American Atheists has been the premier organization fighting for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion.
American Atheists was born out of a court case begun in 1959 by the Murray family which challenged prayer recitation in the public schools.
That case, Murray v. Curlett, was a landmark in American jurisprudence on behalf of our First Amendment rights. It began:
"Your petitioners are atheists, and they define their lifestyle as follows. An atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An atheist accepts that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth – for all men together to enjoy.
An atheist accepts that he can get no help through prayer, but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and to enjoy it.
An atheist accepts that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help lead to a life of fulfillment."
Now in its 51st year, American Atheists is dedicated to working for the civil rights of atheists, promoting separation of state and church, and providing information about atheism. Over the last fifty years, American Atheists has:
Fought fervently to defend the separation of religion from government
Appeared in all forms of media to defend our positions and criticisms of religion and mythology
Held atheist conventions and gatherings throughout the United States, including "Atheist Pride" marches in state capitals
Demonstrated and picketed throughout the country on behalf of atheist rights and state/church separation
Published hundreds of books about atheism, criticism of religion, and state/church separation
Published newsletters, magazines, and member alerts
Built a robust and diverse community of local affiliates, partners, and activists
Fostered a growing network of representatives throughout the nation who monitor important First Amendment issues and work on behalf of the organization in their areas
Grown a network of volunteers who perform a variety of important tasks in their community, from placing American Atheist books in libraries to writing letters and publicizing the atheist perspective
Preserved atheist literature and history in the nation's largest archive of its kind. The library's holdings span over three hundred years of atheist thought.
Provided speakers for colleges, universities, clubs, and the news media
Granted college scholarships to young atheist activists