The first time I heard Robyn Blumner‘s name, it was in conjunction with a 2004 column she had written for the St. Petersburg Times (now called the Tampa Bay Times) in which she outed herself as an atheist:
I don’t expect to be applauded for these views since they are out of step with the majority of Americans, but neither should I be despised for them. Yet, I will be. I can already imagine the torrent of hate mail, with readers accusing me of all sorts of vile human derangements just because I subscribe to reason and logic to explain the world rather than faith.
America is a country steeped in religion and as such I expect to be bombarded by it. I take no issue with the right of religious people to proselytize, to erect houses of worship on every corner or to broadcast their fervor on television and radio. All I ask in return is a little consideration for the millions of us who don’t join in the “good news.“
That column was published the same month that Sam Harris‘ The End of Faith came out. While columns like that may be commonplace now (at least online), they sure as hell weren’t a decade ago. She was given an award by the Freedom From Religion Foundation later that year for her piece and the conversation it sparked.
Blumner has been a strong advocate for the values shared by many non-theists for years now, having led ACLU affiliates in both Utah and Florida before becoming a columnist. Yesterday, she took perhaps the largest step in our direction, taking on the role of the new Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science: