Dan Barker
Dan barker by Matti.jpg
Barker at an atheist convention in Reykjavík in 2006.
Born 25 June 1949 (1949-06-25) (age 68)
Residence Madison, Wisconsin
Institutions Freedom from Religion Foundation
Alma mater Azusa Pacific University
Known for Advocacy of atheism and rationalism
Criticism of religion

Dan Barker (born June 25, 1949) is a prominent American atheist activist who served as a Christian preacher and musician for 19 years, but left Christianity in 1984.


Barker received a degree in Religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in 1975. He served as associate pastor at a friend'sTemplate:Who? Quaker church, an Assembly of God, and an independent Charismatic church. To this day, he receives royalties from his popular children's Christian musicals, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (1977), and "His Fleece Was White as Snow" (1978), both published by Manna Music and performed in many countries.[1] In 1984 he announced to his friends that he was an atheist.[2]

A successful musician, Barker has composed over 200 songs that have been published or recorded. He is the current co-president with his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an American Freethought organization that promotes the separation of church and state. The organization was dealt a setback in its quest to stop federal funding of faith-based initiatives in the Supreme Court decision of Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation decided on 25 June 2007.[3] Barker is co-host of Freethought Radio, a Madison, Wisconsin based radio program for atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers that has included interviews with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Julia Sweeney, and Michael Newdow. His foundation published his book Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, and he has written numerous articles for Freethought Today, an American freethought newspaper.

He is a member of the Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indian) Tribe of Native Americans, and in 1991 edited and published Paradise Remembered[4], a collection of his grandfather's stories as a Lenape boy in Indian Territory. Dan's father, Norman Barker, was also a musician who played the trombone. He performed a musical duet with Judy Garland in the 1948 film Easter Parade.[5]

Barker belongs to a number of high IQ societies, including Prometheus Society, which has an entrance requirement at the 99.997th percentile.[1]

Media appearances

Barker has appeared on Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey, Hannity & Colmes, Maury Povich, Good Morning America, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Tom Leykis television programs.

Barker has also appeared on dozens of national radio programs and forums to discuss and debate issues related to atheism and the separation of church and state. He was featured in a New York Times article about atheists,[6] and has given addresses on religious issues at several events across the United States, including one at Harvard University.[1]

On October 6, 2007, Freethought Radio, the FFRF's weekly broadcast originating in Madison, Wisconsin on the Mic 92.1 FM was picked up nationally by Air America. This is the first ever national atheist radio broadcast,[7] Freethought Radio, on Air America. The one hour weekly show is co-hosted with his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor.



  • Mary had a Little Lamb (Manna Music 1977)
  • His Fleece was White as Snow (Manna Music 1978)


Music Albums


External links

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