Boy, did we have our hands full at the Freedom From Religion Foundation this week.
We released an urgent report exposing the Christian Nationalist takeover of the federal courts and the damage it is causing to the separation of state and church. This capture is alarming, given the power the courts hold over the interpretation of the Constitution, we emphasized. The lead author, FFRF Attorney Liz Cavell, discussed the report and its findings with FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor on our radio show this week.
And on our Facebook Live “Ask an Atheist” feature, FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert, FFRF Legal Fellow Joseph McDonald and Liz chatted about the report. An op-ed by Liz on the report will soon be distributed to hundreds of newspapers nationwide through the Tribune News Service. We’ll keep you posted.
Judicial Doomsday is approaching
We made a big splash in the New York Times early in the week with our full-page ad. The advertisement, in honor of the 229th anniversary of Bill of Rights Day, features an arresting graphic by award-winning cartoonist Steve Benson that depicts people hanging on for life to a bent clock hand approaching midnight. “Help roll back the clock on judicial Doomsday,” the headline reads. Check it out.
Boise State has listened to us
We actually got one of Idaho’s best education institutions to significantly downgrade its football chaplaincy program, earning coverage in the state’s biggest newspaper.
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“Boise State University recently responded to FFRF’s request,” the Idaho Statesman reports. “‘We have been in communication with the athletic department to provide some education about this issue and to ensure measures are taken now and in the future to resolve the issue and establish appropriate constitutional boundaries,’ the university’s general counsel told FFRF in an email.”
Withdraw your decree, Gov. Reeves!
Idaho is not the only state where we’ve been active. Rescind your prayer proclamation for the upcoming Sunday, we’ve insisted to the Mississippi governor. “By issuing a proclamation calling on Mississippi citizens to pray, you abridge your duty to remain neutral and to respect the freedom of conscience of all your citizens,” Dan and Annie Laurie wrote to Gov. Tate Reeves.
The Trump administration’s parting discriminatory shot
And, of course, we’ve been paying attention to all that’s been going on in the District of Columbia. We’ve condemned a just-announced massive final rule change that grants faith-based federal social services contractors license to discriminate against beneficiaries on religious grounds. The incoming Biden administration should rescind it, in its entirety, on day one, we’re urging.
Media outlets like our opinions
FFRF’s Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel had not one but two columns published in media outlets this week. In an op-ed for Religion Dispatches, Andrew exposed how churches, especially megachurches, are abusing the taxpayer-funded Paycheck Protection Program. The article will have you seeing red as these megapreachers are pulling in the green. And he wrote a piece for one of FFRF’s hometown newspapers, The Capital Times, about two state legislators’ childish installation of an illegal religious display in Wisconsin’s Capitol building. Andrew pointed out that while these proselytizing lawmakers continually lament their so-called “war on Christmas,” this war on the rule of law cannot continue.
So many secular displays!
We’ve been busy, given the time of the year, with our freethinking seasonal displays. Some good and bad news about them, the bad news first: A FFRF banner in Warren, Mich., has been stolen. (FFRF local Member Doug Marshall was on our radio show this week to talk about the incident.) A complaint about the theft has been filed with local police. The good news: New Hampshire’s capital newspaper published a letter by FFRF Member Jack Shields explaining why he felt compelled to install our display in the city. Our displays also returned to Oregon’s premier college town, an Illinois courthouse and the Garden State. Thank you to all our members who’ve helped set up these displays!
The biggest fraud of all
Veteran writer and freethinker Jim Haught divulges in his latest column why he couldn’t expose the biggest fraud of all. “It’s forbidden to write that religion itself — worship based on supernatural gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, visions, prophecies, divine appearances and the like — is a glaring global fraud,” he laments.
Join us for Solstice celebrations
In our effort to reclaim the holidays from this fraud, we have two treats to offer you in the next few days. Join the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s musical celebration of the real reason for the season — the Winter Solstice — on Sunday’s “Freethought Matters” TV show. A number of freethinking singers and songwriters have recorded their own seasonal or Winter Solstice songs just for “Freethought Matters.” You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it this Sunday.
And we invite you to a virtual Winter Solstice party on Monday, Dec. 21, at noon Central. It will include Winter Solstice greetings, plus a varied selection of music by nine talented, nonreligious musicians performing especially for you and this event! Zoom in by registering any time up to the event starting at noon CST on Monday, Dec. 21.
Hope to see you all! Solstice greetings!