The writings of Rev. Howard Moody


Reverend Howard R. Moody (1921 – 2012) was the senior minister of Judson Memorial Church in the heart of Greenwich Village from 1957-1992. From this relatively small congregation, Moody wielded an outsized influence on the major social-change movements of three decades, particularly the struggles for abortion rights, free speech for artists, and more humane drug treatment policies. He not only preached prophetically on these issues, he also pioneered creative programs addressing them, locally and nationally.

A co-founder of the Center for Medical Consumers, Moody was long interested in health care and the medical industry, a justice issue which led to working with under-served groups, such as working women and later, people with AIDS. An advocate for free speech and freedom of expression in the arts, he also was an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the NYCLU. Moody was one of the founders of the reform movement of the Democratic Party in New York City and a delegate to the 1968 Democratic Convention.

Moody is the author of The Fourth Man and co-author with the late Arlene Carmen of Abortion Counseling and Social Change and Working Women: The Subterranean World of Street Prostitution. His articles have appeared in a variety of publications including The Christian Century, Christianity & Crisis, as well as Playboy and The Nation.

Born in Texas, this WWII Marine went to Yale Divinity School and became an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ. While a soldier, Moody met Lorraine, was his wife of 68 years; their children are Deborah and Dan.

As Judson’s Minister Emeritus, Moody lived part-time in Santa Barbara and in New York City, where in his redeployment, he was the motivating force behind the creation of two organizations: The Coalition for Baptist Principles; and Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy, a national mobilization of clergy for drug law reform.

Moody died in New York on September 12, 2012 of pneumonia and complications of cancer treatment. He was 91 years old.