There have been a lot of exciting things going on at the Freedom From Religion Foundation recently.
We are releasing at a special media event next Wednesday a report (crafted by us in collaboration with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, an unlikely but wonderful partner) on the role that Christian nationalism played in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack. “We are proud to work together in defense of ‘E Pluribus Unum,’” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. Watch for more details next week!
No officials at the National Prayer Breakfast!
Another major project of ours is to end official participation in the National Prayer Breakfast. That’s why we expressed our dismay when President Biden attended the annual shindig this week — and the major media outlet Salon noticed. The Christian Broadcasting Network took note, too, making our objections the centerpiece of an interview with Sen. Chris Coons, who defended his participation on the grounds of shared faith or civility (or something). On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, Young Turks reporter Jonathan Larsen, who has done contributed important journalism on the subject, joined FFRF Co-President Dan Barker and FFRF Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann to shed light on the true nature of the breakfast.
A memorial to Thomas Paine
There’ll be a major imminent announcement regarding yet another ongoing project of ours: a memorial to “Forgotten Founder” Thomas Paine. Stay tuned! The Thomas Paine Memorial Association, which FFRF is an organizational member of, recently organized an online celebration to raise public awareness and support. Watch the fun-filled event here, which includes U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin and comedian Julia Sweeney.
Our funding of an African-American humanism course
We were also pleased to announce this week that our secular studies endowment to Pitzer College (in California) is being tapped this spring to offer a one-of-a-kind course on African American humanism. A year after FFRF’s funding of a $300,000 secular studies endowment at Pitzer College, Sikivu Hutchinson (FFRF’s Freethought Heroine at our 2021 national convention) has been appointed an adjunct professor there. Congratulations!
Remembering Black freethinkers
Every February we update and release FFRF’s salute to Black History Month, highlighting the many distinguished African Americans, past and present, who have made known their dissent from religion.
St. Louis paper pays attention to our gubernatorial objection
Our outreach to the press is resulting in major media focus on FFRF, as well. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch extensively quoted our denunciation of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s recent tweet indicating that he’d appoint only folks who shared his “Christian values.” The paper reported: “The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which says it ‘works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church,’ on Wednesday called on Parson to delete his tweet.” Read on.
Refreshing Ron Reagan guest on our TV show
Our interview on our Sunday TV show is headline-making in its own right. With the historic first-time airing of the commercial that Ron Reagan recorded for us on “60 Minutes,” we are reprising our “Freethought Matters” broadcast with the always refreshing, candid and quotable star of that ad. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it on Sunday.
How philosophy can save us
We have a couple of friends as guests on our radio show this week. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin tells us why it is important to memorialize Thomas Paine. And then, Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan and Annie Laurie speak with philosopher and UW Professor Lawrence Shapiro about his new book (co-written with Steven Nadler): When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us From Ourselves.
Our events on the roster
Dan and I are involved in a couple of compelling events. Dan will be speaking to the Bay Area Humanists on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 3 p.m. Pacific. Please RSVP here to see the Zoom link. And I participated in a global online forum (headlined by Professor Noam Chomsky) held to draw world attention to the Hindu nationalist Indian government’s outrageous conduct.
Abortion rights on the line
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez focuses in her blog on the extremism of anti-abortion public figures. One such person, legislative candidate Garrett Soldano, recently insisted that rape victims shouldn’t have abortions because “God put them in this moment.” While Soldano’s comments are disgusting, it is important to note that in the realm of religious extremism, they are not shocking, Barbara points out. Thankfully, some legislators are willing to go in a more positive direction. Lawmakers in West Virginia have recently introduced a bill (a development Barbara brought to our attention) that would repeal all abortion restrictions statewide. Hurray!
The end times for religion
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught takes an optimistic view of where our society is headed.
“These could be the end times for religion in the West,” he writes. “We’re entering a new Secular Age when magical supernatural beliefs cannot be swallowed by educated people.”
With your support, we’re engaged in a lot of projects to help hasten that process.