Honorary Associates of Rationalist International

Barbara Smoker (UK)

Barbara Smoker, born into a Roman Catholic family in London in 1923, became an atheist while serving in Women's Royal Navy Service. On 15 August 1945, to avoid unnecessary deaths through ships at sea not knowing the war against Japan was over, she sent out her own signal which was repeated throughout South East Asia. In 1949, she joined the secular humanist movement. As President of the National Secular Society (1971-1996), she represented the atheist viewpoint in print, on lecture platforms, speaking tours, on radio and TV. She officiated at non-religious funerals, wedding ceremonies, gay and lesbian commitments and baby namings. She became active in various social campaigns: abolition of death penalty, nuclear disarmament, legalization of abortion and voluntary euthanasia. She was chair of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (1981-1985). Barbara Smoker is one of the most powerful advocates of the freethought movement in Britain.