Ellen Johnson, former president of American Atheists, hasn’t said anything publicly yet (and hasn’t responded to an email inquiry) about her recent firing.
But others are making their voices heard… and they’re not all too happy with the AA Board’s decision:
I am Gil Gaudia. My wife Jeanne and I have been editorial assistants for the past two years at American Atheists. In doing so, we have worked closely with Ellen Johnson whom we respect and admire greatly. We have also had telephone and email contact with a few of the board members, especially with regard to editing their manuscripts. We were not impressed with their interpersonal skills. I have also contributed several articles to the magazine. We have just concluded an hour long telephone conversation with Ellen.
We are extremely biased in her favor, because we found her to be hard-working, honest, courageous, competent and caring of us and appreciative of our volunteer contributions.
This board’s action, in our opinion, will almost certainly result in the end of the organization and publication as we know it. We say this because, from first-hand experience we are aware of the number of hours, the amount of coordination and the knowledge of the operation that are all required to successfully produce a monthly publication, and we have no evidence that any of the board members are willing and able to invest that degree of commitment. Indeed, we have some reason to believe that the opposite is true. To those members who propose hiring Dawkins, Hitchins, Harris and others for the presidency, first see if they’ll agree to work for 38K, or thereabouts, in addition to doing latrine duty in their spare time.
For the board of directors of the most well-known Atheist group in America to have taken such a suicidal action is incomprehensible, but whatever their reasons, unless the members protest strongly and demand her reinstatement, (which she may not even want) it will only be a matter of time before we no longer have an organization to uphold the civil rights of Atheists.
As a contributor of many articles to this magazine, and as volunteers in editing other journal articles, spending many hours of our time in assisting Ellen in producing this publication, we are no longer interested in writing, editing or assisting in any way a magazine whose board has acted in such an irresponsible, unfair and self-destructive manner.
Gil and Jeanne R. Gaudia
To be fair, there are other groups that will continue to fight for the rights of atheists.
But a strong AA, with a well-respected president and spokesperson, is good for all of us.