Edwin Kagin: 1940-2014

March 31, 2014

Edwin Kagin, American Atheists’ national legal director and a founder of Camp Quest, has died at the age of 73. Tom Flynn, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism and editor of Free Inquiry, shares these thoughts on behalf of the Center for Inquiry:

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To call Edwin Kagin bombastic or colorful is to concede the inadequacy of language.

Edwin and his late wife Helen co-founded Camp Quest in 1996 as a project of the Free Inquiry Group (FIG), a local group affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism. Those of us who were there know that Camp Quest exists because of Edwin’s vision and his immovable obduracy. There was plenty of trepidation (along the lines of “someone’s child might fall out of a canoe and die”) at the prospect of launching a secular humanist sleepover camp, but Edwin was having none of it. He convinced his fellow members of FIG to undertake an enormous volunteer effort, and convinced the late Paul Kurtz to support the project, and (as the saying goes) the rest was history.

Today Camp Quest has 17 locations, two of them overseas – and let’s not forget the Center for Inquiry’s Camp Inquiry. In a very real sense it is all the legacy of Edwin Kagin – a legacy he went on to add to through his years of legal activism for American Atheists. In a movement noted for its large personalities, Edwin Kagin was one of the largest of all.

– Tom Flynn