Dan Barker
Born Daniel Edwin Barker[1]
(1949-06-25) June 25, 1949
Santa Monica, California
Residence Madison, Wisconsin
Alma mater Azusa Pacific University
Occupation Co-president, Freedom From Religion Foundation, author, musician
Known for Advocacy of atheism and rationalism
Criticism of religion

Daniel Edwin "Dan" Barker (born June 25, 1949) is an American atheist activist who served as a Christian preacher and musician for 19 years but left Christianity in 1984. Barker, along with his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor, is the current co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.[2] He has written numerous articles for Freethought Today, an American freethought newspaper. He is the author of several books including Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist.

Barker has been an invited speaker at Rock Beyond Belief.[3] He is on the speakers bureau of the Secular Student Alliance.[4]

Biography

Barker received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in 1970.[1] He served as associate pastor at a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) church, an Assembly of God, and an independent Charismatic church. To this day, he receives royalties from his popular children's Christian musicals, Mary Had a Little Lamb (1977) and His Fleece Was White as Snow (1978), both published by Manna Music.[5]

In 1984 he announced to his friends that he was an atheist,[6] and appeared on AM Chicago (hosted by Oprah Winfrey) later that year on a show about "kicking the religion habit".[7] Barker met Annie Laurie Gaylor when both were guests on the show. They began dating six months later and married in 1987. They have a daughter, Sabrina Delata.[8]

A successful musician, Barker has composed over 200 songs that have been published or recorded.

He is a member of the Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indian) Tribe of Native Americans, and in 1991 edited and published Paradise Remembered,[9] a collection of his grandfather's stories as a Lenape boy in Indian Territory.

Barker belongs to a number of high IQ societies.[10]

Freedom From Religion Foundation

He is the current co-president with his wife Madison, Wisconsin radio station WXXM for atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers that has included interviews with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Julia Sweeney, and Michael Newdow.

Media appearances

Man in his fifties standing and speaking wearing a tan suitcoat holding up a red book, man in his forties seated, large audience visible at right
Barker with a red Bible, debating Dinesh D'Souza at UCSD in 2011.

Barker has appeared on dozens of national television and radio programs to discuss and debate issues related to atheism and the separation of state and church. He has discussed nativity scenes on government property,[11] the campaign against a Mother Teresa stamp,[12] prayer in public schools,[13] and has appeared on Phil Donahue, Hannity & Colmes, Maury Povich, Good Morning America, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Tom Leykis.

He was featured in a New York Times article about the growing of atheism in Southern states,[14] has given addresses on his own de-conversion across the United States,[15][16][17][18][19][20] and has participated in debates around the country.[21]

Barker, along with his wife host a weekly one hour radio program Freethought Radio. It is broadcast on weekly, on Progressive Talk The Mic 92.1, out of Madison, Wisconsin. It is carried on several other stations throughout the Midwest and is available through podcast.[22]

Publications

Musicals

  • Mary Had a Little Lamb (Manna Music 1977)
  • His Fleece Was White as Snow (Manna Music 1978)

Books

Music albums

  • Night at Nakoma
  • Friendly Neighborhood Atheist (2002)
  • Beware of Dogma (2004)
  • Adrift On A Star (2013)

References

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External links

  • Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Freethought Radio