During the pandemic, we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been vigorously at work — in all sorts of ways.
At the start of this week, we sent a letter to some members of Congress that objected to their insistence that federal agencies should include houses of worship in the stimulus package. “Even in a pandemic, Americans must not be forced to fund churches,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote to these representatives.
Let’s adopt voting by mail!
We also issued a statement the same day urging the universal adoption of vote by mail. Several of our staff members were recently forced to risk their lives — and the lives of their families — in order to vote in Wisconsin’s in-person primary election after requesting absentee ballots that never arrived. We’ve asked for your help in this campaign. Vote by mail is a secular issue for two basic reasons: It’s reasonable, and it will help secular voters, an extremely politically active bunch. So, please urge your members of Congress to support voting by mail, if you haven’t already done so.
Yes, we are very active
Do you want confirmation that freethinkers are the most active politically active group? Listen to Annie Laurie and Dan’s interview on our radio show this week with Professor Ryan Burge, whose research has verified the fact.
Dealing with Easter-related weirdness
With Easter recently on the calendar, our hands were full responding to outrageous gubernatorial edicts and judicial rulings regarding coronavirus-related prohibitory measures. We cautioned the Ohio governor that granting an exemption to houses of worship from such measures would be putting innumerable Ohioans at risk. We also denounced a rookie federal judge’s shameless Christian Nationalist pandering when he berated the Louisville, Ky., mayor for including Easter services in his social distancing decree. “When judicial appointments are filled not based on merit but in order to achieve partisan political objectives, the result is the degradation of our country’s judiciary,” Annie Laurie noted.
We’re awarding $20,000 in scholarships
The pandemic hasn’t thwarted us from reaching out to the youth. We announced with delight this week, in partnership with a freethinking African-American group, our minority student scholarships for the sixth year running, this year doubling the total amount to $20,000. (The deadline is June 26.) Please spread the word!
A diverting music video for you
We have created especially for you our first animated music video. Featuring a clever poem (“Heaven,” by Rupert Brooke), it exposes the irrationality of heavenly hopes by framing wishful thinking about an afterlife from the point of view of a fish. Dan Barker set the 1913 poem to music with calypso overtones several years ago. Recent art school grad Kati Treu brings the song and verses to life with her winning cartoon depiction. Enjoy!
Our fascinating TV interview
We have other visual offerings for you, too. Dan and Annie Laurie interview, long distance by satellite from Seattle, an ex-evangelical freethinking psychologist and author on our “Freethought Matters” TV show this Sunday. Valerie Tarico has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and writes about issues such as Christian fundamentalism, the role of women in society, and reproductive rights and health. Find out where you can watch the show on Sunday. Or you can catch it on our YouTube any time.
The L.A. Times loves our Ron Reagan ad
Our most famous ad, which featured our “Freethought Matters” interview subject from last week, was a subject of a glowing write-up in the Los Angeles Times. “I’ll miss the Democratic presidential debates — especially watching Ron Reagan tell us he’s a ‘lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell,’” the piece begins. Check it out!
We answered your questions
We’ve kept our “Ask An Atheist” Facebook Live feature going just for you. This week, Dan and FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel (taking social-distancing precautions, of course) answer an assortment of questions from viewers. Take a look.
What bible classes will not teach you
We also bring you our latest column from veteran freethinker and writer James Haught, in which he asks: Do the West Virginia lawmakers who voted to have the bible taught in public schools fully realize the implications? Detailing several examples of the absurd edicts in the tome, he concludes, “The legislators don’t seem to have studied the book themselves.”
All of this — from biblical critique and legislative action to fascinating videos and scholarship offerings — we’re able to take on only due to your wholehearted backing.
Stay safe, everyone!