Vyckie Garrison, Former Quiverfull Mother

Vyckie Garrison was once a prominent member of the “Quiverfull” community, a rapidly growing Christian fundamentalist movement that bans birth control and encourages huge, “Biblical families” (much like the Duggars of TLCs 19 Kids and Counting fame). Garrison edited and published a Christian “pro-life, pro-family” newspaper for 16+ years in northeast Nebraska while home-churching, home birthing, and home schooling seven children. She made waves when she left the Quiverfull movement, divorced her husband, and began speaking out against the lifestyle.

She recently received American Atheists’ Atheist of the Year award and runs the blog “No Longer Quivering” to provide support to women and children who are escaping abusive religious movements and to provide the public with accurate and compassionate information on the unique challenges faced by the spiritually abused.

We spoke about what her Quiverfull lifestyle entailed, how she escaped it, and what advice she would give to other women in her position.

Janet Heimlich, Founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project

Janet Heimlich is the founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project and author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, both of which examine child abuse and neglect that is enabled by religious belief in the United States.

Janet is also a reporter who has worked for NPR and written for a variety of publications.

(Full disclosure, I’m on the advisory board for the Child-Friendly Faith Project.)

I spoke with her about the way children suffer at the hands of religion, whether teaching kids about Hell constitutes abuse, and what atheists can do to help.

Dr. Leigh Eric Schmidt, Author of Village Atheists

Dr. Leigh Eric Schmidt is the Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics in 2011. He previously taught at Harvard and Princeton. He has appeared in and on all kinds of media to talk about his work and he’s the author of several books. His latest is Village Atheists: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation.

We spoke with Leigh about whether we were ever a “Christian nation,” why the “New Atheists” really aren’t new at all, what we can learn from a cartoonist who lived a century ago.