Born in 1950, Randy grew up in a nominally Jewish household in Washington, Iowa, a town of around 6,000 people in the southeastern part of the state. His family and his mother’s parents were the only Jews in town, as he recalls. They had a Christmas tree in their house every year—though with no religious significance attached to it—but they also lit a menorah and celebrated Hanukkah each year as well. Belief in God and what it meant to be Jewish was never really discussed in his family, so he can’t say categorically that he ever truly believed in God.
Randy took a comparative religion class at the University of Iowa around 1970 in which he read part of the Bible, though it really didn’t speak to him. He started to realize he was an atheist when he read George H. Smith’s compelling book, Atheism: The Case Against God. He thought it was a brilliant book, whose arguments were absolutely convincing to him.
Though Randy has a history of activism—with Seattle Men Against Rape, the National Organization for Changing Men, the Seattle Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America—he didn’t become actively involved with nontheist organizations until 2018, when he started attending the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s annual national conventions. He attended a number of Seattle Atheists events over the last several years before recently being elected to their board of directors.
Randy has a bachelor of arts degree in English and a law degree. He worked in the legal profession for around fifteen years, but spent the last twenty-five to thirty years of his working life as a copy editor, writer, college instructor, and competitive speller. He currently lives in Woodinville.