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Venting to the World

11 Amazing Atheist Women Profiles

Below are some strong, smart and beautiful atheist women. There are others out there, but I am listing these first:

1. Susan Jacoby: Susan is member of the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America, a national lobbying organization representing the interests of secular Americans and is program director of the New York branch of the Center for Inquiry. She is currently a panelist for “On Faith,” a Washington Post-Newsweek blog on religion. She is the author of ten books, such as “The Age of American Unreason” and “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism” and a frequent contributor to national magazines and newspapers, and the recipient of numerous awards.

2. Margaret Downey: Margaret founded the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) and the Anti-Discrimination Support Network (ADSN) in 1993. In 1994 Margaret founded the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee.She is active in issues such as maintaining the Jeffersonian wall of church/state separation, freedom from religious intrusion, freedom of choice, and death with dignity. ADSN is concerned with discrimination against the Atheist community. ADSN monitors public office positions and public schools. In December of 1991 Margaret filed a discrimination case against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) through the Human Relations Commission of Pennsylvania. After nearly eight years she lost her case against BSA. In the U.S. Supreme court case James Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, BSA declared itself “private” to avoid the question of open membership thus ending her appeal and many other court cases against BSA’s discriminatory membership policy. ADSN efforts are responsible for convincing movie producer Steven Spielberg to disassociate himself from BSA. In the year 2002, Margaret became the first Secular Humanist Celebrant in Pennsylvania. Taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s “Self-Uniting” marriage licenses; Margaret performs godless weddings and funeral ceremonies.

3. Ellen Johnson: Ellen is an activist for atheist rights and the separation of church and state in the United States. She was president of American Atheists from 1995–2008. 2005 she appeared on an ABC special, “Heaven – Where Is It? How Do We Get There?”, for which she was interviewed by Barbara Walters. She appeared on Larry King Live in April 2005, Good Morning America in December 2005, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country on December 14, 2004, and appeared on Fox News three times in November and December 2003, and MSNBC’s Phil Donahue.

4. Julia Sweeney: Julia is an actress and comedian who worked in productions such as the big screen in Pulp Fiction, Clockstoppers, Whatever It Takes, and Stuart Little. She was also partr of the SNL cast from 1990-1994. Sweeney has created and performed three autobiographical monologues, God Said Ha!, In the Family Way, and Letting Go of God.

5. Annie Laurie Gaylor: Co-founder and Co-president (along with Dan Barker) of the Freedom from Religion Foundation ( Executive editor of Freethought Today and author of “Woe to the Women: the Bible tells Me So”, “Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children”, & “Women Without Superstition: No Gods – No Masters”

6. Melody Hensley: Melody is the Executive Director for Center for Inquiry DC. The Center for Inquiry is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes defends reason, science, and freedom of inquiry in all areas of human endeavor.

7. Lori Lipman Brown: Lori has served as a state senator, lobbyist, lawyer, educator, and social worker supporter. She served as the founding director of the Secular Coalition for America from 2005 to 2009. In this position, she was the first Congressional lobbyist explicitly representing nontheistic Americans. During her directorship, the organization grew from a coalition of 5 national organizations with one staff, to a coalition of 10 national organizations with six staff.

8. Shelley Mountjoy: Shelley Mountjoy is a graduate student at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia where she is President of the Secular Student Alliance (GMU) and Vice President of the Graduate and Student Professional Association. Off campus, Shelley serves as a leader of several local groups and has organized over 300 educational, activist, community service, and social events. In July of 2009, Shelley co-founded District of Columbia Atheists, Inc. (DCA); she is currently President. DCA is organized as a representative democracy and is the first and only formal organization for atheists in the Nation’s Capital. She’s currently writing a book with Christopher Arntzen (former head of GAYLAH) called “godless DC” which will be released in late 2010. Shelley is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Secular Student Alliance.

9. Lorena Rios: Lorena is the president of Aelis Realty Group, LLC, a green company specializing in Earth Friendly homes and sustainable real estate. She is also an member of the Capital Beltway Atheists, a large group of atheists in the Virginia, Maryland and DC area.

10. Andrea Griffith: Andrea, The Social I.Q. Lady™, is an expert in Social Intelligence. She uses that expertise to help atheists combat the everyday problems associated with superstition, religion, and ignorance. Know exactly what to say and do when someone says, “God bless you” after you sneeze or wants to pray before a meal. Learn how to counter the arguments of the religious right using facts and logic at

11. EllenBeth Wachs: EllenBeth is President of the Humanists of Florida Association as well as Vice President and Legal Affairs Coordinator for the Atheists of Florida, Inc. She is an outspoken activist demanding equal rights for atheists and absolute separation of church and state. She has taken on her local City Commission, School Board and a fundamental Christian Sheriff over constitutional violations and has paid for it with her freedom. The sheriff initiated investigations and trumped up charges to silence this vocal activist. She is also an outspoken advocate for the secular sobriety movement and founded a local chapter of SOS, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a rational alternative to the 12 step faith-based model.


May 31, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Being a woman | 7 Comments

The Changing Nature of Jobs

The Federal Government, under Barack Obama’s auspice, is pushing for an increase in teleworking. Teleworking has many benefits (and some downside as well). Let’s count the reasons why teleworking is being actively promoted:

1) The Federal Government is largely located in the DC/MD/VA triangle. The DC Beltway has the second worse traffic in the country (after LA). Having civil and military personnel working from home one or two days a week may increase traffic by 25% during rush hours;
2) Less cars on the road, less pollution in the air;
3) Less office space required in the government (people can even share offices in different days);
4) Less personal expenses when you work from home;
5) Better quality of life.

With 99% of work done in computers nowadays, it makes sense that if you have a work laptop at home you can do basically the same you do in the office. With video-conferencing capabilities having improved greatly in the last 5 years, you can also attend “meetings” while seeing presentations. When it comes to the downside of working from home we can cite:

1) Lack of productivity. Counter argument: supervisors now look more for results than micromanaging what every employee is doing every minute of his day. If there work is done well and on time, the fact the person is working from home will not make a difference.
2) Lack of social interaction. That can be resolved by making teleworking not daily, and by promoting events and meetings where people can interact.
3) Privacy at home: people with small children or pets have to find a space at home where they can work undisturbed.
4) 24/7 work. Some people feel that if they have work blackberries or smart phones they will be forever accountable and plugged in. What is needed is self control that you will not check work messages or respond to them in your off hours.

Besides telework, and maybe because of the mobility it offers, the future may hold a different work life for most of us. I think people will not have only one job, one occupation, where they will dedicate 100% of their day. People will be more inclined to work in temporary or seasonal assignments, mix activism and special interests with paid work, still be productive while “on vacation”, and have different professions at the same time. One can work as an accountant, write a book, do volunteer work and dedicate oneself to a special hobby-all because their time will not be imprisoned in an office or cubicle all day long.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Workplace | Leave a comment

Cultural Differences: Homework

Brazilian children are raised to be less independent in every way. Many children are still raised with nannys and maids who make their beds, pick up their clothes, do their laundry and prepare their food. Teenagers cannot drive until they are 18, so mothers take them drive them everywhere. Middle class teenagers don’t normally take buses because parents don’t feel they are safe, so they are dependent on their mothers. An American teenager at the same age is a lot more independent and able to move around more independently. And since most Brazilian children live with their parents way into their 20’s, they are less apt to deal with life’s challenges.

Brazil is still a matriarchal society, and fathers have less involvement in their children’s lives. It’s uncommon to see fathers playing ball with their sons, or taking their children to the playground. Young kids may be with the nanny, with the mother and sometimes with the couple. Unfortunately, Brazilian men still think their role is to work only outside the home.

Now, when it comes to homework, Brazilian parents are not very hands on, while American parents think they should be involved on a daily basis. In Brazil, very few parents help their children do their homework. It is the child’s responsibility. Obviously parents may help when the child does not understand something, but they don’t monitor it the way American parents do.

When it comes to homework, I can offer my personal experience: I never had to worry about my children’s homework , and I may have helped them (explaining something they didn’t understand) only a couple of times each. They were both excellent studies through elementary, middle, high school and College. In my perspective, it’s the kids’ responsibility to do their homework. If the homework is not done, they need to feel the consequences. When they grow up, no one will tell them they have to go to work every morning or pay their bills, so it’s part of the learning curve of life.

Not every parent can sit back and relax like I did though. Some children do need help in understanding a task, and many children do need to be coaxed into remembering and completing their homework. Now, no matter how unmotivated or behind your child is, NEVER do the homework for them. You are not allowing them to think, you are taking away their responsibility and you are actually cramping their learning experience. Don’t be a helicopter parent!

May 17, 2011 Posted by | Difference between cultures | 2 Comments