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Breaking News: We beat Gov. Abbott (and tackle White House, Catholic League & others)

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The theocrats and their allies in government have been working us into a frenzy during this pandemic.

Breaking! We vanquished the Texas governor!
First, some good news. We just got word late today that we’ve triumphed at the appeals court level in our federal lawsuit challenging Gov. Greg Abbott’s censorship of FFRF’s Winter Solstice “Bill of Rights Nativity.”

“It’s highly gratifying to win this court battle,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Free speech—  even for the atheists Abbott reviles — is alive and well in Texas, despite the governor’s attempts to malign, censor and exclude nonbelievers.”

Abbott’s Christian Nationalist agenda is still causing irreparable damage, after his actions have padlocked abortion clinics in the state of Texas as a phony reaction to the pandemic.Those who would demonize nonbelievers and belittle as much as 26 percent of the state population that is not religious clearly have no compunction in denying women their constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade, we contended.

End hate-spewing White House bible study
Texas didn’t monopolize our attention — far from it. We again called on the Trump administration this week to dissolve its embarrassing and divisive White House bible study after the head preacher spouted coronavirus-related bigotry. It’s time for the White House to show this hatemonger the door, we concluded.

Stop bailing out churches
We warned the country about how the Trump administration’s Small Business Administration is unconstitutionally trying to bail out churches. Taxpayers should not be forced to support churches — even in the middle of a pandemic, FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel wrote in an op-ed for Religion Dispatches. We got together with other religious freedom organizations to remind Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley that this is the wrong thing to do. And we sent an action alert requesting you to ask the Small Business Administration to act constitutionally.

Arrest scofflaw preachers!
We did praise officials when the occasion demanded it. Law enforcement across the country is cracking down on renegade preachers defying coronavirus restrictions — and that’s the way it should be, we affirmed.

The Florida governor is endangering lives
Unfortunately, the Florida governor is pandering to his Christian Nationalist allies who are raising Cain over the arrest of a preacher in his state. We’ve warned Ron DeSantis that he is endangering the lives of Floridians by exempting churches from social-distancing orders, and have asked our Florida members to persuade him to start implementing common-sense measures.

The Catholic League chief bloviator
There were other assorted theocrats we tackled with glee. Catholic League chief blowhard Bill Donohue recently tried to take us on for lambasting Mike Pence, and Andrew had a blast responding to him.

“Bill Donohue, the Catholic League’s resident bloviator, is once again tilting at straw men,” Andrew starts his piece. “Never one to stake his reputation on facts or data, Donohue’s latest piece focuses solely on the Freedom From Religion Foundation and is as windy as it is witless.”

Read on to have some fun.

The CEO sermonizer
When the MyPillow CEO misused his invitation to a Coronavirus Task Force meeting and launched into a sermon standing beside the president, we excoriated him, as this blog by a kindred freethinker admiringly details.

We’ll continue to fight for a secular public education system
As you can see, the pandemic has not halted the legal system. A federal judge dismissed this week the claims of a mother who, with our support, has been challenging religious indoctrination in a West Virginia school system. Because those classes were suspended as a result of FFRF’s litigation, the court ruled the lawsuit is moot. It’s important to note that we’ve really won this case, but FFRF is determined to get the courts and the school system to give real assurances it will not bring back its outrageous fundamentalist instruction. (Young kids were being taught that Adam and Eve had fun sliding down the backs of brontosauruses!)

Bible-thumpers are incorrigible
The scourge also doesn’t seem to have stopped the shenanigans of legislative bible-thumpers. The West Virginia Legislature has passed a law allowing bible classes in public school — and these are financial and legal time bombs, we asserted in letters we sent to pretty much every school district and superintendent in West Virginia.

An uplifting musical journey
We have been focusing intensely on the coronavirus, but we have a lot to distract you from it, too. Our “Freethought Matters” Sunday TV show is the concluding installment of a two-part series in which FFRF Co-President/“Freethought Matters” co-host Dan Barker and classical pianist Jarred Dunn take us on a jaunt through the freethought history of classical music. Legends such as Brahms, Verdi, Debussy, Elgar, Ravel, Prokofiev and Shostakovich were decidedly not religious. Barker and classical virtuoso Dunn talk about the freethinking nature of these composers and perform compositions, including Brahms’ “Intermezzo” — perfect upliftment from what’s been weighing all of us down. Find out where you can watch the show this Sunday. Or you can always catch it on our YouTube channel.

And other pleasing diversions
And, wait, there’s more. Dan, Andrew and comedian Leighann Lord “got together” via Skype for our “Ask An Atheist” Facebook Live Feature this week to discuss working from home, stand-up comedy, and ministers getting arrested. And for the main interview on our radio show, your spirits will lift hearing effervescent freethinking actress, playwright and former SNL comic Julia Sweeney, who is “sheltering at home” in Hollywood, about her co-starring roles in shows such as “Shrill,” “Work in Progress” and the upcoming season of “American Gods.”

Between attempting to inject some sense into policymaking around the pandemic and trying to get our minds off of it as our staff works remotely, we’ve been running ragged. But we’ve been able to do all of this only due to you and your continued support.

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