Debbie Goddard

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Debbie Goddard
Born (1980-04-16) April 16, 1980 (age 38)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Known for Secular humanist activism

Debbie Goddard (born April 16, 1980 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American atheist activist and speaker, and the director of African Americans for Humanism (AAH).[1][2] Since 2006, she has worked at the Center for Inquiry, a secular advocacy and pro-science nonprofit organization, where she is currently the coordinator of the campus outreach program, CFI On Campus.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Goddard attended Catholic school as a child.[5] While raised Catholic, her father was Jewish, and she occasionally attended Jewish services with him.[6] In sixth grade, she realized that she didn't believe in God. She did not identify as an atheist until she learned that word two years later; her family and teachers were not supportive of her disbelief.[5] Her questioning of religion led to her Catholic high school scholarship being revoked.[7]

When she was a teenager, Goddard moved with her family to a primarily white suburb.[8] She attended Montgomery County Community College, and became president of the school's chapter of Campus Freethought Alliance.[9] She reconnected with black people after transferring to Temple University in Philadelphia. There, she tried to start an atheist club, but received pushback from friends who considered atheism and humanism to be "harmful, Eurocentric ideologies".[8][6] She realized that all the faces she had seen in reference to humanism and atheism were of white men.[8] She became a representative of Black Freethinkers in college.[7]

Secular activism[edit]

In 2002, Goddard joined the Center for Inquiry Metro New York Advisory Board.[10] That same year, she was profiled in an article on Beliefnet, "Godless Who’s Who", as "The Student Activist".[9]

Goddard participated in the secular movement as a volunteer and activist for several years before being hired as a field organizer by the Center for Inquiry in 2006. From 2001 to 2004, she served as the volunteer Publications Director, then as student president of the Campus Freethought Alliance,[9] an international network of student freethinkers and skeptics which became CFI On Campus.[11]

Goddard became director of African Americans for Humanism in 2010.[1] She has stated that the organization "is focused on getting more humanism into the black community and more people of color into the humanist community."[12] Goddard is one of few women of color leaders in the atheist movement.[13]


  1. ^ a b "About AAH". African Americans for Humanism. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ Richard Cimino; Christopher Smith (October 24, 2014). Atheist Awakening: Secular Activism and Community in America. Oxford University Press. p. 177. ISBN 9780199392926. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  3. ^ Greta Christina (June 18, 2015). "8 atheist leaders actually worth listening to". Salon. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Debbie Goddard Named CFI's Director of Outreach". Center for Inquiry. November 20, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Brian Josephs (April 22, 2016). "Black Atheists Explain What It's Like to Be a 'Double Minority'". VICE. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Celebrating The Diverse Spirituality And Religion Of African-Americans". The Huffington Post. February 17, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Jamila Bey (February 22, 2010). "Farthest Back in the Closet by Jamila Bey". Skepchick. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Michael Martin (February 21, 2014). "From Buddhism to Baha'i: Black Faith Spreads Across All Religions". NPR. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c "Godless Who's Who". Beliefnet. 2002. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Debbie Goddard". Center for Inquiry. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  11. ^ "About CFI On Campus". Center for Inquiry. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  12. ^ Brandon Withrow (November 19, 2016). "What It's Like to Be Black and Atheist". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  13. ^ Sikivu Hutchinson (May 4, 2013). Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels. Infidel Books. p. 119. ISBN 9780615586106. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]