Meet a member: Executive Board member passionate on state/church separation

Todd Peissig sells chances to win “clean money” (without “In God We Trust” on it) during the FFRF convention in Madison, Wis., in 2019.
(Photo by Ingrid Laas)
FFRF Board Member Todd Peissig

Name: Todd Peissig

Where I live: Medford, Wis.

Where and when I was born: Milwaukee in 1966.

Family: Mother, father and one sister — all atheists and all members of FFRF.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Why I volunteer for FFRF: I am passionate about state/church separation issues. Church violations do a tremendous amount of damage to many people. I was personally affected for many years, not being able to marry the person I love because same-sex marriage was NOT the law until 2015, all because it was opposed by the Religious Right.

What I do for FFRF: I am an FFRF Executive Board member, and we meet several times per year making  important decisions on the running of the organization and its employees, which is not only fascinating, but also very fulfilling.

What I like best about it: A very enjoyable part of my volunteering is getting to run the “clean money” raffles, along with my partner Eric, at the annual FFRF conventions. However, I consider it a privilege to be just a small part of FFRF, helping it to fight the battles of the state/church violations.

My religious upbringing was: My family was never deeply religious, however, my mother always thought attending church was important only because it was the “thing to do,” since most people where we lived attended church. She eventually realized the uselessness of church and now calls herself an atheist and, along with my father, is a proud Life Member of FFRF.

My doubts about religion started: As I made my way through middle school, then high school I became fascinated with science and realized that the religious teachings made no sense and many were, in fact, factually impossible. By the time I was 18 years old, I asked my parents if I could stop going to church and they were liberal enough to let me make my own decision.

So, I never stepped foot in a church again.

Three words that sum me up: Inquisitive, skeptical and passionate.

Person in history I admire and why: Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet. He seems like he was extremely intelligent and a truly enlightened man for his time. In his lifetime, he was often referred to as Ill Divino (the Divine One) and it seems to me that if you are going to be “divine,” instilling a sense of awe in the eyes of your fellow man is one of the best ways you can accomplish it.

A quotation I like: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire

Things I like: FFRF, traveling all over the world with my partner, eating foods from different ethnic regions, reading, collecting art and antiquing.

Things I smite: State/church violations, right-wing politics, cold weather and desserts made with coconut.

Ways I promote freethought: Besides being a Life Member of FFRF, I am a member of several other freethought groups, always trying to educate myself on the current trends and issues. I always communicate freely with friends, family and co-workers my feelings on freethought issues and educate them on the harm that religion has caused humanity. I like to think that I may somehow “enlighten” them.