American Atheists - Johnson's Leadership

Johnson's Leadership

On August 27, 1995, Madalyn, Jon, and Robin O'Hair disappeared from the organization's former Austin, Texas headquarters, along with over $550,000 of the organization's funds. The three were abducted, robbed and murdered by ex-convict and former employee David Waters. Ellen Johnson succeeded Madalyn O'Hair after her disappearance.

On November 2, 2002, at the Godless Americans March on Washington, Johnson was one of the featured speakers.

In 2002, American Atheists took Wildwood, Florida to court for "displaying religious decorations at City Hall."

In 2004, the group held their 30th annual national convention. The convention attracted several best-selling atheist authors and leaders from several other secular organizations.

In July 2006, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in an interview that, "Agnostics, atheists and bigots suddenly lose all that when their life is on the line." In response Master Sgt. Kathleen Johnson, who founded the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and served in Iraq, said that was "a denial of our contributions" and "A lot of people manage to serve without having to call on a higher power." American Atheists helped organize a campaign against the "no atheists in foxholes" claim. The logo of the American Atheists is an allowed "emblem of belief" approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs "for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers".

In May 2007, ABC News featured a report on discrimination the Smalkowski family suffered from government officials in Hardesty, Oklahoma. The report included information about an ongoing lawsuit, which was filed by American Atheists on behalf of the Smalkowski family. The lawsuit alleges the Hardesty Public School District violated Nicole Smalkowski's constitutional rights. Also in May, Joe Zamecki organized a local demonstration at the state capitol building in Austin, Texas against the National Day of Prayer, in contrast to the official government creation, recognition and status of the prayer events on the day.

An announcement posted on the organization's blog on May 2, 2008 stated that Johnson was leaving the presidency of American Atheists for unspecified reasons. It was later revealed that her removal was not voluntary. Frank Zindler was named acting president, followed by presidents Ed Buckner in September 2008, and Dave Silverman in September 2010.

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Famous quotes containing the words leadership and/or johnson:

    A woman who occupies the same realm of thought with man, who can explore with him the depths of science, comprehend the steps of progress through the long past and prophesy those of the momentous future, must ever be surprised and aggravated with his assumptions of leadership and superiority, a superiority she never concedes, an authority she utterly repudiates.
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    His virtues walked their narrow round,
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