Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Meet a Member: Ex-priest one of FFRF’s longest-term members

Vol. 36 No. 01 Jan/Feb 2019
Dick Hewetson (right) and his partner John.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Name: Richard “Dick” Hewetson.

Where I live: Mountain View, Calif. Recently moved from San Francisco.

Where and when I was born: 1930 in suburban Chicago.

Family: Life partner John (a boat person from Vietnam), one sister, many nieces and nephews, grandnieces,  grandnephews and great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews.

Education: Bachelor of arts from University of Minnesota; master of divinity from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill.

Occupation: Retired. Worked for state of Minnesota. Before that, I was an Episcopal priest.

How I got where I am today: That’s a long story. For health reasons I left the parish ministry in 1968. In 1972, I determined that I had to be open about being gay. As a “good Christian,” I had led a celibate life. 

In coming to terms with my sexuality, I also realized that I no longer believed in Christianity. In 1978, I attended the first convention of FFRF. Within a few years, I realized that I was an atheist. 

Where I’m headed: At age 89, I have no idea, but it certainly isn’t heaven!

Person in history I admire and why: There are so many, but I have to say Anne Nicol Gaylor. What she did in her quiet dignified way for women and the resulting Freedom From Religion Foundation is truly remarkable.

A quotation I like: “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil, that takes religion.” — Steven Weinberg 

These are a few of my favorite things: Reading nonfiction, bridge, trains, theater and fine dining.

These are not: Being lectured by religious people. Christians who don’t know the bible or are illiterate about theology.

My doubts about religion started: Very early in life, but I became involved with church in my adolescence.

Before I die: I’d like to ride high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles or from Chicago to the Twin Cities. Fat chance!

Ways I promote freethought: I have introduced many people to FFRF. I introduce my doubt about religion in normal conversation.

How do John (a Roman Catholic) and I get along perfectly?: Through love and respect.

What is my legacy?: Quatrefoil Library in Minneapolis. Founded by my late partner and FFRF member David Irwin and me in 1983. It is the second-largest and second-oldest LGBT lending library in the United States.