Aaron Rodgers, Rev. Franklin Graham, the Arizona governor, a member of Congress and a prejudiced Indiana schoolteacher — we’ve been confronting an assortment of folks this week.
Our appeals court brief against prejudice
We filed an appeals court brief (on behalf of the Secular Student Alliance) in support of an Indiana school district’s actions to rein in a religious music teacher’s discrimination against transgender students. Our brief (written by FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott) concluded: “Public schools, and their teachers, hold a unique role in our society. Students themselves are mandated by law to attend and are placed under the authority of a teacher, whom school officials have an interest in regulating to achieve the school’s educational mission.”
A victory over Franklin Graham
We stopped a Texas school from collecting money for a proselytizing Christian group headed by none other than Rev. Franklin Graham. We’ve been assured that the district had been unaware of the school’s participation in the evangelical fundraising and that this will no longer take place. “Our tipoff had the desired effect,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
The Arizona governor’s ridiculousness
We condemned the absurdity of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey spending federal Covid relief funds to help only schools without masking mandates. “Gov. Ducey may as well spend these funds on a campaign to encourage kids to lick doorknobs!” FFRF Co-President Dan Barker remarked.
Admonishing a member of Congress
We urged a Georgia member of Congress to cancel his attendance at a town’s dedication ceremony for the Ten Commandments in his home state. The real purpose of the exhibit, we contended, was to promote the myth about America as a nation founded on Christian principles.
Expert advice to Aaron Rodgers: follow the (veterinary) science
Our new legal fellow is also a veterinarian, and in a blog this week she chastised Aaron Rodgers on his use of the animal dewormer ivermectin to treat Covid.
“To be clear, the fact that someone uses ivermectin and recovers from Covid-19 infection is not evidence, yet we can assume the use of ivermectin will increase because of Rodgers’ sponsorship of vigilante medicine,” FFRF Legal Fellow (and Dr.) Karen Heineman wrote. “When the quarterback could be using his position to help the vaccine efforts, recently expanded to children, he has chosen instead to suggest that the vaccine can do more harm than good.”
Our effective interventions
We made other less splashy but still important interventions. An Oklahoma high school is no longer proselytizing football players and students after we took to the field in defense of the U.S. Constitution. And we insisted to a Florida school system that a proselytizing teacher must quit imposing religion on middle school students.
Our media offerings this week deal with subjects ranging from (ex-)theology and paleontology to political lobbying. On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week, FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel is joined by Tori Williams Douglass and Justin Gentry to discuss the exvanglical movement, as well as outreach efforts to religious officials who are exiting the faith. Watch this fascinating discussion!
Evolution and (dis)belief
Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan and Annie Laurie interview for the show this week Princeton anthropologist and primatologist Agustín Fuentes, author of Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being, who offers his insights on timeless issues.
Spotlighting the secular lobby
And our TV show this Sunday charts how secular interests are promoted in the nation’s corridors of power. There’s a lobbying group for folks like us called the Secular Coalition for America, with offices in Washington, D.C. The organization’s Executive Director Debbie Allen is interviewed on the show. You can already watch the interview on our YouTube channel. Or find you where you can catch it Sunday.
“Skepticism arose in Ancient Greece,” he writes. “It was suppressed under Christianity in the Dark Ages, but sprang back in the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason to finally blossom in modern scientific times.”