Chart: How secular candidates fared in the midterms

Election winners

District     Name      Nonreligious Label

U.S. Senate

Arizona – Kyrsten Sinema – Religiously unaffiliated

U.S. House

D-CA (District 2) – Rep. Jared Huffman (i) – Humanist

D-CA (District 25) – Katie Hill – Religiously unaffiliated

D-IL (District 6) – Sean Casten – Religiously unaffiliated

D-KS (District 3) – Sharice Davids – Religiously unaffiliated

D-MD (District 8) – Rep. Jamie Raskin (i) – Jewish and “humanist”

D-NJ (District 7) – Tom Malinowski – Religiously unaffiliated

D-NY (District 19) – Antonio Delgado – Religiously unaffiliated

D-PA (District 6) – Chrissy Houlahan – Religiously unaffiliated

D-VA (District 10 – Jennifer Wexton – Religiously unaffiliated

D-WI (District 2) – Mark Pocan – Religiously unaffiliated

State Legislatures

AZ House District 18 – Jennifer Jermaine – Religiously unaffiliated

AZ House District 26 – Rep. Athena Salman (i) – Atheist

AZ Senate District 26 – Sen. Juan Mendez (i) – Atheist

CA House District 20 – Rep. Bill Quirk (i) – “Scientist”

CO House District 23 – Rep. Chris Kennedy (i) – Agnostic

CO House District 27 – Brianna Titone – Spiritual but not religious

CT House District 88 – Rep. Joshua Elliott (i) – “Agnostic atheist”

CT House District 96 – Rep. Roland J. Lemar (i) – “Agnostic and humanist”

FL House District 49 – Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (i) – Agnostic

FL House District 69 – Jennifer Webb – Spiritual but not religious

ME House District 93 – Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center (i) – Unitarian Universalist

MD House District 20 – Rep. David Moon (i) – Nonreligious

MA House Bristol 2 – Rep. Jim Hawkins – Religiously unaffiliated

MA House Essex 18 – Tram Nguyen – Spiritual but not religious

MA Senate Second District – Sen. William Brownsberger (i) – Nontheist

NE District 8 (Unicameral) – Megan Hunt – Atheist

NV House District 15 – Howard Watts – Agnostic

NV House District 16 – Rep. Heidi Swank (i) – Atheist

NH House Cheshire 5 – Rep. John Bordenet (i) – Unitarian Universalist

NH House Grafton 8 – Rep. Suzanne Smith (i) – Religiously unaffiliated

NH House Grafton 8 – Joyce Weston – Atheist

NH House Hillsborough 17 – Rep. Tim Smith (i) – Atheist

NH House Hillsborough 21 – Wendy Thomas – Spiritual but not religious

NH House Hillsborough 28 – Rep. Jan Schmidt (i)-  Nontheist

NH House Hillsborough 38 – Chris Balch – Spiritual but not religious

NH House Hillsborough 42 – Jacqueline Chretien – Humanist

NH House Strafford 16 – Rep. Sherry Frost (i) – Atheist

NH House Strafford 25 – Rep. Amanda Gourgue (i) – Religiously unaffiliated

NH Senate District 5 – Sen. Martha Hennessey (i) – Agnostic

NY House District 74 – Rep. Harvey Epstein (i) – Agnostic

OR House District 5 – Rep. Pam Marsh (i) – Religiously unaffiliated

OR House District 11 – Marty Wilde – Unitarian Universalist

OR House District 14 – Rep. Julie Fahey (i) – Religiously unaffiliated

OR House District 28 – Rep. Jeff Barker (i) – A “religious skeptic”

OR House District 33 – Rep. Mitch Greenlick (i) – Atheist

OR House District 47 – Rep. Diego Hernandez (i) – Openly agnostic

PA House District 182 – Rep. Brian Sims (i) – Openly non-religious 

TX House District 135 – Jon Rosenthal – Agnostic

VT House Orleans-Caledonia District – Rep. Sam Young (i) – Agnostic

VT House Wash. District – Rep. Warren Kitzmiller (i) – Humanist

VT Senate Windsor District – Sen. Dick McCormack (i) – “Governs with reason”

WA House District 21a – Rep. Strom Peterson (i) – Agnostic

WA House District 22b – Rep. Beth Doglio (i) – Agnostic

WA Senate District 47 – Mona Das – Religiously unaffiliated

WI House District 48 – Rep. Melissa Sargent (i) – Agnostic

WI House District 57 – Rep. Amanda Stuck (i) – Unitarian Universalist

WY House District 45 – Rep. Charles Pelkey (i) – Agnostic

Election non-winners

U.S. House

D-CA (District 42) – Julia Peacock – Humanist

Green-IA (District 3) – Paul Knupp, Jr. – Humanist

D-KY (District 1) – Paul Walker – Humanist

D-LA (District 3) – Rob Anderson – Spiritual but not religious

D-NE (District 1) – Jessica McClure – Religiously unaffiliated

State Legislatures

AK House District 29 – Shawn Butler – Spiritual but not religious

AL House District 41 – Emily Anne Marcum – Atheist

AR State Senate District 5 – Jim Wallace – Agnostic

CA House District 5 – Carla Neal – Spiritual but not religious

CA House District 9 – Harry He – “Not religious”

CA House District 67 – Michelle Singleton – Religiously unaffiliated

CA Senate District 28 – Joy Silver – “Culturally Jewish”

CO House District 16 – Andrew Smith – Agnostic

FL House District 24 – Adam Morley – Agnostic

FL House District 53 – Phil Moore – Atheist

FL House District 77 – Alanis Elizabeth Garcia – Agnostic

FL House District 79 – Mark Lipton – Spiritual but not religious

GA House District 5 – Brian Neil Rosser – Agnostic

GA House District 7 – Rick Day – “Does not hold supernatural beliefs”

GA House District 47 – Andrea Nugent – Unitarian Universalist

GA House District 49 – Krishan Bralley – Unitarian Universalist

ID House District 13B – Chris Ho – Agnostic

ID Senate District 34 – Robert Nielsen – “Realist”

IN House District 84 – Curtis Nash – Spiritual but not religious

IN House District 91 – Kevin Leineweber – Humanist

IN Senate District 6 – Ryan Farrar – Humanist

IA Senate District 11 – Sara Ramsey – Not religious

KS House District 19 – Stephen Wyatt – Atheist

KS House District 59 – John Hall – Humanist

KS House District 67 – Alex Van Dyke – Atheist

KY House District 66 – Roberto Henriquez – Agnostic atheist

ME Senate District 15 – Kellie Julia – Religiously unaffiliated

MD House District 29C – Julia Nichols – Humanist

MD House District 31B – Harry Freeman – Secular

MD House District 37B – Dan O’Hare – “Inventor of religions”

MA House Bristol 3 – Emily Farrer – Agnostic

MI House District 56 – Ernie Whiteside – Atheist, secular humanist

MI House District 79 – Joey Andrews – Religiously unaffiliated

MI House District 82 – Christopher Giles – Agnostic atheist

MN House District 13B – Heidi Everett – Agnostic

MN House District 18A – Justin Vold – Spiritual but not religious

MN House District 21A – Lori Ann Clark – Atheist

MN House District 29A – Renee Cardarelle – Religiously unaffiliated

MO House District 13 – Mitch Weber – Spiritual but not religious

MO House District 101 – Genevieve Steidtmann – Atheist

MO House District 111 – Phoebe Ottomeyer – Religiously unaffiliated

MO House District 114 – Dennis McDonald – “None”

MO House District 133 – Cindy Slimp – Religiously unaffiliated

MO House District 134 – Derrick Nowlin – Agnostic

MO House District 161 – Elizabeth Lundstrum – Religiously unaffiliated

MT House District 9 – Robert Peterson – Naturalist

MT House District 97 – Patrick Maloney – Atheist

NV House District 26 – June Joseph – “Believes in science”

NV House District 32 – Paula Povilaitis – Spiritual but not religious

NV House District 36 – Lesia Romanov – Spiritual but not religious

NH House Belknap 3 – Carlos Cardona – Humanist

NH House Belknap 5 – Michelle Carter – Atheist

NH House Belknap 6 – Justin Bordon – Atheist

NH House Carroll 6 – David Owen – Unitarian Universalist

NH House Hillsborough 6 – Eric Emmerling – Spiritual but not religious

NH House Hillsborough 21 – Brenda Grady – Religiously unaffiliated

NH House Merrimack 2 – Scott Burns – Religiously unaffiliated

NH House Rockingham 4 Ben Geiger – Atheist

NH House Strafford 24 Rep. Brandon Phinney (i) – Atheist

NY House District 64 Adam Baumel – Secular

NY House District 105 Laurette Giardino – Humanist

NY House District 135 Andrew Gilchrist – Agnostic

NC House District 77 Bonnie Dawn Clark – Spiritual but not religious

NC House District 117 Gayle Kemp – Religiously unaffiliated

NC Senate District 48 Norman Bossert – Humanist

ND House District 1 Crysta Parkinson – Agnostic atheist

ND House District 5 Zachary Raknerud – Agnostic humanist

ND House District 45 Tim Hoye – Agnostic

ND Senate District 31 Rachele Hall – Atheist

OH House District 16 Cassimir Svigelj – Atheist

OH House District 89 Joe Helle – Religiously unaffiliated

OK House District 76 Forrest Mayer – Atheist

OK Senate District 22 William Andrews – Agnostic

OR Senate District 30 Solea Kabakov – Atheist

PA House District 92 Shanna Danielson – Agnostic

PA House District 97 Dana Hamp Gulick – Agnostic

SD House District 3 Justin Roemmick – Agnostic

SD House District 5 Brett Ries – Agnostic

SD House District 34 George Nelson – Agnostic

SD Senate District 3 Cory Allen Heidelberger – Atheist

TN House District 19 Edward Nelson – “Not a believer”

TX House District 11 Alec Johnson – Deist

TX House District 23 Amanda Jamrok – Not religious

TX House District 130 Frederick Infortunio – Spiritual but not religious

VT House Orange-Washington-Addison District – Larry Satcowitz – Atheist

WA House District 7b – Mike Bell – Agnostic

WA House District 9a – Jennifer Goulet – Secular Humanist

WA House District 35a – James Thomas – Atheist

WI House District 15 – Lillian Cheesman – Secular Humanist

WI House District 22 – Aaron Matteson – Religiously unaffiliated

WI House District 27 – Nanette Bulebosh – Religiously unaffiliated

WI House District 53 – Joe Lavrenz – Religiously unaffiliated

WI House District 84 – Erica Flynn – Religiously unaffiliated

Convention photos: Candid moments

Convention photos: FFRF boards and chapters

Convention photos: FFRF Awards

Convention photos: ‘Losing Our Religion’ movie and convention comedy

Convention photos: Clean money drawing, Voices of Reason

Each year during the convention, FFRF holds a “clean money” drawing of bills that were printed prior to 1957, when the words “In God We Trust” were added. Here are this year’s winners.


1935 Series E

Donated by Gary and Marcy Garb (Pa.)

Won by Mark Harrison (Calif.)


1935 Series E

Donated by Michelle Bock & Ruth Lilly (Texas)

Won by Randy Turner (Wash.)


1935 Series F

Donated by Diane Uhl (Ariz.)

Won by Bob Kresek (Calif.)


1935 Series G

Donated by John C. Shepherd (Ga.)

Won by Dick Kerr (Calif.)


1935 Series G

Donated by Nancy Harris (Wis.)

Won by Gail Jones (Calif.)



Donated by Raymond Greenbank (Ohio)

Won by Dolores Salomon (Calif.)


1953 Series C

Donated by Charles & Sheri Bender (Ind.)

Won by Becky Carter (Ore.)


1950 Series E

Donated by Lynne Hills (Conn.)

Won by Helga Crisp (Ky.)


1950 Series B

Donated by Craig Thomson (Pa.) 

Won by Emma Chase (Wash.)



Donated by D.A. Rickards (Ohio)

Won by Claudette StPierre (Colo.)



Donated by Ron Locatelli (Calif.)

Won by Coyote Herron (Wis.)



Donated by Shirley R. Moll (Minn.)

Won by Dolores Salomon (Calif.)

Convention photos: Staff members

FFRF sues over Wisconsin’s DOJ chaplaincy program

The Freedom From Religon Foundation is legally contesting a Wisconsin religion-centered counseling state program.

In a lawsuit filed Nov. 13 in a Dane County court, FFRF is challenging the constitutionality of a faith-based employee chaplaincy that Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel created at the state Department of Justice.

Schimel, who was defeated in his bid for re-election on Nov. 6, announced the chaplaincy program in mid-October while campaigning. The program became effective on Oct. 4, but had been in the works for at least a year.

Schimel claims that the chaplaincy program is a “critical component” of the DOJ, and has urged other state agencies to contact the DOJ staff to start their own chaplaincy programs. Six all-white men from Christian faiths, many conservative, have been formally appointed DOJ chaplains. Although unpaid, the six agency chaplains are under the direction of a paid DOJ chaplaincy program coordinator and have received training and reimbursement at taxpayer expense. They’re issued DOJ identification and building access cards and are not prohibited from soliciting donations or proselytizing employees.

Their explicit duties include providing consultation and spiritual guidance to DOJ employees and their families, and the chaplaincies are integrated into DOJ programs, including new employee classes and orientation.

“The DOJ Chaplaincy Program does not include, and affirmatively excludes, secular mental health professionals,” FFRF’s legal complaint asserts. The complaint notes that the program sets up a religious test as a condition for employment: Chaplains must be ordained or licensed clergy in good standing of a faith group. Yet they aren’t required to be professional mental health providers, or be licensed or otherwise regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, like other mental health professionals.

FFRF points out that DOJ employees are not in any way inhibited by their employment from freely exercising any religious preference they may have for religious counseling services. State employees, including nonreligious and non-Christian employees, are being encouraged to seek out Christian counseling, while being denied secular counseling services by bona fide mental health practitioners. FFRF alleges there could be life-and-death consequences due to the fact that the agency chaplains aren’t required to have necessary mental health/substance abuse training.

“There’s absolutely no need or justification for the DOJ to provide religious counseling as an accommodation, such as can be argued that the military is obliged to offer,” adds FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “This is pure and simple a case of governmental promotion of religion to state employees, and it’s not only unnecessary, it also goes against both the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions.”

FFRF is asking the circuit court to declare the program a violation of Wisconsin State Constitution, Article 1, Section 18, and of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and to enjoin the DOJ from providing chaplaincy services.

The plaintiffs are FFRF, a Wisconsin-based national group of 32,000 members on behalf of its 1,400 Wisconsin members, and Gaylor and FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, in their capacity as state taxpayers and as FFRF Lifetime Members.

Brad Schimel

New art makes Just Pretend more colorful, lively, engaging

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker’s book for children, Just Pretend: A Book for Young Freethinkers, has been given a deluxe makeover.

Originally published in 1988, the book had a second edition printed in 2002 in a smaller format. Both were printed in black and white. The new 2018 edition is printed in a glossy paperback format with dozens of colorful illustrations drawn by art student Kati Treu.

“We realized that we should utilize the artistic talents of Kati to make the book more attractive,” Barker said. “This edition is really driven by the art. In fact, we edited some of the copy to better fit the great artwork.”

Treu illustrated each page to bring the book to life.   

“I just started with some rough sketches, then showed them to Dan, and we got them sharpened more and then I did the final illustrations,” Treu said. “My favorite drawing is of ‘Imagination Anonymous,’ where I got to create my version of all those fictional characters.”

Just Pretend is a children’s book that teaches kids (and adults) how to think clearly, how to question authority when necessary, and how to separate fantasy from fact. It gets children to think about and explore myths like Santa Claus (spoiler alert!) compared with ideas like the existence of God. Just Pretend encourages children to apply the tests of reason to any idea, fairy tale, myth, or religion.

“Children are smart,” Barker said. “They can think for themselves.”

Order the book ($12 postage-paid) at

Artist Kati Treu and author Dan Barker show off the updated version of the children’s book, Just Pretend. (Photo by Chris Line)
Just Pretend

FFRF, AHA ask Supreme Court to let cross victory stand

Two of the country’s leading secular groups have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand their victory declaring unconstitutional a massive cross in a Florida city park.

FFRF and the American Humanist Association  filed a brief Nov. 19 opposing the city of Pensacola’s efforts to overturn the recent 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision declaring the city’s massive Christian cross towering over Bayview Park a violation of the First Amendment.

The filing argues that Supreme Court review is unwarranted because the law is clear and does not need to be disturbed. Numerous court decisions already make it clear that religious displays motivated by a religious purpose are unconstitutional, so there is no need for review.

“Of the 33 federal cross cases, not a single circuit has upheld a stand-alone Latin cross, let alone one motivated by a purely religious purpose,” the brief states. “That uniformity is proof that this court’s jurisprudence currently provides more than sufficient guidance to the lower courts to yield consistent results.”

The two groups filed their initial lawsuit on behalf of local residents in the U.S. District Court of Northern Florida in 2016. The case contended that the 34-foot-tall cross overwhelming Bayview Park and

Pensacola cross

maintained by the city of Pensacola represents a clear preference for the Christian faith over other beliefs and nonbelief.

The district court sided with the national secular organizations in a June 2017 decision, ordering the removal of the city’s massive Christian cross. In early fall of 2018, the 11th Circuit upheld the decision, agreeing that the government-funded, freestanding cross unconstitutionally entangles the government with the Christian faith. On Sept. 17, the city petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a writ of certiorari urging the high court to overturn the ruling. The brief reflects the determination of the two organizations to protect their constitutional triumph.

“The city failed to present a question that demands Supreme Court review,” explains AHA Senior Counsel Monica Miller. “Federal courts have uniformly recognized that a government’s freestanding Christian cross display violates the Establishment Clause. This is especially true of crosses maintained for exclusively religious ends, such as Pensacola’s cross, which serves as the centerpiece for annual Christian worship services.”

“Courts have marched in virtual lockstep in striking down Christian cross displays on government property,” adds FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert. “There’s simply no reason the Court needs to review the sound decision by the 11th Circuit.”

FFRF contends that a city has the duty to equally serve all its residents.

“This huge city-sponsored cross impermissibly signals that Pensacola has a Christian government and that Christian citizens are favored,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We are legally and morally in the right, and our victory should stand.”

The AHA concurs with this perspective.

“All residents of Pensacola have the right to enjoy the parks that their tax dollars maintain,” says Roy Speckhardt, AHA executive director. “We are looking forward to a city park that is welcoming to all.”