Trends in Secular Community Groups

In the last dozen years, we have experienced New Atheism; contentious elections; the wide adoption of social media and other online tools; increased secularization of American society; and the emergence of MRAs, SJWs, Gamergate, the Alt Right, and more. How have these cultural shifts and trends affected local secular groups? Have members become more or less political or polarized? Diverse? Engaged? And looking forward, how should our groups’ priorities and function shift to account for the changes in our cultural landscape?

10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. CDT, Sunday April 15

To submit a question for the Q&A of this panel, please leave a comment below. Questions that are actually questions will receive priority.


Debbie Goddard is the Director of African Americans for Humanism and outreach director at the Center for Inquiry. Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a volunteer. She has also been involved with LGBTQ issues and progressive activism.

Jennifer Beahan is the Executive Director for CFI–Michigan. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of CFI–Michigan and is working to build a secular community throughout Michigan. Her interests include volunteer management, program development and evaluation, secular activism, and women’s rights.

Stef McGraw is a Field Organizer at the Center for Inquiry and runs CFI-Western New York. She has degrees in philosophy and Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa, where she first got involved in the freethought movement through the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers.

Monette Richards is the president of CFI-Northeast Ohio and of Secular Woman. She’s one of the co-founders of Secular Women Work. She describes herself as a “nobody” activist and gets a lot of work done from the cheap seats.

Debby Williams is a former board member of Humanists of Houston and was president of HoH during 2017. She spends her time smashing the patriarchy, playing with her dogs, and raising progressive sons.

Michael Cluff is the president of South Jersey Humanists, and worked for Atheist Alliance of America, where he contributed to the magazine and co-hosted the Secular Nation podcast.

Trends in Secular Community Groups