Woody Kaplan named Secularist of the Week for lifetime contributions to secular advocacy


In recognition of his lifelong commitment to defending civil liberties and advancing secular values, the FFRF Action Fund posthumously names Woody Kaplan as the recipient of its “Secularist of the Week” award. Woody, 80, a proud atheist and former advisory board chair of the Secular Coalition for America, died on Aug. 3.

“Woody was a person who caused the moral arc to bend much faster, always on the front lines,” comments FFRF Governmental Affairs Director Mark Dann. “Woody saw how another person’s liberation was tied to his own — and that nobody is free until we all are.” 

He went to Mississippi in 1962 to work on voter registration drives, served in Vietnam and championed LGBTQ-plus equality as the horror of the AIDS crisis was unfolding. He was on the ACLU national board and was a founding member of the Secular Coalition for America. Woody had a career as a successful commercial real estate businessman. When he retired, he devoted his life to advocating for civil liberties and rights.  Woody became a Lifetime Member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1999.

“Woody left an indelible mark on the secular movement throughout his illustrious career,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Action Fund president. “He was an early and enthusiastic advocate for secular lobbying and advocacy in Congress and for uniting secular groups under one banner.”

Woody helped many in the secular movement advance their careers, Dann adds. Dann notes that Woody had an exceptional political mind and understood how money, popular movements and a smart strategy can come together to create change. “His legacy will inspire generations of secular activists to come,” says Dann.

Throughout his life, Woody Kaplan fearlessly championed secular principles, fostering an environment where reason, science and rationality could flourish. His dedication to promoting a just and inclusive society extended beyond the secular cause, as seen in his advocacy for progressive tax policies, as featured in The Boston Globe’s article, “The Rich and Richer Who Say They Will Pay More Taxes.”

The FFRF Action Fund is proud to honor Woody Kaplan’s exceptional achievements and dedication with its “Secularist of the Week” award.
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations, and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of non-believers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.