We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have a smorgasbord to offer you this week — including a variety of preview samplings of our annual convention being held in San Antonio late October.
A bad Supreme Court considers a praying coach case
We closely followed the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case of an ostentatiously praying coach and are gravely concerned that some justices will use this as an excuse to allow school staff to push religion onto students. “This case is just another instance of an ultraconservative Supreme Court looking to dismantle the wall of separation,” says FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert. FFRF Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Elliott and Associate Counsel Sam Grover also discussed this case on our weekly “Ask an Atheist” Facebook live show.
A distinctive new podcast
Rebecca is part of a distinctive podcast being launched next month: Four attorneys from three major secular organizations are offering the only legal affairs show for atheists, agnostics and humanists hosted completely by female lawyers. “This podcast will showcase the incredibly talented women behind a lot of the work to keep religion and government separate,” says FFRF Attorney Elizabeth Cavell, a co-host of the show along with Rebecca and attorneys from American Atheists and American Humanist Association.
A unique Latin American show
FFRF Co-President Dan Barker was also on a unique show this week: a Spanish-language broadcast that’s based in Monterrey, Mexico, and viewed all over Latin America. Watch it here.
TV show guest talks about a landmark Jan. 6 joint report
On our own “Freethought Matters” TV show this Sunday, we have as the guest the head of a Baptist group that crafted a landmark joint report on the Jan. 6 insurrection with us. “People who had maybe not noticed or been concerned about Christian nationalism after seeing those instances of Christian nationalism at the Capitol were looking for resources … and we were there ready to provide those resources to help them understand Christian nationalism,” says Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and leader of Christians Against Christian Nationalism. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it Sunday.
Secular Americans are more moral
Our radio show features sociologist and author Phil Zuckerman, a pioneer in secular studies, making the case at our convention last year for why secular Americans are more moral on average than religious Americans.
Come to our October convention in San Antonio!
Speaking of conventions, the theme of our convention this year is “DO Mess with Texas,” in honor of the warning we received from Gov. Greg Abbott “not to mess with Texas.” The event will feature many newsmaking awardees, freethinking authors and even freethinking gospel music. The line-up includes iconic Texan commentator Jim Hightower and bestselling author John Irving. Four optional group meals are available, plus a “Happy Hour” reception, complimentary dessert Friday night and other coffee breaks or snacks throughout. Register now!
Our billboard in Tennessee
Chapter activists have put up a billboard in Knoxville to encourage constitutional watchdogs. Our East Tennessee chapter is fed up with religion in government and wants citizens to help FFRF end such entanglements. “We wanted to let ordinary citizens know they have a means of protesting that can make a difference,” East Tennessee chapter President Aleta Ledendecker says.
The onslaught of anti-abortion fanaticism
Religiously inspired anti-abortion fanaticism is occupying an increasing portion of our plate. We sounded the alarm after the latest such assault occurred yesterday, when the Oklahoma House approved a copycat abortion-ban-and-bounty bill modeled after a Texas law. “We have to stop calling them ‘anti-abortion bills’ and start calling them what they are: compulsory-birth legislation,” remarked FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. We also decried an appeals court ruling that has effectively ended challenges to the Texas bounty law. The future of abortion in the United States appears grim.
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez writes an involvingly personal column about having to suffer a bombardment of anti-abortion imagery in her hometown.
“Symbols and signage hold a lot of power,” she writes. “And given the shaky future of abortion, these disturbing images are very close to becoming more than just talk. They are becoming law.”
State of ruckus
Two states quite far apart got our attention for the wrong reasons. A contretemps in the Michigan Legislature over prayer epitomizes for us why our statehouses and other governmental bodies should finally drop the archaic ritual of opening with prayer. Read about the foofaraw here. And in Florida the usual tenets of ultraconservatives are being jettisoned in order to promote a Christian nationalist agenda, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ revenge against pro-LGBTQ Disney over his “Don’t Say Gay” law reveals. It’s a very bad business — and the answer is to keep religion out of our laws, social policies and public schools.
A good global report
We lauded a recent U.S. report that highlights the prominence of anti-blasphemy laws around the globe and urged the State Department to designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern. “While some American believers cry persecution because they are not allowed to impose their religious beliefs onto public school students, or to deny service to same-sex couples, the USCIRF report shows what real religious persecution looks like around the world,” Annie Laurie noted.
The backstory of the Waco tragedy
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught in his column this week provides us the backstory of the Waco tragedy. “Few know that the story actually began more than 150 years ago with an outlandish fiasco,” his piece begins.
Please ask Congress to declare a Day of Reason
Next week will usher in that annual national entanglement between state and church: the National Day of Prayer, declared on the first Thursday of May, an unconstitutional act of Congress engendering umpteen violations at the state and regional levels. Please help our friends in Congress gain supporters for a National Day of Reason proclamation. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin and others will be introducing a bill momentarily to declare the first Wednesday in May as the “National Day of Reason.” Check out this action alert and act now to urge your senators and representatives to support the legislation.
We offer you so much in a typical week — all put together with your unstinting support.