommend.)