Freethought NOW!

A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
ad2434e0 84a6 69d5 9084 8bc61b973a7d A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

From Capitol Hill to late-night TV shows, we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have indeed been everywhere recently.

We proudly co-hosted with other secular groups the inaugural congressional Reason Reception on May 1. Coinciding with the National Day of Reason (annually on May 4) and the Secular Week of Action, the reception was attended by FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-chairs of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, Reps. Jamie Raskin and Jared Huffman, Congressional Freethought Caucus member Rep. Greg Casar and numerous congressional staffers, community members and secular and religious activists. “I was delighted to attend the inaugural congressional Reason Reception with my friend, the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, Congressman Jared Huffman, as well as the Secular Coalition for America, Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Humanist Association. With democracy under siege, we’re putting truth, critical thinking and common sense back on the public agenda,” Raskin later stated.

Our Ron Reagan ad on Taylor Tomlinson show
d5cc3dfa 541f 9e78 b243 66da44c330ce A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

Ron Reagan’s iconic ad for us is airing for the first time on CBS’ “After Midnight with Taylor Tomlinson” for the next two weeks. Host Tomlinson is an acclaimed stand-up comedian who rebelled in her youth against her intensely Christian upbringing. “We warmly thank Ron Reagan once more for providing his inimitable endorsement of FFRF and our work to promote nontheism and get religion out of government,” says Dan Barker.

We have an op-ed in the Oklahoma City paper 
Our op-ed decrying an Oklahoma chaplains-in-school bill was in the Sooner State’s most prominent publication. “Those who hire chaplains to religiously counsel students during the school day can look forward to lawsuits from students and parents represented by groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” warned the column by FFRF Action Fund Senior Ryan Jayne that the Oklahoma City paper (The Oklahoman) published.

Alabama media pays attention to our work
09d98988 76ac 37fb 2a47 b7b7a1c0261f A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

Our recent objection to Birmingham cops praying on the job is already getting major media play.

“The Freedom From Religion Foundation is urging the Birmingham Police Department to stop what it calls the ‘unconstitutional practice of holding department-funded coercive religious ceremonies,’” says a story on Alabama’s premier news portal. “The group, based in Madison, Wis., released a statement Wednesday said multiple concerned Birmingham residents, including a department employee, have informed the state/church watchdog that the department regularly invites a pastor from the local Baptist church to ‘proselytize, read bible passages and lead devotionals and prayers during mandatory staff roll calls.’”

Other media outlets in the state are also providing coverage.

“The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to the Birmingham Police Department urging it to stop the ‘unconstitutional practice of holding department-funded coercive religious ceremonies,’” reports an ABC News affiliate. “The organization said multiple concerned Birmingham residents, including a department employee, have informed the group that the department regularly invites a pastor from the local Baptist church to proselytize, read bible passages and lead devotionals and prayers during mandatory staff roll calls.”

Newsweek notices us
52f0d9fe dbea b134 f509 a83c7a8ba926 A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

Newsweek noticed our objection to the Boy Scouts of America rebranding itself while still barring nonbelievers. “‘Whatever the group is called, however, it apparently will still exclude nonreligious children and their families,’ the Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote while sharing a cartoon featuring a fictitious Scouting merit badge ‘for religious bigotry,’” says the Newsweek article.

Click here to see the story and our caustic Don Addis cartoon that Newsweek republished.

Fox and Breitbart are angered by our success
A recent success of ours in Florida has right-wing media outfits up in arms.

“A rural Florida elementary school has reportedly disbanded a new student-led Christian club on campus after receiving a legal complaint from an atheist group which called the religious meeting unconstitutional,” declaims Fox News. “The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote a letter to Hamilton County Schools after discovering students at the district’s only elementary school had started hosting a chapter meeting for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in January.”

And if Fox is fulminating, can Breitbart be far behind?

“The sole elementary school in a rural Florida county has disbanded its Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) club because an atheist group complained that it was ‘unconstitutional’ to ‘indoctrinate’ kids into religion,” Breitbart reports, using typically slanted language. “Hamilton County Elementary School, located in the small town of Jasper, was stiff-armed into shutting down its chapter of the North Central Florida FCA after the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) accused the school of violating the First Amendment in March.”

Don’t endorse Christian nationalism
23e4c112 0374 204e 1575 6d14caa79d99 A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

We chastised Florida’s Orange County Public School system for endorsing Christian nationalism through its recent support of the National Day of Prayer. “Public schools may not show favoritism towards or coerce belief or participation in religion,” FFRF attorney Chris Line wrote to the district. “Moreover, ‘the preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and a choice committed to the private sphere,’” to quote the U.S. Supreme Court.

We defend student free speech
We defended free speech after a Virginia school board targeted a student’s artistic expression for critiquing religion. “As public school board members, you have a responsibility to uphold the First Amendment rights of all Augusta County Public Schools students, regardless of your personal beliefs,” FFRF attorney Chris Line wrote to the board chair. We are urging school board members to refrain from further attempts to interfere with student speech.

Our commentary on news happenings
5746e0b8 8bcf b026 fd3e 72a5a8805da0 A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

We also commented on current events. The continuing escalation of book bans largely driven by Christian nationalists is cause for alarm, we stated. And the quasi-official U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released its annual global report with an emphasis on blasphemy laws that we amplified. The report contained one serious omission, however: the United States itself.

A dissection of Christian nationalism on our TV show
3242644b e5bd 041d c551 6abb2e0cc78f A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

The guest on our TV show this week is a leading expert on a movement undermining our country. Katherine Stewart, a distinguished journalist, author and authority on the politics of Christian nationalism, is author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism,” the basis for a new documentary called “God and Country,” co-produced by Rob Reiner. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where to catch the show on TV Sunday.

An escape from fundamentalism
60c5a544 1ee9 d06f 6bad d5d3b8c59d90 A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

The main interview on our Freethought Radio show this week is with NPR Correspondent Sarah McCammon about her new book “The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church.” Listen here as she tells co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor her riveting story about escaping fundamentalism.

Minnesota heats up
f5955111 19e0 c107 85f6 bf216ec85118 A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

This week on Ask an Atheist,” FFRF Legal Director Patrick Elliott, Deputy Legal Director Liz Cavell and FFRF’s Legal Fellow Hirsh Joshi talk about our neighboring state, discussing a massive (no pun intended) constitutional violation we are fighting there and a recent contretemps at the Mall of America. Things are heating up early in Minnesota.

Our lobbying arm endorses Rep. Hank Johnson
The FFRF Action Fund, our lobbying arm, this week endorsed U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson for reelection to Georgia’s 4th District, where he has served since 2007 and is now in his ninth term. The congressman has ceaselessly worked to protect American democracy and the rights of all of his constituents, regardless of religion or nonreligion.

Dueling Arizona state senators
6109582b b0f1 94b7 667f cfa3a2df0b88 A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

FFRF Action Fund’s “Theocrat” and “Secularist” of the week jousted over religion during a heated debate that ended in the welcome repeal of Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban. “Secularist of the Week,” Arizona state Sen. Eva Burch, a longtime abortion advocate, provided courageous personal testimony during the debate, sharing her experiences about needing to terminate two pregnancies for medical reasons. On the other hand, our “Theocrat of the Week” invoked his religion for strongly opposing repeal of the abortion ban. Arizona state Sen. David Farnsworth was one of 14 Republican state senators to vote “nay.”

Members of Congress repeat antisemitic trope
In this day and age, some members of Congress are shockingly repeating the “Jews for Jesus” trope — and Annie Laurie takes them to task for it. “Shouldn’t it give Christian believers pause that key narratives in the New Testament about Jesus, whether taken ‘out of context’ or not, inspired the Nazi genocide of at least 6 million Jews in the last century?” she asks.

What a Christian believes in
ac01e3c1 d862 7b2e 3d89 6e84069c209f A congressional reception, a Newsweek article, an Oklahoma op-ed and Fox News anger  

What does a Christian believe in? FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Walker has a darkly funny take on that in her column this week.

Of course, we at FFRF have long expressed disdain for such notions, which is why we aim with your help to spread rational and secular beliefs everywhere that we can.

Please share this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.