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A Louisiana 10 Commandments law, Project 2025, John Oliver, and Juneteenth

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We got a lot achieved over the past few days despite a break in the workweek.

We were closed on Wednesday in observance of Juneteenth. The Freedom From Religion Foundation honored this milestone, a federal holiday, that observes and symbolizes the freeing of enslaved African Americans.

We responded as part of a civil society coalition to the Louisiana governor’s signing of a new Ten Commandments law (on Juneteenth itself!) with the promise of a lawsuit. “The law violates the separation of church and state and is blatantly unconstitutional,” the joint statement says.

The new law — and our response — generated a huge amount of media coverage. “The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom from Religion Foundation said that the law violates longstanding Supreme Court precedent and the First Amendment and would result in ‘unconstitutional religious coercion of students,’” CNN reported, just to give one example. To read more media coverage, including in the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Guardian, check out our “FFRF in the News” web section.

We’re making waves in Colorado
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Our interventions in a Colorado town created a buzz. We asked the Dillon Town Council to follow the advice of its former attorney and end a local church’s exclusive use of the town’s amphitheater for Sunday worship services. The town manager cited us in defense of his secular position and our social media postings are getting quoted in the local paper.

We ended opening prayers by a N.C. education board
We persuaded a North Carolina county board of education to end its longtime practice of opening meetings with prayer. “The Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education now opens its meetings with a Moment of Silence,” the school district’s legal counsel recently responded. We are always happy to be of educational service.

We successfully defended the rights of Mississippi students
We also ensured that students won’t be under the threat of proselytization in Mississippi’s Covington County School District. A concerned district parent informed us that a teacher at Seminary Elementary scheduled a religious assignment in late March for first grade students. Teachers may not promote concepts like “cleansing of sin” and “new life in Jesus” to students, regardless of how many students share those beliefs. Thankfully, students’ rights came out on top due to our efforts.

Repeal an antediluvian law
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We welcomed legislation introduced in Congress to repeal the Comstock Act. While it shouldn’t be necessary to repeal an antediluvian 1873 federal law inspired by a religious fanatic, latter-day Comstockians are clearly signaling they intend to demand its enforcement. “In our current political climate, dominated by so many Christian nationalists, the Comstock Act is unfortunately a clear and present danger to the right to control one’s own body and reproductive destiny,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

A congressional group to stop a diabolical presidential gameplan
The FFRF Action Fund, our lobbying arm, applauds a new working group recently announced by Rep. Jared Huffman, the co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, to stop Project 2025. Project 2025 is sometimes termed benignly as a “presidential transition project,” but is actually part of a multimillion-dollar operation that the ultraconservative Christian nationalist Heritage Foundation has planned as a blueprint if Donald Trump returns to office.

John Oliver to the rescue!
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The Fund’s “Secularist of the Week” is John Oliver, for using his popular platform to warn the public about Project 2025. Oliver cautions: “If Trump’s first term was defined by chaos, his second could be defined by ruthless efficiency.” An executive team member of the National School Chaplain Association, Jim Schmidt, is its “Theocrat of the Week” for championing reckless chaplain-in-public-school bills. We need all the John Olivers we can get to counter the Jim Schmidts of this world.

A welcome Supreme Court decision
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This week on FFRF’s Facebook Live feature  “Ask An Atheist,” FFRF Legal Director Patrick Elliott, FFRF Deputy Legal Director Liz Cavell and FFRF Staff Attorney Sammi Lawrence discussed a recent welcome U.S. Supreme Court ruling: a unanimous rejection of an attempt by a Christian Nationalist group to restrict access to Mifepristone, a widely used medical abortion pill. Watch the riveting discussion here.

Japanese religious World War II nationalism
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On Freethought Radio this week, after a discussion of Project 2025 and the new Louisiana Ten Commandments law, co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interviewed historian Bryan Mark Rigg about the religious nationalism undergirding the atrocities of the Japanese military (30 million deaths) under the Shinto Emperor Hirohito, as described in his book Japan’s Holocaust: History of Imperial Japan’s Mass Murder and Rape During World War II.

A dishonest documentary
FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line in a recent blog dissects a teaser trailer for a new propaganda documentary about the overly pious Coach Kennedy, who lamentably won his prayer case before the U.S. Supreme Court. “By distorting the facts and peddling a one-sided narrative, ‘Average Joe’ seeks to advance a specific ideological agenda at the expense of truth and integrity,” he concludes.

Setting the record straight week after week (whether regular or broken up) in the defense of the Constitution — that’s what we’re able to do due to your unstinting support.

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