2014 National Convention

Speakers

American Atheists is thrilled to present one of the most diverse speaker line-ups in the history of our National Convention. Including a professional football player, a reality television winner and sex therapist, a rock musician, bloggers, authors, activists, and many more, our speakers demonstrate the wide range of nontheists in our society. We will be announcing more speakers as we approach the convention.

Special guests Denise Stapley and Mark White will be speaking on Friday. Keynote Chris Kluwe will speak Saturday afternoon. 

A full schedule will also be released before the convention in order to ensure that attendees are able to see their favorite speakers and plan their travel accordingly. Please note that the speaker line-up may change and that any changes will be published here. 

If you would like to interview any of our National Convention speakers, please contact Public Relations Director Dave Muscato at [email protected] or by telephone at (908) 276-7300 x7.

Keynote

Chris Kluwe
Professional Football Player

Chris Kluwe is a professional football player and former punter for the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders. In recent years, Chris has become known as an outspoken advocate for equality, free speech, and other civil rights / civil liberties issues. 

Chris is one of the most visible public figures in the fight for marriage equality and, in September 2012, penned an open letter to Emmett Burns, a member of the Maryland State House, exorciating Burns for his anti-equality views and for urging the owner of the Baltimore Ravens to silence a member of the Ravens who spoke out in support of a Maryland ballot measure to legalize same-sex marriage.

Since then, Chris has been a frequent commentator and television guest on issues of equality. In addition to his activism, Chris still manages to find time to be one of the most effective punters in the NFL. Following eight years with the Minnesota Vikings, Chris signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2013.

Chris is the author of Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities.

 

Special Guests

Denise Stapley
Winner, Survivor: Philippines

Denise Stapley is the winner of Survivor: Philippines and the 25th Sole Survivor. Denise outlasted 17 other castaways to win the $1 million prize in 2012. She is the oldest female winner of Survivor and the only person to attend every tribal council and come out victorious.

Denise will share her experiences as a nontheist with overtly religious Survivor tribemates and discuss whether religion mattered when it came to survival.

Denise lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she is a licensed therapist and registered sex therapist (the only one in Iowa).

Mark White
Musician

Mark White is a founding member of the alternative rock band The Spin Doctors. Best known for Two Princes and Little Miss Can't Be Wrong, the Spin Doctors have sold millions of records and were nominated for a Grammy for Two Princes.

Mark spends his time outside of The Spin Doctors teaching and doing a number of side projects, including work with the Heavy Pets and providing backup for the Levy Sisters.

 

Speakers

Seth Andrews
The Thinking Atheist

Seth Andrews, a former Christian broadcaster and believer for 30 years, ultimately escaped the bonds of superstitious thinking to embrace the more satisfying explanations that science provides. A professional video producer, host of a weekly podcast with 250,000 monthly downloads and host of one of the most popular atheist communities on the internet, Seth Andrews now uses his abilities to publicly challenge the religious beliefs that defined his youth.

Marsha Botzer
Activist

Marsha Botzer has served the LGBT community for more than 30 years and is the founder of Seattle's Ingersoll Gender Center. Marsha has twice served as the co-chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was the national co-chair of the 2008 Obama Pride Campaign, and is a faculty member of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center's Emerging Leaders Program.

Marsha has won numerous awards for her activism and leadership and is a vocal advocate for atheists in the LGBT community.

Greta Christina
Author & Blogger

Greta Christina is one of the most widely-read atheist bloggers. She is the author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless. Greta is a regular atheist correspondent for AlterNet and has been writing about atheism and skepticism on her blog since 2005. Greta's writings have appeared in multiple magazines and newspapers, including  Skeptical Inquirer and Everything You Know About God Is Wrong.

In addition to covering atheist-related issues, Greta blogs about sexuality, being sex-positive, LGBT issues, politics, and much more. She recently released her new book Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why.

Brian Keith Dalton
Creator, Mr. Deity

Brian Keith Dalton is the creator of Mr. Deity, a video series which is among the most popular podcasts on iTunes and on YouTube. Mr. Deity has millions of viewers and has included guest appearances by Penn Jillette, Michael Shermer, Julia Sweeny, and our very own David Silverman.

Brian uses Mr. Deity to put into context the abstract religious concepts which adherents accept without a second thought in order to make people think about what it is they actually believe. 

You can see episodes of Mr. Deity on YouTube.

Matt Dillahunty
Host, Atheist Experience

Matt Dillahunty is the host of The Atheist Experience, one of the most-watched atheist shows on the Internet, which is also aired locally on Austin public television. After leaving the Navy, Matt wanted to pursue becoming a Baptist minister, but his religious studies led him to reject his Christianity. Matt is also the former President of the Atheist Community of Austin. Matt has participated in numerous debates both online and in person in front of large audiences.

Barbara Hillary
Adventurer

Barbara Hillary was born and raised in New York City and, after a career as a nurse, became an arctic explorer and adventurer. On April 23, 2007, Barbara reached the North Pole and, in 2011, at the age of 79, became the first African-American woman to reach both poles. 

Barbara has been an outspoken advocate for community improvement and was the founder of the Averne Action Association, which works to improve the quality of life in Averne, New York and the Rockaway Peninsula community. She was the founder and Editor-in-Cheif of The Peninsula Magazine, the first multiracial magazine published by an African-American woman in Queens County, New York.

Sikivu Hutchinson
Author & Activist

Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D. is the author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars and, more recently, Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels and has taught a variety of courses at UCLA, the California Institute of Arts, and Western Washington University.

Sikivu has written and spoken extensively on the politics of atheism and their implication for African Americans. She is the editor of Black Skeptics Blog and the founder of Black Skeptics LA. She currently serves as a Senior Fellow with the Institute of Humanist Studies.

Rev. Barry Lynn
Executive Director, Americans United

Rev. Barry Lynn is the Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a position he has held since 1992. Lynn earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1978 and is a member of the Washington, DC and US Supreme Court bars. He has served as legislative counsel for the United Church of Christ's Office of Church in Society and for the Washington Office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Rev. Lynn is a frequent contributor to a number of television and radio programs where he offers his perspective on First Amendment issues.

Rep. Juan Mendez
Arizona House of Representatives

Juan Mendez is a member of the Arizona State House of Representatives, where he represents District 26, which includes parts of Tempe, Mesa, and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

Rep. Mendez drew the attention of atheists throughout Arizona and all across the United States when he gave a secular invocation on the floor of the Arizona State House. He quoted Carl Sagan and urged his fellow members of the House to "root our policymaking process in the values that are relevant to all Arizonans regardless of religious belief or nonbelief."

David Morrison, PhD
Astrophysicist

David Morrison is the director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute. He is the former director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute.

Perhaps best know as the "father" of astrobiology, Dr. Morrison is also an expert in the study of asteroids and other Near-Earth Objects, planetary exploration, and a pioneer in the study of our Solar System. 

Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar
Activist

Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar is an Iraqi born writer currently living in the United States. Born in 1991, Faisal is the founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement and Secular Post. He is working on a book, Dogma, which discusses the dangers of unsubstantiated beliefs and how we can live a better life without them.

PZ Myers
Biologist & Blogger

PZ Myers is a biologist at the University of Minnesota Morris, with a special interest in developmental biology and evolution. Perhaps best-known for his extremely popular blog, Pharyngula, Myers has been a regular and outspoken critic of "intelligent design" and of religion generally. 

PZ's first book, The Happy Atheist, will be published in August 2013.

Maryam Namazie
Activist

Maryam Namazie is an Iranian-born activist within the freethough movement. She has worked as the Executive Director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees and is the spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign, which works against Sharia law in Britain.

Maryam was central to the organization of the worldwide protests against the treatment of Bangladeshi atheist bloggers.

 David Silverman
Animator & Director

David Silverman is an animator, filmmaker, and director who is perhaps best known for his work directing dozens of episodes of The Simpsons as well as the 2007 feature film The Simpsons Movie. 

Also among is numerous credits is the 2001 film Monsters, Inc. from Pixar Studios. In 2012, David directed the Academy Award nominated short film The Longest Daycare, starring Maggie Simpson. 

David is also an accomplished musician and has performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He is a current member of the Los Angeles based band Vaud and the Villains. 

 

Other speakers include:

JT Eberhard David Fitzgerald
Tom Flynn Zack Ford
Vyckie Garrison Eric Husby
Amanda Knief Tracy Lockwood
Sarah Morehead Dave Muscato
Beth Presswood Peg Sandeen
Eddie Tabash Frank Zindler

American Atheists Center
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Phone: 908.276.7300

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