On the heels of the recent announcement of Richard Dawkins‘ addition to our lineup, comes another atheist power hitter. Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), Dan Barker, has agreed to be a speaker and musician at our upcoming secular festival on Fort Bragg. The FFRF are dedicated to empowering non-theists, and protecting the constitutional separation of Church and State. Dan is a very well spoken atheist and activist, and FFRF’s legal department certainly had a very big year in 2010.
From his bio:
DAN BARKER is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. A former minister and evangelist, Dan became a freethinker in 1983. His books, Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children and Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher To Atheist are published by the Foundation. His newest book, Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists, was published by Ulysses Press in 2008. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Religion, Dan now puts his knowledge of Christianity to effective freethought use. A professional pianist and composer, Dan performs freethought concerts and is featured in the Foundation’s musical cassettes, “My Thoughts Are Free,” “Reason’s Greetings,” “Dan Barker Salutes Freethought Then And Now,” a 2-CD album “Friendly Neighborhood Atheist,” and the CD “Beware of Dogma.” He joined the Foundation staff in 1987 and served as public relations director. He was first elected co-president in November 2004.
Missing from his Biography is his new book, The Good Atheist. Why is it missing? Because it’s not out yet! It is days away from being released, but you can pre-order it here. We are extremely grateful that Dan would agree to take a break from his book tour to do our event. Here is a breakdown of the book from Amazon:
For a Christian, it is faith that gives their life purpose. In his best-selling book The Purpose Driven™ Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, Rick Warren says, “You must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”But as a non-believer, your purpose resides in yourself; it is yours alone to discover and develop. It’s about choosing to live your own life for your own reasons. No one can dictate your purpose. You decide.
This book will help you understand and appreciate why freely choosing to help and cooperate with others is the true path to finding purpose. Life does not need purpose: Purpose needs life. To punctuate this point, The Good Atheist includes inspiring biographies of humanity’s true heroes—men and women who did not waste their lives as slaves to a God, but rather found purpose in enhancing life on this Earth for all of us.
Shortly after the National Day of Prayer was ruled unconstitutional, Dan Barker was featured once again on Fox News to discuss that. Prompting the discussion was the ironically appropriate announcement that the Army had disinvited Evangelist Franklin Graham from the an official prayer event.
Franklin Graham is the brains behind the Rock the Fort events that continue to proselytize evangelical Christianity to soldiers. Converting as many soldiers on stage is one of their stated goals. Their websites brag about the fact that they converted 500 at one event, 123 at another, etc. Rock the Fort events allow Franklin Graham to circumvent his ban and prey upon soldiers. Rock the Fort’s visit to Fort Bragg on September 25, 2010 drew heavy objection from the FFRF (and others) and of course is the basic inspiration for Rock Beyond Belief.
Dan and wife Annie Laurie Gaylor, his partner in justice, are certainly no strangers to advocating for the respect of ‘Foxhole Atheists’. The two also host the immensely popular podcast and national radio show, Freethought Radio. Their guests have included, Richard Dawkins, Julia Sweeney, Janeane Garafalo, Ron Reagan, Betty Rollins, Christopher Hitchens, Steven Pinker, and Ursula K. Le Guin. The episode that aired yesterday featured one of the so-called ‘four horsemen of atheism’, author Daniel C. Dennett. It will be available as a podcast by Tuesday here.