Dan Barker

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For other people named Daniel Barker, see Daniel Barker (disambiguation).
Dan Barker
Dan Barker.jpg
Born Daniel Edwin Barker[1]
(1949-06-25) June 25, 1949 (age 69)
Santa Monica, California
Residence Madison, Wisconsin
Alma mater Azusa Pacific University
Occupation Co-president, Freedom From Religion Foundation, author, musician
Known for Advocacy of atheism and rationalism
Criticism of religion

Daniel Edwin "Dan" Barker (born June 25, 1949) is an American atheist activist who served as a Christian preacher and musician for 19 years but left Christianity in 1984. Barker, along with his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor, is the current co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.[2] He has written numerous articles for Freethought Today, an American freethought newspaper. He is the author of several books including Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist.

Barker has been an invited speaker at Rock Beyond Belief.[3] He is on the speakers bureau of the Secular Student Alliance.[4]


Barker received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in 1970.[1] He served as associate pastor at a Religious Society of Friends (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.[5]

In 1984 he announced to his friends that he was an atheist,[6] and appeared on AM Chicago (hosted by Oprah Winfrey) later that year on a show about "kicking the religion habit".[7] Barker met Annie Laurie Gaylor when both were guests on the show. They began dating six months later and married in 1987. They have a daughter, Sabrina Delata.[8]

A successful musician, Barker has composed over 200 songs that have been published or recorded.

He is a member of the Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indian) Tribe of Native Americans, and in 1991 edited and published Paradise Remembered,[9] a collection of his grandfather's stories as a Lenape boy in Indian Territory.

Barker belongs to a number of high IQ societies.[10]

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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. Barker is co-host of Freethought Radio, a radio program based in Madison, Wisconsin radio station WXXM for atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers that has included interviews with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Julia Sweeney, and Michael Newdow.

Media appearances

Man in his fifties standing and speaking wearing a tan suitcoat holding up a red book, man in his forties seated, large audience visible at right
Barker with a red Bible, debating Dinesh D'Souza at UCSD in 2011.

Barker has appeared on dozens of national television and radio programs to discuss and debate issues related to atheism and the separation of state and church. He has discussed nativity scenes on government property,[11] the campaign against a Mother Teresa stamp,[12] prayer in public schools,[13] and has appeared on Phil Donahue, Hannity & Colmes, Maury Povich, Good Morning America, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Tom Leykis.

He was featured in a New York Times article about the growing of atheism in Southern states,[14] has given addresses on his own de-conversion across the United States,[15][16][17][18][19][20] and has participated in debates around the country.[21]

Barker, along with his wife host a weekly one hour radio program Freethought Radio. It is broadcast on weekly, on Progressive Talk The Mic 92.1, out of Madison, Wisconsin. It is carried on several other stations throughout the Midwest and is available through podcast.[22]



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


Music albums

  • Night at Nakoma
  • Friendly Neighborhood Atheist (2002)
  • Beware of Dogma (2004)
  • Adrift On A Star (2013)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lueders, Bill (July 28, 1991). "Fervor in reverse". The Milwaukee Journal. pp. 7–13. 
  2. Grauvogl, Ann (18 December 2009). "Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor are happily God-free". Isthmus The Daily Page. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  3. Griffith, Justin (16 January 2011). "Dan Barker Joins the Lineup". Rock Beyond Belief website. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  4. "Dan Barker". Secular Student Alliance. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  5. "Manna Music All Songs List". Manna Music. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  6. von Busack, Richard (3 October 2002). "Heretical Animals". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  7. "The Oprah Winfrey Show". AM Chicago. 1984. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  8. Erickson, Doug (25 February 2007). "The Atheists' Calling". Madison.com. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  9. Barker, Dan (1991). "Paradise Remembered a Lenape Indian Childhood and Other Stories". Dan Barker. ASIN B00GW4Z9LS. 
  10. "Dan Barker - Freedom From Religion Foundation". ffrf.org. 
  11. "Fox & Friends". Fox News. 4 December 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  12. The Daily Show (14 March 2010). "Mail Mary". Comedy Central. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  13. "Does Prayer Have A Place In Public Schools". Fox News. 14 August 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  14. Sella, Marshall (7 December 1997). "Faith Is a Fraud; Godless And Proud of It". New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2007. 
  15. Lazarus, Bill (24 January 1991). "Minister-turned-atheist Speaks This Weekend". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  16. Lyman, Wendy (28 April 2004). "Dan Barker Speaks Tonight at Schofield". The Flip Side. University of Wisconsin. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  17. "Atheism speaker attracts large crowd". The Spectator. University of Wisconsin. 24 April 2004. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  18. Baker, Jim (13 November 2004). "Former preacher ‘de-converts’ to atheism". Lawrence Journal World. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  19. Tonge, Shawn (11 March 2013). "Evangelical preacher shares story of conversion to atheism". Michigan Central Life. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  20. "Minister-Turned-Atheist Discusses Journey to Deconversion in Lawrence University Address". Lawrence University. 11 May 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  21. Kim, Hyung W (30 April 2008). "The Interminable Debate". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  22. "Freethought Radio & Podcast". Retrieved 12 June 2013. 

External links