About Us

While this website is new, the group Atheists and Agnostics of Wisconsin (AAW) has been around for decades. It got its start as Rationalists of Greater Madison, a chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), whose global headquarters are in Madison, Wisconsin, where the charter members of RGM also lived.

After philosophical differences with FFRF over the nature of democracy led RGM to go independent in 1992, the group renamed itself to the current AAW and a year or 2 later affiliated itself with the fledgling Atheist Alliance, a coalition of independent, autonomous local atheist groups which itself was the offspring of atheists dissatisfied with the direction of American Atheists. (Yes, we atheists can schism just as freely and frequently as our religious fellow citizens.)

Atheist Alliance eventually tacked an "Inc." onto its name so its abbreviation — "AAI" — could provide a distinction from American Atheists, who were already using "AA" — and being confused with Alcoholics Anonymous because of it. With the advent of more atheist groups from outside the United States, the "I" in "AAI" got changed to "International". As still more non-US groups came on board, AAI decided to spin off its US affiliates into their own umbrella organization, Atheist Alliance of America, which became the US's official member body in the continuing Atheist Alliance International. AAW automatically became a member society of the new AAA (not to be confused with the American Automobile Association).

AAA in its turn is a founding member organization of the Secular Coalition for America, or SCA (not to be confused with the Society for Creative Anachronism), which concentrates on lobbying and advocacy for secular causes in our nation's capital.

Meanwhile, AAW was itself expanding, which proved to be both good and bad. The good news was that we were extending our reach all over the Badger State, often serving people who, with some justification, thot they were the only atheists for miles around. The bad news was that the resultant travel distances meant the decline and eventual death of the in-person meetings (aside from the occasional solstice picnic or party).

So AAW has evolved from a regular club-like group — with regular meetings, a newsletter, dues, officers, a constitution, etc. — to what is essentially just an on-line "news and views" listserv. There are no longer dues or officers, and pretty much anybody can join up just by sending a blank e-mail to Atheists_Agnostics_WI-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. That Yahoo Group also comes with its own website, which doesn't get much of a workout, mainly a place to check the listserv message archives and share photos.

We're hoping that this present blog will enhance our presence on the internet and lead to a more vigorous community of freethinkers here in the Badger State.

Member Society of Atheist Alliance of America

Member Society of Madison Area Coalition of Reason