Salt Lake City

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 Highway Patrol


1952 - 2014


Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Richard Andrews, Chris Allen, 1981 SLC  UT

Here are some pictures of
Richard Andrews...

Many pics are available in larger sizes by clicking on them; otherwise  please  EMAIL me.

Richard died in the morning of April 2nd 2014.

Salt Lake Tribune obituary here

American Atheist National convention was held in Utah  Link  


This Page:  -or-

1980 - Outstanding Chapter Director - "Presented to Richard Andrews for his determination, courage and outreach in the face of a dominant reactionary state theocracy in Utah."

1987 - Most Hated Atheist of the Year
1989 - Recognition of Achievement - "For one decade of continuous support for the principle of separation of state and church and for the civil rights of all Atheists, presented on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Utah Chapter on March 26, 1979." (Certificate signed by Madalyn O'Hair and Jon G Murray)

1992 - Atheists of the Year - David Chris Allen & Richard M. Andrews - stopping prayers at government function in the state of Utah and enforcing the separation of state and church provision of the Utah constitution.

2001 - Lifetime of Service Award - "In Recognition Of Your Decades Of work On Behalf Of American Atheists And State-Church Separation."

2006 - Volunteer of the Year - "For Volunteering Your Time To Help The National Office Answer Its Huge Amount of Mail."

2010 - Lifetime Achievement Award - "In Recognition of Decades of Service Supporting the Separation of Religion from Government."

Richard Andrews has been my best friend for 35 years. I first met him in March 1979 when he founded the Utah Chapter of American Atheists. At the first meeting, over 100 people showed up. As Chapter Director, his energy was amazing, and within a year, the mailing list for meetings had over 600 names.

Richard promptly set up a booth for atheism at the state fair, a lecture on atheism at the city library, a regular radio talk show on atheism, a book discussion group, and a Dial-an-Atheist service. In 1981 he hosted the eleventh annual national American Atheists convention in Salt Lake City. In ‘82, I joined him as co-director, and the next year we put 400 posters advertising Dial-an-Atheist in UTA buses.

Rich had a strong interest in tax exemption issues from the beginning. Although Utah is a de facto theocracy, dominated by the Mormons, and run primarily for their own and their Church’s benefit, many Utahns don’t like that. Amendments to the state constitution must be approved by a simple majority, and we found that, despite strong campaigns by the religious establishment, well-researched arguments could convince voters to reject those amendments.

In 1980, we defeated an amendment that would have generally broadened religious tax exemption, and in ‘86 we defeated another to automatically exempt religious hospitals from property taxes. In ‘93 we defeated one endorsing teaching religion in the public schools.

With Utah civil rights attorney Brian Barnard, Rich started working in the courts. In 1991 he was the principal plaintiff in a lawsuit, SOS v. Whitehead, challenging the practice of opening Salt Lake City council meetings with a prayer. SOS stands for the Society of Separationists, an American Atheists corporation that was used early on for court battles. Rich won that case at the district level, but it was overturned on appeal to the state supreme court. Rich was also a plaintiff in two other SOS cases in ‘91 that sued the Utah Attorney General and the head of the State Board of Education for spending public funds in the legal defense of prayer at public school graduation. That same year Richard and I joined the board of  directors at Madalyn O’Hair’s invitation. Then when Madalyn decided to close all her chapters, the Utah Chapter reorganized as an independent  local group.

Richard was a speed-reader, eagerly devouring the multi-volume Golden Bough anthropology books on religion, novels by Salmon Rushdi, and many others. He was especially interested in the books of renowned historical novelist and atheist Vardis Fisher. He wrote about Fisher in the American Atheist magazine, and was interviewed on C-SPAN, Hannity & Colmes, and several other shows. He also worked with the Utah Education Association in their campaign against school vouchers.

American Atheists’ best recent victory in court has been our win in the Utah Highway Patrol Cross case. Richard Andrews, Michael Rivers, and Stephen Clark were the local plaintiffs and Brian Barnard was their attorney. They won a wonderfully strong decision at the appeals court level. Then the Supreme Court met three times to consider reviewing the case, and finally decided not to, so it was a permanent legal victory.

Richard Andrews won seven awards from American Atheists including Chapter Director of the year and Atheist of the year. He was a great friend, and I’ll miss him terribly. He is survived by his wife, Jennie, and his daughter, Laura.

 ~ Chris Allen,
    Afterlife member



  American Atheist Magazine announces the 1981
     Eleventh National Atheist Convention
     in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Click image to enlarge.



Pictures form Rich's Celebration of Life Ceremony Apr 16 2014


Chris Allen speaking

Dan Ellis speaking

2005 SLC  UT

Left to right:
 Rich, Penn Jillette, Harald


Chen Miao & Rich (center) at the The
Amaz!ng Meeting 3.

The Salt Lake City Atheists (left to right)...  ??, Rich, Qian Qian, Harad & Marty; The Amaz!ng Meeting 4.



Rich, Ellen, Sean, Minneapolis

Monthly atheist brunch
(old pages)

Rich retires form SLC's atheists
 (KCPW interview snippet)

Laura Andrews Mesquite NV

Atheist convention Minneapolis

Atheist convention Minneapolis

Atheist convention Minneapolis

2003  Atheist brunch

Atheist convention Minneapolis 2008

Harald & Rich with his Honda hybrid 2007



Idaho gold country

Rich at Vardis Fisher's house, ID

Tim, Susan, Rich, Boise ID


Atheist at Burbank, CA. Listening to Bill Maher's speech.

Rich "panning for gold" Idaho

  2009                                                               Idaho

Richard Andrews, Founder of the Utah Chapter of American Atheists , Ernie Rufener,
Susan Harrington, American Atheists State Director of Idaho, and Harald Illig. Boise ID.


After the demonstration in Boise ID...
Ernie Rufener, Rich.

After the demonstration there was Mexican food; Susan, Ernie, Rich.



Rich at Westboro Baptist church
in Park City, UT

Ready to merge with pro-gay
demonstrators at Salt Lake Temple

Ernie, Rich at Harald's house
Solstice party 2012, UT

Richard listens (upper right) as Chris Allen (upper left) conducts the monthly atheist brunch at Maestro's Grill restaurant near the Airport in Salt Lake city, ca. 1995.








American Atheist Magazine announces the 1981
Eleventh National National Atheist Convention
in Salt Lake City, Utah.





Chris Allen and Rich Andrews  put 400 posters advertising Dial-an-Atheist into UTA buses in Salt Lake City, UT.

American Atheists' National convention to be held
in  Utah   during   2014   Easter weekend



Utah Chapter to American Atheists Triumphs in the Face of Adversity - 1980



"April 15, 1979
Texas Convention
R.  Max + Jon G. Murray

Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Richard Andrews, Jon Garth Murray

Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Jon   
Garth Murrayr, Richard Andrews

   The Utah Highway Patrolmen's Crosses Case

 Link    About the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) Christian Cross case

Richard's friend, Brian Barnard explains his victory in the Tenth Circuit Court: The Utah Highway Patrolmen's cross case.
Listen to his 2010 speech here.

 "The win in the Utah Highway Patrol  Cross case is American Atheists'  biggest  recent legal  victory.

 ~ Chris Allen 2014.

 You Tube -  
   Brian Barnard Speaks to
   Salt Lake Valley Atheists

Brian Barnard

"A lot of taxpayer money has
 been spent on this so far"




Sent:Aug31, 2010

Subject: How much?

I would estimate
that between my
office, the state
and the UHPA,  there
has been more than
$750,000 of attorney
fees and court costs
incurred to date.


Utah Legal Clinic



Brian Barnard    2010
...The first cross was erected in 1998 on private property and 13 others were added later -- most of them on public property."
~ Salt Lake Tribune



   Link  Utah Atheists

Page updated  2014-10-25