Even with the lockdown, we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been in an unusually productive mode recently.
We’re spreading our message
We’ve been getting the word out to the public. We had a major full-page ad published in the New York Times promoting a National Day of Reason. The ad urges, “We need reason, not prayer, to combat the coronavirus,” noting: “Nothing fails like prayer. Prayer cannot stop a virus. Pious politicians should get off their knees and get to work.” Take a look.
FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel had an op-ed in our hometown paper denouncing the federal stimulus package bailout of religious institutions (unaccountable entities that don’t even file income tax returns).
“Funneling money to churches under the CARES Act augments the benefits churches receive under the separation of state and church, while eliminating the burdens,” he concluded his piece for the Madison, Wis., Capital Times. “Churches get to have their cake — which the American taxpayers must buy — and eat it, too.”
Andrew was also on a radio show discussing investing “skeptically,” the importance of our work, and why people should donate to FFRF. Take a listen.
The Kansas City Star published FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor’s objection to a proposed bible studies bill pending in the Missouri Statehouse.
“The Missouri Legislature shouldn’t be pushing a bible proposal on public schools and should instead be focused on helping them grapple with a pandemic,” she wrote.
A National Day of Reason, not Prayer
The National Day of Prayer took up a portion of our energy. Just like our ad calling for an alternative, we issued a statement offering a similar proposition. “We need more reason and less prayer in the country; a National Day of Reason, not a National Day of Prayer,” it concluded. (If you wish to urge your member of Congress to support the Day of Reason resolution introduced by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, please click here.)
Give secularly for #GivingTuesday
A day with actual meaning is Giving Tuesday, and this year we appealed to you to donate to secular food banks and charities in this time of need. Please give what you can.
Reprimanding constitutionally wayward officials
As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, a good part of attention this week was focused on officials giving special dispensation to religion. At the very top, the U.S. attorney general put out a fishy memo that we strongly denounced.
“Working hand-in-glove with one of the nation’s most outspoken evangelicals, Attorney General William Barr has issued a memorandum that signals Justice Department support for church gatherings during the pandemic shutdown,” we wrote.
And when the mayor of Minneapolis issued a permit allowing a mosque to broadcast prayers starting in the wee hours of the morning during the month of Ramadan, we questioned that, too.
“We understand the city’s wish to extend solidarity to a minority community during such a difficult time,” Annie Laurie remarked. “However, the mayor cannot extend a special privilege to a certain faith, violating the U.S. Constitution in the process, as well as creating noise pollution affecting the mosque neighbors.”
The Trump administration’s indulgence of religion was again on display during oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in an important reproductive rights case. “It’s Trump and nuns versus women’s reproductive liberty,” our response was headlined. Read on.
A freethinking nurse on the pandemic frontline
We’re delighted to highlight the positive work of freethinkers during this pandemic. On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, our main guest was Ovais Khalil, a Marine veteran who is currently working as a nurse in the COVID-19 ward of a hospital near Washington D.C. Ovais talks to FFRF Co-President Dan Barker and FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert about his work, his activism with a humanist group, and how he transitioned to nonbelief (with evangelical charlatan Dinesh D’Souza playing a part!). Watch the broadcast.
“Stay Home” musically!
It’s important for all of us to make Ovais’ life safer by ourselves staying safe and staying home, and rapper Baba Brinkman has made a new music video with that message. Last week on “Ask an Atheist,” we presented the world premiere of Baba’s new music video, “Stay Home.” This week, we interview the remarkable and versatile atheist musician on our radio show.
Explaining Christian Nationalist irrationality
Why is a segment of society so hostile to basic scientific concepts? Journalist Katherine Sewart, possibly the foremost expert on Christian Nationalism in the United States, explains this and related matters on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s weekly “Freethought Matters” TV show. Her supertimely latest book, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, has just been released. Find out where you can watch the show on Sunday. Or you can catch it anytime on our YouTube channel.
Why are some people so credulous?
Certain people have always believed nutty things, veteran writer and freethinker James Haught contends in his latest blog for us. It draws on the Mothman legend (which James did first-hand reporting on) and the resulting Richard Gere movie to offer us some lessons on human behavior.
You can see how much we accomplish in a typical week, even working remotely during a lockdown. It is all due to your warm support and generosity.