Big and bigger: Ken Ham, Cecile Richards, “Q” and much more

It’s early in the year, but we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are already thinking big — and bigger.

It can’t get much bigger than mailing out 1,273 letters on the same day, can it? We sent out that many missives to school districts surrounding Ken Ham’s pet follies (the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum) warning them against organizing trips to these religiously propagandizing theme parks. We’ve already gotten Ham’s goat (and attention). “I’m laying down the gauntlet with the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” he huffed and puffed in a misinforming response that showed its desperation by offering free admission to any public school that received our letter.

A victory in the Ozarks
Speaking of big, we had a huge, delayed victory in the Ozarks — Ozark, Missouri, to be exact.

“Ozark officials said Friday they will move a [permanent] cross that is part of a holiday display in a city park,” the Springfield paper reported. “The issue was raised when the city received a letter in late November from a separation-of-church-and-state group demanding the cross be removed.”

That “separation-of-church-and-state group” is us, in case you’re wondering.

FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert discusses all the twists and turns — and the eventual happy ending — in our “Newsbite” segment this week.

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An ignorant school board
We’re asking California members to help preserve another big victory, this time on the legal front. The Chino Valley School Board in California is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court a judicial verdict against school board prayer that we’ve prevailed in — three times over! We’re asking area members to contact board members and instill some sense into them.
Making the Palmetto State secular
Does the governor of a medium-sized state count as a big enough adversary? We sent a letter to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster decrying the religiosity he has introduced at a number of official events (check out his Twitter account header photo from one such event). We’re still waiting to hear back from him.
Creating a big-sized ruckus
Even the ruckus we’re creating already in 2019 is supersized. “There’s been little in recent memory that has drawn a crowd to a Camden County (Missouri) Commission meeting such as the one on Tuesday to discuss the demand by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to remove two images from the courthouse,” a local news site reported. Maybe we should get some sort of award for fostering civic participation.
Interviewing a big feminist icon
Colin McNamara, our legal fellow, discusses the Camden County, Mo., brouhaha on our radio show this week. The centerpiece of the show, though, is a prerecorded on-stage interview that FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor conducted with feminist icon Cecile Richards before an audience of 1,000 freethinkers at FFRF’s annual convention last November in San Francisco. Cecile energetically talks, among other things, about what it was like growing up in Texas as the daughter of Gov. Ann Richards, her first state/church protest in sixth grade and how Jared Kushner tried to “bribe” Planned Parenthood to stop providing abortions. Listen in!
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Let’s boldly go…
For our television show this week, we feature another freethinking celebrity. On “Freethought Matters,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor chat with performer John de Lancie — yes, he of “Star Trek” “Q” fame. You can watch it in eight cities nationally. (Check out the listings here.) And everyone can always catch it online here.
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We leave you with a statistic that we reported on our most recent radio show: Last year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent out 1,060 complaint letters to errant government officials all over the country, and succeeded in ending 315 state/church violations — more than one a workday! All of this amazing work was made possible only with your generosity and support.P.S. Dan, Strategic Response Director Andrew Seidel and Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne are flying back, as this is written, from Washington, D.C., where they represented FFRF at a function for the Congressional Freethought Caucus. Next week, we’ll learn more about this trip. Photo used with permission by American Atheist’s President Nick Fish.
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