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Political Science Professor Author of New Book

Mar 09, 2018


book coverRandolph-Macon College Political Science Professor Richard Meagher is the author of a new book. Atheists in American Politics: Social Movement Organizing from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries (Lexington, 2018) is a historical look at how atheists have organized politically over the past 100 years, and one of the first books to take atheism seriously as a social movement.

Meagher notes that, while nonbelievers have engaged in political activism for decades, "atheists are only recently developing as a political force, and so far have been overlooked by scholars. In the book, I highlight key moments within the political history of atheism and freethought and examine how the changing circumstances that surround the movement help explain political mobilization."

The book is based on research Meagher completed during his fall 2016 sabbatical.

"Thanks to research support from the college, I was able to dig deep into the archives of a New Jersey-based atheist advocacy group, including publications that dated back over a century," he says.

Richard Meagher
Meagher, who joined the R-MC faculty in 2009, earned his M.A in philosophy and Ph.D. in political science from the City University of New York.

As director of R-MC's Social Entrepreneurship program, Meagher teaches students to design innovative and systemic solutions to social problems.

Meagher is the author of numerous scholarly and popular articles on religion and politics, particularly focusing on the role of the Christian Right in the Republican Party. Meagher, an expert observer of local and state politics, has shared his views during appearances on local television and radio news programs. He has also been quoted about local politics in Style Weekly, Richmond Magazine, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. His posts on Virginia and Richmond politics can be found on the Washington Post's "All Opinions Are Local" page, WRIC's #RVALife blog,, and his own RVAPolitics site (