Secular Movement

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Religious disbelief has a long history in the United States, dating back to the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Robert Ingersoll, as well as the "freethinkers" in the 19th century.

However, the 20th century secular movement was able to disperse secular thought more effectively through formal organizations. In 1941, the American Humanist Association was founded and pushed for people to lead moral lives without the reliance on religious dogma. Atheist organizations, like the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism (1925) and American Atheists (1963) tended to be more interested in keeping religion out of government and the education system. By the 21st century, "New Atheists," like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, emerged to reinforce how religion is anti-science and anti-rational thought.

Whether it is pushing for irreligious morality (secular humanism) or the demise of organized religion (atheist organizations), the secular movement resembled a greater visibility of irreligious perspectives.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Social Movements and Religion
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Social Movements and Religion in American History
O'Hair, Madalyn Murray

Atheists at Twin Cities Pride Parade- Flickr- photo by Fibonacci Blue (CC BY 2.0)

American Atheists Conference, 2008- Flickr- photo by mrccos (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Atheist Bus Campaign launch- Flickr- photo by Zoe Margolis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Reason Rally 2012- Flickr- photo by diaper (CC BY 2.0)

Freedom From Religion billboard ad- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Jason (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Lippy, Charles, and Peter Williams, 2010. Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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