Margaret Downey

The Freethought Society · West Chester, Pennsylvania

Margaret Downey has had a prolific career in secular activism. Downey is the founder of the Freethought Society, Anti-Discrimination Support Network, Mentor Connection, Tree of Knowledge, Helping Hands Committee, and the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee. She is a past board member of the American Humanist Association, Scouting For All, The Humanist Institute, and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. She is a current board member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Downey also serves as an advisor for the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum and the Openly Secular campaign.

With all these connections Downey can keep her finger on the pulse of the nontheist community. She has become a proud nontheist spokesperson and media representative. She has been published in three books, Parenting Beyond Belief, A Better Life and 50 Voices of Disbelief. She gives presentations about dealing with death and how the funeral industry and religion takes advantage of the grieving. In those presentations, she also discusses discrimination against atheists who are in elder care, nursing homes, hospice and in many other ways.

Downey has been a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit to remove a Ten Commandments plaque from the facade of the Chester County Courthouse (Pennsylvania) and has organized discrimination complaints against the Boy Scouts of America since 1991.

Margaret was certified by CFI as a Secular Officiant in 2001. Since that time she has operated Secular Celebrations (a secular officiant business designed to serve the life celebration needs of the nontheist community). Secular Celebrations began hosting Secular Day of the Dead events in 2015 as a way to offer options for Hispanic nontheists to celebrate and respect their culture’s traditions and rituals in a secular way.

Downey is also available to help host a Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Center on any given Friday the 13th. Dressed in character as a Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Nurse, she will help cure superstitions with her team of volunteers. The Treatment Center is comprised of an interactive museum, games, music, and souvenirs. For more information on this educational service visit the website.


  • Thomas Paine
  • Anti-Superstition
  • Tree of Knowledge (a winter holiday display)
  • Fighting Boy Scouts of America Discrimination Against Atheists
  • The History of Women Suffragists
  • Eva Ingersoll Portrayal
  • Skeptics DragonCon Parade Organizer
  • Living Life the Secular Way
  • 30 Years of Activism (A question and answer forum)
  • Skepticism on Parade (who, what, when, and how with ideas on parade participation)
  • Death/Secular Day of the Dead

Margaret can be reached by phone at (610) 793-2737 (office) or (610) 357-9432 (cell).

Contact Margaret Downey >>

Topics: Activism & Organizing, Atheism & Secularism, Humanism, Politics, Religion, Social Issues & Movements
Subtopics: Atheist/secular movement, Community group organizing, Separation of church and state, Women & gender

Viewpoints and information presented by speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of, nor should they be attributed to, CFI or its affiliates, or any of their directors or officers.