American Atheists Name Buckner New President

Ed Buckner on MSNBC in 2007Ed Buckner (currently Treasurer of the Atlanta Freethought Society) has been named the new president of American Atheists, Inc.  He fills the position previous held by the legendary Madalyn Murray O’Hair, Ellen Johnson, and (Acting President) Frank R. Zindler.  Ed has long been active in the freethought movement, including a stint as executive director for the Council for Secular Humanism. 

(On a personal note, I’ve known Ed and his wife Diane for something like 12 years; you will never meet a nicer, more sincere couple.  I can’t imagine AA making a better choice than Ed.  He will be an excellent spokesman for the cause.  For a taste of Ed, here he is on MSNBC last year charming the dickens out of their anchorwoman.)

American Atheists describes itself as “the premier organization laboring for the civil liberties of Atheists, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion.” 

Here’s Ed’s first official statement:

Dear American Atheists Members, Volunteers, and Supporters,

I’m deeply honored to have been named as President of American Atheists by the Board. I’m determined to show all of you, in due course, that the Board, which had an important but difficult decision, was wise to choose me. I don’t know all the details of who else applied, but I know enough to know that the list of applicants included many Atheists of the first order, men and women of great promise, intelligence, creativity, and accomplishment, including leaders from within American Atheists and from beyond. While this makes me even prouder of being chosen, it also puts great pressure on me to work hard.

I promise—

1. I will put American Atheists and her members first.

2. The many other leaders and supporters of the group who make themselves available to help, with advice or work or financial contributions, will be welcomed and encouraged.

3. Communication will be a top priority, especially with Atheists wise and strong enough to be card-carrying members. The excellent blog that David Silverman edits will be a major part of that—I will read and take seriously what all of you choose to say there. I will at least occasionally contribute to the comments, always openly and under my own name. The American Atheist web-site will, with the help of many, be kept up to date.

4. American Atheists will remain true to its proud heritage as the vanguard of American atheism and religious liberty; we have always been the most forthright, unabashed, unapologetic, confident people in this nation who have no religion, and that will continue.

5. American Atheists will openly cooperate with and support other groups, local, national, or international, to the extent that doing so will serve the interests of our philosophy and our members. The only exceptions to this promise will come where there are conflicts with # 4, above.

6. If a local group of American Atheists anywhere in this nation wants me or some other official representative of the organization to visit, to speak or to debate against some bombastic preacher or condescending media personality, we will do everything we can to fulfill that want.

7. If a newspaper, radio program, TV program, or Internet show anywhere in this nation invites me or some other official representative of the organization to speak or to debate against some religious leader, we will do everything we can to fulfill that invitation.

8. The Center in Cranford New Jersey, including our fine library, will be protected and enhanced to improve its usefulness to members and to future Atheists.

I’m not Frank Zindler or Ellen Johnson or Jon Murray or Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and I won’t pretend to be—but I hope to demonstrate that the best days of American Atheists are ahead, not historical. I’m grateful, and I think all of us should be profoundly grateful, to our previous leaders, who have stood strongly and proudly for us, helping us protect our rights, our reputations, and our freedom. All of them have demonstrated wonderful creativity, wit and humor, extraordinary intelligence, and profound courage on our behalf.

Anyone who wants to know more about me can send me an e-mail message and I’ll send you a copy of what I submitted to the board when I applied.

I invite you to hold me accountable.

Ed Buckner
American Atheists, Inc.

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