David Niose

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David Niose
David Niose speaking at the 2012 American Humanist Association conference.
Born (1962-08-20) August 20, 1962 (age 61)
Occupation(s)Attorney, Author, former President of the American Humanist Association and Secular Coalition for America

David Niose (born August 20, 1962) is an attorney, author, and activist who has served as president of the American Humanist Association and the Secular Coalition for America. In these positions he has pursued legal and advocacy efforts on behalf of secularism.[1][2][3]


Niose was born in Concord, Massachusetts. He majored in journalism at Boston University, where he graduated with a B.S. in 1984. He graduated from Suffolk University Law School in 1990, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1990. He opened his own law office in 1993.[4]

AHA and SCA activity[edit]

Niose joined the American Humanist Association board of directors in 2005. He served two terms as president of the AHA, before becoming president of the Secular Coalition. In January 2014 he left the presidency of the Secular Coalition for America to become legal director of the American Humanist Association.[5]

Upon joining the AHA board in 2005, Niose helped develop and launch a national advertising campaign promoting humanism in 2005, one of the first national ad campaigns by a secular group in America.[6][7] The campaign included a series of full-page ads in several national magazines.[8] As AHA president Niose oversaw additional advertising campaigns which have included national television, radio, billboards, and public transit.[9] These efforts have since been replicated by other secular groups.[10] In late 2011 the AHA launched a $200,000 holiday billboard campaign, placing advertisements in 7 different cities, which included a billboard reading "Yes, Virginia, there is no god.".[11]

In 2007 Niose initiated a contest sponsored by the Secular Coalition for America that resulted in Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) becoming the first member of Congress to openly identify as an atheist.[12] As AHA president Niose urged President Obama to decline the honorary presidency of the Boy Scouts until their policy to exclude atheists is changed. .[13]

Niose developed a legal strategy arguing the concept of equal rights and nondiscrimination rather than the First Amendment's Establishment Clause in cases protecting religious minorities.[14] In 2014 the AHA brought suit against a New Jersey school district, taking the approach that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was discriminatory against atheists.[15] In February 2015 a New Jersey Superior Court Judge dismissed the suit ruling that "...the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the rights of those who don't believe in God and does not have to be removed from the patriotic message."[16] This followed a similar ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in May 2014[16]

Niose has appeared on national and local media outlets speaking on secularism, humanism, law, and public policy. His television appearances include MSNBC,[17] Fox News,[18] and The Daily Buzz. National radio programs guest appearances include The Thom Hartmann Show,[19] the BBC, The Alan Colmes Show,[20] The David Boze Show with Michael Medved[21] and The Jeff Farias Show.[22] Niose has also appeared on numerous local media outlets all across the United States and has been interviewed by the National Journal.[23]

He has written for media outlets including Salon,[24] The Washington Post,[25] Newsday,[26] The Huffington Post,[27] Lawyer's Weekly publications,[28] Humanist magazine,[29] AlterNet,[30] and Progressive Populist.[31] Since 2011, Niose has written a blog on humanist and secular issues for Psychology Today.[32]

Niose is the author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, released in 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan.[33] A second book, Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, was released in 2014.[34]


  1. ^ "Massachusetts' Pledge of Allegiance Supreme Court Case". 16 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Atheists Say Congressional Prayer Caucus a Threat to US Constitution". 27 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Victory for Free Speech! AHA Wins Case over Atheist Bus Ads". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  4. ^ "Law Offices of David Niose" biography
  5. ^ "Nonbeliever Nation Author David Niose to Lead Expanding Humanist Legal Center". 2 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Board of Directors". Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  7. ^ "2012 Humanist Banquet | United Coalition of Reason". Archived from the original on 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  8. ^ "Humanist Advertisements That Didn't Make the Cut". Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  9. ^ "Humanists Launch Largest National Advertising Campaign Critical of Religious Scripture". 9 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Home | United Coalition of Reason". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  11. ^ "Ad Campaign Promoting Atheism Across U.S. Draws Ire and Protest - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
  12. ^ "Future Book Alert: Nonbeliever Nation".
  13. ^ "As organization turns 100, Boy Scouts say they're still essential", Associated Press, December 20, 2009
  14. ^ "Humanists in Massachusetts Superior Court argue against reciting pledge", Raw Story,[1] Archived 2012-02-17 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Why New Jersey atheists don't want Pledge of Allegiance in school", Associated Press, April 22, 2014
  16. ^ a b Spoto, Maryanne. "'Under God' is not discriminatory and will stay in pledge, judge says", NJ.com, February 6, 2015
  17. ^ Appearance on The Cycle
  18. ^ "Humanist group sues NJ school district over 'under God' in Pledge of Allegiance". Fox News. 20 March 2015.
  19. ^ Appearance on The Thom Hartmann Show
  20. ^ "Should the Pledge of Allegiance be Religiously Neutral? - Alan Colmes Radio Show". Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  21. ^ Appearance on the "David Boze Show, November 24, 2009
  22. ^ Appearance on The Jeff Farias Show
  23. ^ "National Journal magazine, "Betting Against the Rapture, Godless Gather in D.C. to Lobby Against Religion," May 18, 2011". Archived from the original on June 5, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  24. ^ Salon: David Niose
  25. ^ Washington Post: Americans are leaving religion, why are we still subsidizing it?
  26. ^ Newsday, "Niose: Atheists making political inroads," July 20, 2012
  27. ^ The Huffington Post, "9 Great Nonbelievers In U.S. History," July 17, 2012
  28. ^ Lawyers Weekly, "Is Establishment Clause a distraction?," Nov. 2010
  29. ^ Humanist magazine, "The Post-Theological Umbrella," Feb. 2008 Archived July 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "Why This Election Will Change Nothing and What You Can do About It". 24 October 2014.
  31. ^ Progressive Populist, "Are We More Secular than the Conservatives Would Have Us Believe?," March 15, 2009
  32. ^ http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally Our Humanity, Naturally
  33. ^ Niose, David. ''Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 ISBN 978-0230338951
  34. ^ Niose, David. Fighting Back the Right, Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 978-1137279248

External links[edit]