President of American Atheists Announces Retirement

Ed Buckner, who took over the position of President of American Atheists after Ellen Johnson was unceremoniously fired, has announced his upcoming retirement.

He will step down in September, two years after initially taking on the job:

… He gave several reasons for choosing to not continue as president: “I need more time to write and reflect, as well as simply to relax more, and the organization needs fresh leadership. I am proud of what we — a few staff members and many dedicated volunteers — have accomplished in the time since I became president, and I am optimistic about the future of secularism in general and American Atheists in particular.”

Ed Buckner saw the organization through a turbulent time. Under his presidency, American Atheists re-organized its corporate structure, continued to reach out to and work with other Atheist, Freethought, and Humanist groups, including joining the Secular Coalition for America, and revitalized its fundraising efforts to insure that it would survive and thrive as an activist movement for years to come.

“Whenever the change of leadership occurs,” said Dr. Buckner, “I pledge my full cooperation in making the transition as smooth and as beneficial to American Atheists as possible.”

He added, “I am grateful to the board and the members for an interesting job and for the great honor of leading the premier secular and Atheist organization in the world. I will, I promise, work hard for the benefit of American Atheists in whatever time remains before I retire as president and will support the organization thereafter.”

Neal Cary, Chairman of the Board of Directors of American Atheists praised Buckner’s accomplishments. “We are grateful to Ed for his considerable efforts and very hard work over the past two years in building a stronger organization and ushering in much needed changes. We look forward to working with him closely in the future as well.”

Mr. Cary said that the process to find a new president will begin immediately. Details will be posted on the American Atheists web site ( and in American Atheist magazine.

He was a terrific leader for the group and it’s sad to see him go, but there’s no doubt in my mind he is leaving the organization in far better shape than when he arrived. The next president won’t have to rebuild the organization from next-to-nothing.

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