Center for Freethought Equality Board


Debbie Allen

DEBBIE ALLEN joined the Humanist Community in Silicon Valley as Executive Director in October 2016. She has been a member of the American Humanist Association Board of Directors since 2013. She currently serves as secretary of the board, and chairs the Chapter Services Committee. Her primary interests lie in nurturing grassroots efforts to promote humanism, and in creating easily accessible humanist education programs for children and families. She also serves as president on the board of the Humanist Society, an adjunct program of the AHA that certifies and educates Humanist Celebrants.

In 2009 Debbie founded the San Diego Coalition of Reason, a cooperative coalition of atheist, humanist and freethought groups. She is the immediate past president of the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego, president of the San Diego Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, co-founder of the San Diego Recovering from Religion Meetup group, and founder of the San Diego Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers Meetup group.

Prior to her activism in secular causes, Debbie was an active member of her Reform synagogue, serving on the board of directors and chairing several committees including Education, Social Action, Outreach to Interfaith, and Membership. Debbie is retired from a career as a psychotherapist in private practice and investigator in neuropsychological research at the UCSD School of Medicine.



Rebecca Hale

REBECCA HALE is the President of the American Humanist Association. A lifelong Humanist, although she didn't know there was an AHA until 1996. She was born in New York City to Humanist parents, although they called themselves Unitarians. Throughout her upbringing and life the focus has always grounded on a life philosophy of personal responsibility. If there is something that needs doing it is incumbent on each of us to do what we can towards getting it done. This carries through on all aspects of life; from cleaning up after dinner to cleaning up the environment.

The unexplained has always been that which science does not yet understand. After her own due diligence Rebecca has come to appreciate the value of laughter, beautiful music, friendship, a walk on the beach and good nutrition. As the late great Albuquerque humanist, Harry Wilson, wrote in Freedom from God there is this sense of wonder and awe, the “oceanic” feeling one gets when confronted with the magnificence of nature.

In 1976 Rebecca received her MPA (Master in Public Administration) and embarked on a career in government, real estate development, and college administration. In 1993, observing the unsavory effects of the rise of evangelical Christians in Colorado Springs, her husband and she started the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs and subsequently their web based business, EvolveFISH.com. In 1997 EvolveFISH was asked to take over the Humanist Book store, by its founder Lew Dunlap. They attended the 1998 AHA convention and every convention since (except 1999, that is the weekend their daughter, Tani, was born!) Attending the conventions she discovered the AHA and found her philosophical home. Being a humanist makes Rebecca a better person.


Gayle Jordan

GAYLE JORDAN is a former Southern Baptist who left the faith 10 years ago when her then-teenagers began asking questions she could not answer. Her research led her (and her children) into the light of reason and rationality. Years later, she still feels the effects, both positive and negative, of that dramatic shift in perspective and attitude. It is this sympathy and compassion that drives her to reach out to help others navigate the emotional and physical process involved in leaving one's faith.

Gayle is the Executive Director of Recovering from Religion, and ran for the Tennessee Senate in 2016. She is an attorney and former personal trainer. She lives on Freethought Farm in middle Tennessee, where she spends her days amongst her longhorns, goats, donkeys, chickens, and dogs. She blogs about life on the farm, endurance event training, and secularism at Happy. Healthy. Heathen.


Amanda Knief

AMANDA KNIEF is a public policy and constitutional expert on religious freedom and civil liberties. She is the author of The Citizen Lobbyist: A How-to Manual for Making Your Voice Heard in Government. Amanda has a JD from Drake University Law School and a BS in journalism and science communication from Iowa State University. She has previously worked as a legal counsel and legislative drafter for the Iowa Legislature, the lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America, and the Managing Director and In-House Counsel for American Atheists.


Susan Sackett

SUSAN SACKETT is the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the American Humanist Association. She grew up in Connecticut and Florida and received both her BAE and MEd degrees from the University of Florida in Gainesville (1964;1965). After teaching elementary school in Miami for two years, Sackett moved to Los Angeles in 1968, where she taught for a short time. But her lifelong dream of working in Hollywood persisted, and she quit her teaching job to work in the entertainment industry. In 1974 she landed a job as assistant to Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, and worked with him until his death in 1991. Her career with Roddenberry encompassed both production work and writing. She is the author of ten books and co-writer of several teleplays. It was Roddenberry who introduced Susan to humanism. Realizing that she, too, was a humanist, she joined the American Humanist Association in 1989.

In 1994 Susan left California and relocated to Arizona, where she became active in her local AHA chapter, the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP). She was president of HSGP from 2000 to 2010. Susan has been a certified Humanist Celebrant since 2001.


Herb Silverman

HERB SILVERMAN became involved in religious freedom issues when he won a unanimous decision in the South Carolina Supreme Court striking down a statute in the state constitution prohibiting nontheists from serving in public office. He then founded the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, SC, and also founded and serves as a faculty advisor to the College of Charleston student Atheist/Humanist Alliance. He is a national board member of the Atheist Alliance International, an advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance, a state board member of the South Carolina ACLU, a member of the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a board member of the Humanist Institute, and the president of the Secular Coalition for America.

Silverman has appeared in a number of debates representing the humanist point of view, including one at the Oxford Union in England on the topic: Does American Religion Undermine American Values? He has spoken at a number of conferences and written articles for the Humanist and other freethought publications. He also has a mathematics book on Complex Variables and a chapter called "Innerancy Turned Political" in The Fundamentals of Extremism.


Jason Torpy

JASON TORPY has been involved with the nontheist and humanist movement for over a decade - specifically through the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF), which he helped grow from an email listserv to a widely-recognized 501c3 organization. MAAF is now a member organization of the American Humanist Association.

Torpy has spent the last several years building coalitions among nontheist organizations.  He collaborated with American Atheists for the Veteran’s Day 2005 "Atheists in Foxholes March on the Mall" in Washington, DC.  Through SCA, he successfully lobbied the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee to investigate unconstitutional proselytism at Army training bases. He also serves on the board of the Secular Coalition for America.