Margaret Downey, founder of the West Chester-based Freethought Society, has been protecting the rights of nontheists for decades, writes Stephanie Farr for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Atheism is the last taboo in our society,” she said.
Downey formed a group for free thinkers, atheists, agnostics, and other nontheists 26 years ago. Throughout the years, the group has evolved into a national network of nontheists that promote and protect the rights of people who deny or question the existence of God.
Downey herself has represented nontheists at U.N. conferences and was the first secular humanist celebrant in Pennsylvania.
She said that she has a thick folder of death threats she received from people claiming to be “doing God’s work” by threatening her life.
Downey also founded the Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Center. This farcical mobile clinic usually runs on Friday the 13th and aims to cure people of various superstitions by having them break mirrors or walk under ladders.
Downey believes that nontheists and theists, despite their differences, have more in common than they realize.
“If we look at the things we all appreciate about life, like the love and friendship of family and friends, we can find common ground,” she said.
Read more about the Freethought Society in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.