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.
August Berkshire co-founded the modern atheist movement in Minnesota in 1984 with the Twin Cities Chapter of American Atheists, which became Minnesota Atheists in 1991. He is chair of the Minnesota Atheists’ legislative committee. He has testified at the Minnesota State capitol numerous times, has authored a bill legalizing atheist wedding celebrants that is currently before the state legislature, and has co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief on marriage equality.
He is the author of numerous pamphlets on atheism and related topics. His friendly atheism has garnered him repeated speaking engagements at Christian high schools and colleges, among other places. Since 2002 he has owned the ATHEIST car license plate for Minnesota.
He served on the American Atheists national Board of Directors in the late 1980s and was pleased to return to duty in 2015.
Marsha Botzer has served the LGBTQ 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.
Ms. Botzer has won numerous awards for her activism and leadership and is a vocal advocate for atheists in the LGBTQ community.
Ms. Botzer was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016.
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.
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.
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 & Westboro Baptist Church, and rallies including the March for Science and Pride Parade in Cincinnati. 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.
Ms. Scott was elected to the Board of Directors in 2018 in the role of Treasurer.
Mario Stanton is a paramedic/firefighter and founder of the Black Atheists group on Facebook. Since 2009, Black Atheists (BA) has grown to about 7,000 members with hundreds of posts daily. The group had been featured in The New York Times and The Griot. It had also spawned several other Facebook groups.
Mr. Stanton has been an activist and mentor since he was in high school. In 11th grade, he held talks with several junior high and middle school students about self-esteem and non-violent conflict resolution. At 17 years old, he volunteered for a local environmental group and would canvass door to door for donations or to inform the public about projects that would adversely affect Missouri’s natural treasures. He volunteered with many political campaigns and was involved in the labor movement. He also volunteered as a youth baseball coach and still mentors young, at risk, inner city youth.
Mr. Stanton believes in secular humanistic values including charity, kindness, fairness, and empathy. He is known for his generosity, outgoing nature, courtesy, kindness, and sense of humor. He was elected to serve on the American Atheists Board of Directors in 2015.
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.
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.