As we’ve now turned the corner into November, FFRF wraps up another busy week fighting for your rights (and the rights of everyone!).
Casting light on Florida school violations
FFRF’s Legal Team put out a new report spotlighting a multitude of school-based constitutional violations in Florida.
“Casting Light: The Sunshine State’s Problems of Religion in its Public Schools” documents serious, systemic Establishment Clause violations in Florida public schools, ranging from teachers imposing their personal religion on students to administrators establishing chaplaincies. The report has been sent to every Florida school district.
Texas voters prop up churches
FFRF contends that voters in Texas unwisely approved Proposition 3, a ballot measure amending the state constitution to prohibit the state from limiting worship services prohibit the state from limiting worship services even for public health considerations, such as in the event of another pandemic. FFRF is disappointed with this result, which may lead to easily preventable deaths in the future. Time and again, worship services have turned out to be super-spreader events during Covid outbreaks.
Spanish freethinking on TV
FFRF’s “Freethought Matters” show this Sunday delves into Hispanic disbelief in Spain and worldwide. The show’s interview is with Manel Salido, the president of the Humanists of Spain.
If you don’t live in the quarter-plus of the nation where the show broadcasts on Sunday, you can already catch the interview on the “Freethought Matters” playlist on FFRF’s YouTube channel. New shows go up every Thursday.
Judge not very judicious with his words
FFRF has criticized a highly questionable biblical reference made Wednesday during the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in Wisconsin.
Judge Bruce Schroeder raised eyebrows when he explained the concept of “hearsay” to the jurors by citing the trial of Paul in the New Testament.
“Saint Paul, when he was put on trial . . . he happened to have been a Roman citizen. So, he had rights that we share now as Americans,” Schroeder clumsily explained. “He said, ‘Where are the witnesses against me? I am a Roman, and I have a right to confront my accusers. They should be here.’ And so that led to, actually, his voyage to Rome to have his case heard before the Emperor. Um, so it’s an ancient rule; it’s strictly, strictly enforced . . . .”
“This shows how little believers know their own bible,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “We are told the bible is divine and infallible, yet it is basically ‘hearsay.’”
FFRF chides faith-based football in Florida
FFRF this week admonished a Florida school district for allowing religion to encroach on its football program. Lake Placid High School allows Pastor Dustin Woods of Grace Bible Church-Highlands to preach to and pray with its football team before each game. And Coach Carl White holds “weekly sessions” in his home where players “support each other . . . with a basis in faith.”
Solicitor general nails it on Texas abortion law
FFRF agrees with the U.S. solicitor general’s powerful remarks before the Supreme Court that the Texas law banning most abortions is a threat to the constitutional rights of all Americans.
U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar noted in her closing argument on Monday: “Texas’ position is that no one can sue, not the women whose rights are most directly affected, not the providers who have been chilled in being able to provide those women with care, and not the United States in this suit.” If the Texas law is allowed to stand, she said, “no constitutional right is safe.”
Blog looks into Illinois abortion parental consent law
Barbara Alvarez, FFRF’s Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern, wrote a blog this week on the good news out of Illinois.
On Oct. 26, lawmakers in Illinois gave final approval to revoke a law that requires parents or guardians be notified when their underage child seeks an abortion. This means teenagers under 18 may receive an abortion without parental consent notification. The repeal is now headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk, and he is expected to approve it. “This is an important move for reproductive rights in Illinois, since parental notification was one of the last barriers to abortion access in the state,” Alvarez writes.
More discussion on religious war against reproductive rights
On this week’s “Ask an Atheist” feature on Facebook, we talk about abortion cases in federal courts that are threatening reproductive rights right now and the rapid pace at which the Supreme Court is weighing in on them.
Black, Indigenous students earn essay scholarships
FFRF has awarded nearly $23,000 to this year’s winners of its Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color student essay contest.
FFRF this week announced the 13 winners and 11 honorable mentions of the 2021 David Hudak Memorial Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color Student Essay Competition. The students were asked to write a personal persuasive essay explaining “What I would tell my family or friends about my atheism or nonbelief.” FFRF has paid out a total of $22,900 in award money for this contest this year.
You can skip this meal
FFRF has written to President Biden asking him to stop attending or endorsing the National Prayer Breakfast, which is held annually in February. FFRF also earlier sent similar letters to members of Congress who have recently sponsored or attended the event.
“The breakfast is a pay-to-play political event with a troubling history,” write FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor in their letter to Biden.
Religion does ‘more harm than good’
Columnist James Haught writes about a theologian who surprisingly said, “On balance, in the long perspective of human history, religions have done more harm than good.”
Check out Haught’s column on FFRF’s FreethoughtNow.org site.
Ethics on Freethought Radio
FFRF’s Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel explains the letter written by the Congressional Freethought Caucus to the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection complaining about the deceptive and dangerous Health Care Sharing Ministries. Then we speak with Bart Worden, executive director of the American Ethical Union, about the nontheistic religion of Ethical Culture Societies.
Thanks for being a member of FFRF and we hope you have a great weekend.