The Board of Directors of American Atheists is made up of dedicated volunteers who oversee the operations and continued success of the organization.
Neal’s first work for American Atheists was in 1993 when he volunteered to help echo press releases through the old American Atheist FAXNet. He was one of the original volunteers who helped expand American Atheists in the eastern part of the country. Neal has served as a member of the American Atheists Board of Directors since 1995 and has served as Chairperson since 2010.
In addition to his Board service, Neal was the National Outreach Director of American Atheists from 1996 through 2001. During Neal’s tenure as National Outreach Director, he headed the American Atheists Volunteers, and organized a new national system of State Directors geared toward Atheist activism. Neal wrote the “American Atheists Activists Handbook” and the “State Director Handbook.” As National Outreach Director, he began the annual American Atheists Letter to the Editor Competition in 2000 and ran it through 2010.
Wayne Aiken is a long-time member, activist, and volunteer with American Atheists. Wayne serves as the North Carolina State Director, a member of the Board of Directors, and Secretary of American Atheists.
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 600,000 monthly downloads, and founder of one of the most popular atheist communities on the internet, The Thinking Atheist, Mr. Andrews now uses his abilities to publicly challenge the religious beliefs that defined his youth.
Mr. Andrews was elected to the American Atheists Board of Directors in 2016.
Marsha Botzer has served the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and progressive communities for over 40 years. She has served on boards of Pride Foundation, Safe Schools, Lambert House, Seattle Counseling Service, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
Marsha founded Seattle’s internationally known Ingersoll Gender Center. She is a founding member of Equality Washington, a founding member of Equal Rights Washington, a founding member of Seattle’s Out In Front Leadership Project, and a past co-chair of Seattle’s LBGTQ Commission. Marsha was elected to serve on the board of American Atheists in 2016. She currently also serves on the Generations Aging With Pride board and the Martin Luther King County Labor Council Executive Board.
Awards include the Distinguished Scholar Award from Antioch University, the William O. Douglass Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, and the Dr. Robert Deisher Founder’s Award from Seattle Counseling Service.
Matt Dillahunty is a former Southern Baptist who has been hosting The Atheist Experience for over a decade. In addition to being a highly regarded public speaker and debater, Matt also produces videos designed to help atheists become more comfortable and proficient at debating.
He enjoys performing magic and mentalism, especially when they can be used to teach lessons about skepticism. Matt lives in Austin, Texas.
Mr. Dillahunty was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015.
Kathleen Johnson has served American Atheists as an activist since 1997. She previously held the position of Military Director for American Atheists, a position she helped create to help American Atheists better serve and assist the military population and engage in military-related activism.
Mrs. Johnson served more than 22 years on active duty with the Army, retiring in 2008 at the rank of First Sergeant, and continues to serve the Army as a civilian employee. During her service, she served in several active combat zones including Iraq and Afghanistan. Also while on active duty, she earned a master’s degree in Forensic Science from the University of Florida as well as a master’s degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.
Mrs. Johnson was raised Christian but knew from a very young age that she was an atheist. She recalls attending bible school, where she attempted several times to be “saved,” but gave up because it “wouldn’t take.” After many years of service, she joined American Atheists after experiencing religious discrimination and harassment at the hands of a commander. Immediately after joining American Atheists, she searched for a military-related activist group and finding none, she founded the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and served at its first president until 2001 when she stepped down to become American Atheists’ first military director.
Mrs. Johnson’s activism includes appearances on Fox News, extensive quotes in news articles in Newsweek, AlterNet, Huffington Post, and other media outlets, and she organized a rally on the steps of the Texas state capitol to protest the removal of Thomas Jefferson from social studies texts.
Amanda Knief is the director of Iowa State University’s Lectures Program. She received her B.S. in Journalism and Communication from Iowa State and her J.D. from Drake University Law School. She worked as legislative counsel for the Iowa Legislature before working in Washington, D.C. for the Secular Coalition for America and American Atheists. She also worked as an analyst for the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service before moving back to Iowa. Amanda loves traveling and is often accompanied by her Yorkie, Sagan.
Amanda joined the Board of Directors in 2021.
Steven Lowe is an atheist activist based in Washington, D.C. Steve grew up in rural Virginia and attended the University of Virginia. After earning a BA in mathematics, Steve joined the Peace Corps where he served for two years in Zaire teaching secondary school mathematics in French. He recently retired from a twenty-year career in sales and operations with various U.S. telephone companies.
He has been active in the Freethought, Humanist, and Atheist movement since 2001, when he discovered the illuminating works of the Four Horsemen (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett). He has researched and published articles about Robert G. Ingersoll, gives walking tours about Ingersoll’s life in Washington, D.C., and founded the Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest, which has been held three times.
He is a longtime member of the board of directors of the Washington Area Secular Humanists. Mr. Lowe was elected to the American Atheists Board of Directors in 2015.
Madison Paige identifies as an atheist, anti-theist, rationalist, secularist and humanist. She is an entrepreneur, innovator, and visionary whose work and endeavors include politics, entertainment production, and raising awareness of and support for peripheral social cultures. She is the author of Punching Nazis: The Plan to End the Republican Party and is the producer of the docu-series After Democracy, scheduled for release in 2025.
Madison resides in her hometown of Washington, DC. She was elected to the Board of Directors in 2021.
Aron Ra is a science communicator and secular activist with roughly 225,000 YouTube subscribers. His videos promoting scientific skepticism, secular politics, and humanist values have been mirrored, featured, referenced, and recommended by many professional scientists, secularists, and educators.
He is Director of the Phylogeny Explorer Project, a navigable online encyclopedic depiction of the entire taxonomic tree of life. He produces the Living Science Lessons classroom supplement video series teaching high school biology according to national standards, and unapologetically includes explanations of evolution, climate change, deep-time and other culturally controversial topics in America’s “Bible Belt.” He is also the author of Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism.
Aron Ra is best known for contesting Texas’ State Board of Education in their attempts to denigrate evolution and teach notions of conservative Christian creationism in both science and history classrooms of public schools. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2019.
Jen Scott is a community organizer and grassroots activist who has planned several protests including the Ark Encounter Protests, actions countering the KKK & the Westboro Baptist Church, and is an organizer for March for Science Cincinnati and Cincinnati Pride. Ms. Scott received the 2018 American Atheists Activist of the Year award at the national convention in Oklahoma City for her work as Kentucky State Director.
In 2019, Ms. Scott co-founded the Community of Reason (COR): Atheists and Humanists of Ohio and Kentucky based in Cincinnati. COR envisions a secular society that values science, reason, integrity, compassion and true equality for everyone.
Ms. Scott was elected to the Board of Directors in 2018 in the role of Treasurer. Since joining the board, Ms. Scott has worked with the American Atheists staff on efforts to improve the tracking of expenses, to provide better oversight and accountability, and has established a budgeting process that includes the board and senior staff members. Ms. Scott is currently working on grant opportunities for the organization, as well as board development initiatives.
Mandisa Thomas, a native of New York City, is the founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism, and Islam. As a child she loved reading and enjoyed various tales of Gods from different cultures, including Greek and Ghanaian. “Through reading these stories and being taught about other cultures at an early age, I quickly noticed that there were similarities and differences between those deities and the God of the Christian Bible. I couldn’t help but wonder what made this God so special that he warrants such prevalence in today’s society,” she recalls.
Mandisa has a number of media appearances to her credit including CBS Sunday Morning, CNN.com, and Playboy, The Humanist and JET magazines. She has been a guest on podcasts such as The Humanist Hour and Ask an Atheist, as well as the documentaries Contradiction and My Week in Atheism. Mandisa currently serves on the Boards of American Atheists and the American Humanist Association, and previously for Foundation Beyond Belief, the 2016 Reason Rally Coalition, and the Secular Coalition for America. She also is an active speaker and has presented at conferences and conventions for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Secular Student Alliance, and many others.
In 2019, Mandisa was the recipient of the Secular Student Alliance’s Backbone Award and named the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Freethought Heroine for 2019. She was also the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association’s 2018 Person of the Year.
As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Mandisa works to encourage more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones. “The more we make our presence known, the better our chances of working together to turn around some of the disparities we face. We are NOT alone.”
Mandisa was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016.
Attorney P. Andrew Torrez, founded his own firm in 2015 after nearly twenty years of experience in “big firms” in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC. He represents individuals and businesses in complex civil disputes, including breach of contract and business torts, intellectual property, employment law, insurance coverage, and appeals before various state and federal appellate courts. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School (with honors) and George Washington University (summa cum laude). He is the co-host of the very popular Opening Arguments, “the legal podcast that helps you make sense of the news.”
Debby’s activist journey started young with her grassroots organizer mother who took her canvassing their neighborhood for politicians and policies. In third grade, after a unit on Greek and Roman gods, she had a blinding moment of truth that gods of all sorts did not exist and has been an atheist ever since. Attending an Orthodox Jewish day school was a key component in solidifying her atheism through extensive Torah study and exposure to dysfunctional religious reasoning.
Since then, Debby has worked in atheist and progressive spaces to make a better world for all. After working on the 2008 Obama campaign in Florida, she moved to Houston where she joined the board of the Humanists of Houston. During her time as a board member and eventually as president, Debby worked diligently to promote intersectional justice in atheist spaces not only in Houston but also nationally.
Debby currently lives in Seattle with her family of spouse, sons, dogs, and one very demanding cat. Her current focus is on co-hosting the Feminist Utopia podcast and grassroots organizing around voting rights/voting access. She joined the board of American Atheists in 2021.
Frank Zindler was the Interim President of American Atheists in 2008 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. Frank has served as the editor of American Atheist magazine and is the Director of American Atheist Press. He has been a member of American Atheists since 1976 and was a close friend of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of the organization.
A former professor of biology, psychobiology, and geology, Frank is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York Academy of Science, Society of Biblical Literature, and American School of Oriental Research. Frank is an active debater and author, and has written and spoken extensively on Biblical history, creationism, and evolution. Among his many books are The Jesus the Jews Never Knew, Through Theist Eyes: Scenes From a World That Won’t Reason (4 volumes), and Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth. His autobiography, Confessions of a Born-Again Atheist: The Implausible Lives of a Godless Guy, is his most recent book.