2013 National Convention

Austin, TX

American Atheists was proud to present a diverse line up of atheists from all walks of life, including philosophers, scientists, politicians, bloggers, authors, and many more. In addition to our diverse speakers, we presented music and comedy from a number of fantastic entertainers.

For a full schedule of events, please visit the schedule page.

Our 2013 National Convention featured:

AC Grayling
A.C. Grayling
Author & Professor

A.C. Grayling, MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSL, FRSA is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. He has written and edited over twenty books on philosophy and other subjects; among his most recent are "The Good Book", "Ideas That Matter", "Liberty in the Age of Terror" and "To Set Prometheus Free." He is a frequent contributor to the Literary Review, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Times Literary Supplement, Index on Censorship and New Statesman, and is an equally frequent broadcaster on BBC Radios 4, 3 and the World Service. He writes the "Thinking Read" column for the Barnes and Noble Review in New York, is the Editor of Online Review London, and a Contributing Editor of Prospect magazine. 

In addition he sits on the editorial boards of several academic journals, and for nearly ten years was the Honorary Secretary of the principal British philosophical association, the Aristotelian Society. He is a representative to the UN Human Rights Council for the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, the Patron of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association, a patron of Dignity in Dying, and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

Pete Stark
Pete Stark
Former Congressman

Pete Stark is the former U.S. Representative for California's 13th congressional district, serving from 1973 until 2013. He was the 5th most senior Representative, as well as 6th most senior member of Congress overall. His district lied in southwestern Alameda County and includes Alameda, Union City, Hayward, Newark, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Fremont, as well as parts of Oakland and Pleasanton. Congressman Stark is the first congressional representative to publicly identify as an atheist. Rep. Stark was named the 2008 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association.

Katherine Stewart
Katherine Stewart
Author

Katherine Stewart started her career in journalism working for investigative reporter Wayne Barrett at The Village Voice and freelanced for Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire and others. She co-wrote the book about the musical Rent and, after moving to Santa Barbara in 2005, published two novels about 21st century parenting. Most recently she has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, the Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, and Religion Dispatches. Stewart is the author of 2012-published "The Good News Club," a chilling exposé of the well-funded, highly coordinated effort by Christian Nationalists to use public schools to advance a fundamentalist agenda

Jay Jay French
Jay Jay French
Musician

Jay Jay French is a founding member and the lead guitarist for the band Twisted Sister and helped manage and produce albums for the band Sevendust. Mr. French is also the founder of the Pinkburst Project after his daughter was diagnoses with uveitis, to help raise awareness and funds for a cure.

Richard Carrier
Richard Carrier
Author

Richard Carrier is the author of Sense and Goodness Without God and Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, and many other books. With a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University, he now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome.

Richard Carrier is a world-renowned author and speaker. As a professional historian, published philosopher, and prominent defender of the American freethought movement, Dr. Carrier has appeared across the country and on national television defending sound historical methods and the ethical worldview of secular naturalism.

Janet Heimlich
Janet Heimlich
Author

Janet Heimlich is an award-winning journalist and the author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, the first book to take an in-depth look at religiously motivated child abuse and neglect in the United States. For eight years, Ms. Heimlich freelanced as a reporter for National Public Radio. Her work won nine journalism awards, including the regional Katie, given by the Press Club of Dallas; the Houston Press Club’s Radio Journalist of the Year; and the Texas Bar Association’s Gavel Award. She also writes non-fiction articles for such publications as Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, and the Texas Observer. Ms. Heimlich received a B.A. in Communications from Stanford University.

Hemant Mehta
Hemant Mehta
Blogger & Author

Hemant Mehta is the editor of FriendlyAtheist.com and a National Board Certified high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. His most recent book is The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide (Patheos Press, 2012).

He has worked with the Center for Inquiry and the Secular Coalition for America, received scholarships from American Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and appeared on CNN and FOX News Channel. Hemant currently serves on the board of directors for Foundation Beyond Belief (a charity organization targeting non-theistic donors) after spending several years as the chair of the board of the Secular Student Alliance (which creates and supports college atheist groups nationwide).

Greta Christina
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 the notable 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.

Teresa MacBain
Teresa MacBain
Former Preacher

Teresa became a non-believer after more than twenty years of ministry throughout the deep south. Her ministry experience began early in life, serving alongside her father who was a Baptist minister. She taught in Christian Schools for many years, served as a worship pastor, associate pastor and ultimately senior pastor. Teresa holds the distinction of being the first female graduate of The Clergy Project, a private, invitation-only "safe house" community of current and former ministers who no longer hold the supernatural beliefs of their religious traditions. As a former minister, Teresa brings a broad understanding of the religious lifestyle and its effects on personal well-being to the non-theist movement. Teresa was formerly the Public Relations Director of American Atheists and is now the Executive Director of the Humanist Association of Florida

Matt Dillahunty
Matt Dillahunty
Blogger & Vlogger

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 getting out of the Navy, Matt wanted to pursue becoming a Baptist minister, but his religious studies led him to reject his Christianity. Matt is also the President of the Atheist Community of Austin. Matt has participated in numerous debates both online and in person in front of large audiences.

Hector Avalos
Dr. Hector Avalos
Professor

Dr. Avalos is a professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University and the author of several books about religion. He is a former Pentecostal preacher and child evangelist. He has a Doctor of Philosophy in Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern Studies from Harvard University, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. Avalos is an internationally recognized opponent of neo-creationism and the intelligent design movement, and is frequently linked to Guillermo Gonzalez, an astrophysicist and proponent of intelligent design who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in 2007.

Mandisa Thomas
Mandisa Thomas
President, Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

Mandisa Thomas is a founder and current President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. and co-host of the Black Freethinkers BlogTalk Radio Show. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism and a bit of Islam. Mandisa works to encourage more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones.

David Tamayo
David Tamayo
Founder, Hispanic American Freethinkers

David Tamayo is the founder of the Hispanic American Freethinkers. HAFree is the first and only national Freethought organization for Latinos. David formed the group out of concern for the lack of Freethought and critical thinking skills within the Hispanic community. The organization strives to promote freethinking, skepticism, humanism, and scientific criticism of the supernatural within the Hispanic community. David was a speaker at the Reason Rally in Washington, DC.

Cara Santa Maria
Cara Santa Maria
Senior Science Correspondent, The Huffington Post

Cara Santa Maria is the senior science correspondent for The Huffington Post, where she hosts and co-produces a weekly video series called "Talk Nerdy To Me." She's also a co-host on the new Weather Channel series, "Hacking The Planet." A North Texas native, Cara currently lives in Los Angeles. Prior to moving to the west coast, she taught biology and psychology courses to university undergraduates and high school students in Texas and New York. Her published research has spanned various topics, including clinical psychological assessment, the neuropsychology of blindness, neuronal cell culture techniques, and computational neurophysiology.

 

Other speakers included:

Seth Andrews Ophelia Benson Jamila Bey
Bethany Brittain Amanda Brown Ed Buckner
Ryan Cragun Jerry DeWitt Margaret Downey
J. T. Eberhard Nick Fish The Godless Bitches
David Gozlan Justin Griffith Abby Hafer
Rebecca Hensler Keith Lowell Jensen Edwin Kagin
Amanda Knief Linda LaScola Dale McGowan
Amanda Metskas Kelly Mochel Sarah Morehead
Tony Pinn Beth Presswood Dr. Robert Price
Quiet Company Aron Ra Cristina Rad
Edwina Rogers Amy Davis Roth Blair Scott
Greydon Square Andy Thomson Eddie Tabash
Tombstone da Deadman Frank Zindler Indra Zuno

 

 

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Phone: 908.276.7300

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