The Largest Atheist Organization in America

The Freedom From Religion Foundation just announced that their membership is nearing 16,000 members, making them that largest atheist organization in the country (by a long shot):

It’s an incredible number, so congratulations to them.

How did FFRF grow so quickly when you consider they don’t really do social media, they don’t promote local affiliates or “centers,” and they employ a minimal staff… ?

Because what they do, they do incredibly well. They file important church/state separation lawsuits (including one that made it to the Supreme Court). They are constantly putting up pro-atheism billboards around the country. They are always active and they don’t shy away from using the dreaded A-word.

I know I’m proud to be a member.

(Their press release also mentions the results of a survey of members (PDF), but I think my AP Stats students would yell at me if I hyped a self-selecting sample of about a quarter of FFRF’s members…)

  • SQFreak

    Everyone loves the FFRF, but I personally think that AU is better at advocating for church-state separation. But I suppose that’s why there are different groups working toward the same goal.

  • Lynn

    I thank His Noodley Appendage for the FFRF

  • Lynn

    I thank His Noodley Appendage for the FFRF!

  • Jackie

    Thanks for the info. I just sent my $40 membership. Who’s going to join me?

    ( coincidentally, the credit card I used was Chase FREEDOM :)

  • Alex

    I just recently thought about sending FFRF a Christmas Bonus. They certainly did a great job this year!

    Oops! Hemant you deserve a bonus too!!!

  • JSug

    It probably doesn’t hurt that they have their own nationally syndicated radio show. Though personally I feel like much of the show is aimed at an older audience. No offense to Dan and Annie-Laurie. There are other things they excel at, such as covering the legal cases the foundation is involved in, and they are excellent spokespersons for church-state separation.

  • http://www.stumpanatheist.com Rev. Ryan Benson

    Wow…good for them. It may also be a sign of the times.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK christophertk

    Yes, the Freedom From Religion Foundation does a great job. I like the fact that they have have some religious leadership participation as well. No reasonable person wants to see our government mixing with religion.

    It has been a while since we mentioned the…

    Petition to End Unconstitutional National Day of Prayer @ http://ffrf.org/legal/national-day-of-prayer-victory/stop-the-national-day-of-prayer-petition/

    They have 8,800 signatures so far but it would be great to see much more. And you do not have to be a member to sign.

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

    Nice to see the growth there… any graphs on the decline of church going? or are the religious still getting more religious, and the rest more apathetic?

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    FFRF does a phenomenal job of challenging government endorsements of religion. They write countless letters to local governments, school boards, etc. to address constitutional violations, and file lawsuits where necessary. And their billboards have generated tons of publicity. In practical terms, they’re some of the strongest advocates out there for church-state separation, and I’m very proud to be a member. I shamelessly read Freethought Today every month while riding the subway or trains, held high for everyone around me to see.

  • BeeDee

    Truly, we are blest with FFRF at work.

  • incunabulum

    I wonder how much of their growth is due to their inclusion in the CFC and how many work for the federal government.

  • Stephan

    As long as you don’t count the Atheist Nexus, with 19,000 plus members…

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Their press release also mentions the results of a survey of members.

    Interesting results. If the people who returned the surveys are representative, it looks like the FFRF’s membership is mostly white (95%), mostly male (71%), and mostly older (average age: 59). It looks like it’s also highly educated. 90% of members have completed more than just a high school education.

    I used to belong to the FFRF. I let my membership lapse, but I always enjoyed their newsletter. They are a bit on the strident side, I suppose, but I thought they did important work. Americans United for Separation of Church and State also does good work in this area without being anti-religious.

  • http://stuffelaineispissedoffabout.com Elaine

    I have a small anecdote about Dan and Annie Laurie. I lived in Madison for many years; my husband is from there. We have close friends who used to live across the hall from the Barker-Gaylor residence. One day, when I was taking care of my friends’ kids, two young women knocked on the door. When I asked what they were selling, they said they were not selling anything but just wanted to talk. Oh, god, I said, is it something religious? No, no, they assured me and I let them go on. First words out of one woman’s mouth were something about my ‘soul’ needing ‘saving’ so I quickly started to shut the door, but not before I said, “Try across the hall. I’m sure they’ll love you.” I was hoping for a grand display, but unfortunately, I don’t think they were home at the time.

  • Peter Mahoney

    To me, the most interesting data from the FFRF survey was #14. “If you deconverted from religion to freethought, what was the primary catalyst?” TOP ANSWER: “Religion doesn’t make sense: 32%”

    We should keep that in mind and remember to point out the ways where religious just does NOT make sense (and there are LOTS of those).

    e.g. asking theists: “Why did God have to kill himself in order to forgive humans for being the way that he made us to be?” “Was human sacrifice (Jesus) really the best idea that an all-wise all-powerful god could come up with?” Really? Catholics: “You really think that the cracker ACTUALLY becomes the body of a Jewish guy that died 2000 years ago? Really?” Point out blatant contradictions in the Bible, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Much love to FFRF (and AU). Thank you so very much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Woo hoo!!!

    I know I’m proud to be a member.

    Me too. Actually I’m proud to be a member of them and AU. I think they both do a lot of good and I love that they so often work together these days. I value FFRF for the work they do and the Atheistic atmosphere; I value AU for the work they do and diverse atmosphere.

    I hope I can always afford to belong to both and ACLU. If I had to drop one, I’d drop the ACLU first, AU second and hang on to FFRF if possible. Love all the ACLU does too and they’ve been behind some of the most important court cases in our history but I value my freedom to disbelieve openly most and I think FFRF is the most effective of the three on that. Plus, they’re just so damned friendly.

  • edwords

    I just gave them $100 for their

    atheist “outing” new billboard campaign.

    Their Freethought Today newspaper is worth

    the membership fee. Come join.

    (Great FREE web site—FFRF.ORG)

  • edwords

    Isn’t Edwords generous?

    Let’s all join FFRF!

  • Kristin

    I found that number really surprising, knowing that the Secular humanist organization in Norway has over 77 600 members.

    Thats from a nation with a population just under 5 million.

    It makes me sad, yet I am hopeful that the atheist movement in the US is growing stronger.

  • Jack

    Thanks for the article!

    I’m a proud Lifetime Member of FFRF, and think every American who supports the constitutional principle of separation between religion & government should be a member of this fantastic organization which is on the forefront of the battle now waging nationwide.

    Their monthly “Freethought Today” newspaper is superb, and is the leading publication in the country for keeping up with issues important to us. For a limited time they’re offering a free 3 month subscription to the newspaper at their website just for telling them on which radio station you listen to their weekly “Freethought Radio” program.

    http://www.ffrf.org/news/radiopromo/

  • Anti-theist

    I love FFRF!

  • Alpo

    I am so thankful for all the progress FFRF has made in promoting Freethought– the legal efforts at federal, state, and local levels– the billboard campaign, their web site, Freethought Radio each week (via radio in some areas, or internet pod casts), the monthly Freethought Today…etc.
    Most importantly, Annie Laurie and Dan Barker and the complete staff always present freethought in a positive manner. Yes, I am a proud member and supporter.


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