Women all over the world are seen to be getting more and more active, even in areas which were said to be men's bastions. Why then are there far fewer women atheists compared to men? Are women more religious? Are they still dominated by their men? Or by religious authorities? Are they too busy in their domestic affairs or are they simply not concerned? What is it? 


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Anne and Annie Laurie, 1976, after founding the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

"Whenever I hear people suggest that if there were no 'religion,' and no fear of God's wrath, there would be no morality, I wish they could meet Anne Gaylor, her family, her many colleagues in this organization, and the countless other 'non-believers' who are working every day to repair the world." --Anne Treseder

(Anne Treseder's full tribute, "Anne Gaylor--Mentor and Friend," can be read here.)

There were those in the feminist movement Anne was heavily involved in, who told her that her atheist activism was "hurting the cause." Ironically, there were a few in the freethought movement who told her that her feminist activism was "hurting the cause"!


I can understand critizism from other women involved in equality if they are god-believers. They never back off their Jesus trick pony.


As far as critizism from other atheists that can happen. Some freethinkers/atheists believe that being 'nice' is the only way to go. So they disaprove of any militant postings or feelings. They will ask, 'Why are you so angry?'....and what they don't realize due to not having enough experience in life with god-believers is that those 'angry' atheists are not angry really - they are in self-defense mode. Protecting themselves against the next onslaught of Christianity that will certainly interfere in their lives. I could name dozens of such onslaughts but I think you get the picture.

Steven, "nice" doesn't solve problems, does it!  Silence doesn't either. Nor does believing the in the "Passive Gospel."

Fear, doubt, confusion, social pressure, and expecting god to hit me with a bolt of lightning when I thought there is no god kept me bound. 

Anger is a necessary but not sufficient tool to escape dogma and to generate the courage to take a risk.  So, when I hear or read angry women feminist atheists, I respond with a resounding "YES".  That is not the end of the story.  Critical thinking, reasoning, questioning, discussing, these are all tools that create a solid foundation upon which to build a new value system. 

David, you are so right about women assuming a self-defense mode.  The ghosts of the spirit world haunts one until the cobweb get cleaned out.  

Perhaps the reason I was so afraid being in Facebook and getting threatening, private emails and phone calls was I had a few more cobwebs to sweep out.

Probably I will feel fear again, but I expect to feel stronger, more confident, more certain as I take this path.  

I am angry about a lot of things that god-believers get away with, starting with the fact that mega-churches pay NO taxes on their lavish campuses while I can barely afford to ransom my little old house back from the State of CA-CA every year.

Not only do they pay no taxes, religious organizations don't even have to file a Form 990 with the IRS every year as all other "non-profits" are requred to do.  (And nobody needs to tell me that many churches make a hefty profit. That's the only thing L, Ron Hubbard was ever right about in his misbegotten life.) 

I am angry about the attempts to take over our public schools...from prayers at football games (unheard of 50+ years ago) to wanting "equal time" for creationism in science classes. Our school curricula are already dumbed-down enough as it is.

I am angry that our political campaigns have been taken over by the "holier-than-the next-guy" crowd when we have more critical issues to discuss.

I am angry that more respect is given to certain people just because they have plonked "Rev." in front of their names, no matter how ignorant or criminal they might be.

I am angry that so many child-raping priests have gone unpunished for  years just because they were "men of the cloth" (what does that mean. anyway?), and their bishops were able to shuffle them around to other parishes without contacting the local police, or Child Protective Services.  I'm angry that too many parents disbelieved what their victimized children told them, when the child got up the courage to speak out...

And on and on.  ALL our lives are being turned upside-down by those xians who think they have the right to remake our history, policies, government, everything that once made America something to be proud of.  And the worst of it is, they are subtly succeeding because fanatic believers automatically get respect from the majority who think any religion is better than none.

If I were physically able (I'm not), I would have been out there in the streets of Los Angeles, or Pasadena, with the "Occupy" people.  (I tried to get them interested in holding a small demonstration in front of the NBC headquarters in my own town, so that I could join in for a while, but kept getting answering machines and no call-backs.)

I would even like to picket churches, with a poster of a bleeding Jesus superimposed over a communion wafer, the caption saying, "Are you really going to EAT that?!" But I need to get one of those old-lady scooters, first.

But...in the meantime, "We've got trouble, folks, right here in River City... "

That scares the *bleep!* out of me, and when I am afraid, I get angry.

Wow! That's some right-on-the-money rant! I'm with you 100% on all those issues. I think that might be a good topic to explore here on AN---how does a non-theist who is angry about the hypocrisy that you so ably detailed avoid allowing this to turn to resentment and fester to the detriment of his/her gut? Sometimes I get so tired of being so acutely aware of the mendacity and deviousness of simple-minded religionists.

why don't they have a like button in here........?

Alice, YES! A "like" button is just what I need.  

like :)

I agree, Lary9.  How do non-theists challenge theist hypocrisy, their intrusions, impositions, and violence?  What are some strategies we can use to confront them while maintaining our dignity and strength of conviction.? 

Remember during the 1960s, the photos when blacks were integrated into southern schools?  The faces of whites were grotesque; blacks looked determined and strong; so many images come to mind.  The photos of the Occupiers reveal no such vitriol, at least not that I have seen.  The ugliness is from the police arrests and their use of pepper spray, just as the 1960s police  use of dogs and fire hoses.

sk8eycat  Powerfully written; your specific examples of things that make you angry ring true and worthy of anger.  Attempts to get Creationism into public school science departments are outrageous and need to be challenged.  

Along with the POPE telling entire countries not to ever use condoms or learn about sex education - thus millions of children born only to die early and the women are simple tools of this ignorant man.

When I was posting lots on F/B I was 'threatened' all the time. Being told the many different ways I will certainly burn-in-hell forever was a badge of honor. I knew I was rattling their cage. That's a good thing and it's well past due.

Photo by Brent Nicastro.
ANNE NICOL GAYLOR is a founder and president emerita of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She served as executive director from 1978 to 2005, and is now working as a consultant to the Foundation. Born in rural Wisconsin, she is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She owned and managed successful small businesses and was co-owner and editor of an award-winning suburban weekly newspaper. A feminist author, she has done substantial volunteer work for women's rights (including serving as volunteer director of the Women's Medical Fund). Under her leadership the Freedom From Religion Foundation has grown from its initial three Wisconsin members to a national group with representation in every state and Canada.

Slideshow of Anne Gaylor & FFRF activism
See Anne Gaylor's online writings.




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