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Christian Nationalism, preachy groups, cults and an Atheist Republic

We’ve been juggling a lot of balls at the Freedom From Religion Foundation this week.

We obtained a constitutional victory. A religious display featuring a framed prayer was promptly taken out from a South Carolina school following our complaint. “The sign was removed and the principal dealt with the issue at the school level,” the superintendent informed us. Yay!

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Ron Reagan ad debuts on CBS
Our iconic ad featuring presidential son Ron Reagan has returned to the “Rachel Maddow Show.” The spot ran in late January for the first time on CBS, which had refused to air the commercial for almost six years. “It’s a heartening sign of the times that atheists and agnostics are being allowed a voice on CBS,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

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Christian Nationalism and its consequences
Our recent report on Christian Nationalist members of Congress was featured on Religion Dispatches in the form of an op-ed by FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel. Andrew compared a recently unearthed video of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ranting about how oaths of office must be taken on a bible with footage of our new secretary of state, Antony Blinken, taking his oath of office on the Constitution. Read the whole piece here.

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FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Intern Barbara Alvarez penned an incisive blog unearthing the Christian Nationalist links between the anti-choice movement and the Jan. 6 Capitol invasion.

“Despite false claims that there was no connection between the Capitol insurrectionists and March for Life participants, and regardless of whether events are online or in-person, one aspect remains clear: Christian Nationalism has taken center stage,” she concludes. “And the motives of Christian Nationalists are simple yet startling: They seek to impose their worldview on a secular nation.”

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The effects of President Trump doing the bidding of Christian Nationalism will linger on for quite some time to come. Jen Bendery and Lena Zwarensteyn, who’ve had front seats to Trump’s packing of the courts with Christian Nationalist appointees, discuss on our most recent “Ask a Atheist” Facebook Live episode how Mitch McConnell championed these efforts and what the Biden administration should do to rebalance the judiciary.

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Mr. President, please skip this breakfast next year
We regretted that Joe Biden continued the lamentable presidential tradition of legitimizing the sectarian annual National Prayer Breakfast. He was in virtual attendance Thursday from the White House for the dubious quasi-official prayerfest. “Biden should have chosen to skip the event,” Annie Laurie remarked.

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Bad judicial logic
We blasted an appeals court ruling handed down Tuesday that dubiously claimed a historical framework justifies an Indiana courthouse nativity display. Our friend-of-the-court brief had urged: “Ending the annual, seasonal display of the nativity scene in front of the Jackson County Courthouse does not convey hostility to Christianity, but rather embraces neutrality, protecting the diversity of religious beliefs, and the constitutional rights, of all Jackson County residents.”

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Stop the preachy gatherings
The proselytizing Todd Becker Foundation is continuing even in the midst of a pandemic to preach to public school student gatherings, with a current concerted push in Nebraska. The state’s school districts should never allow this, even more so with Covid-19 raging around us, we’re stressing.

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Church corruption and abuse
We spotlighted a new Associated Press report that reveals once again how churches are stealing from the American taxpayer. This is only the tip of the corruption, we emphasized.

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Our radio show this week focused in large part on another church scandal. We called on the Wisconsin attorney general to launch an investigation into the widespread sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church, with FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne telling Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor the tragic story of an abuse victim. Then, we heard the humorous and irreverent “Noah” by the late poet and Darwin scholar Philip Appleman, read by Philip and his wife Marjorie.

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An Atheist Republic
A former Muslim who has become an ardent secular online activist, podcaster and author is the guest on our TV show this week. Armin Navabi has founded Atheist Republic, an online community that now has hundreds of branches in several countries around the world. “Atheist Republic’s main goal is mostly for atheists to realize that they’re not alone, that there’s a community for them, that they’re not isolated,” he tells Dan. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it this Sunday.

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The deadliness of cults
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught focuses in his new blog on the deadliness of cults.

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“How can society be protected from potentially dangerous ‘fringies’ — and what can be done to rescue the naive, vulnerable people who are drawn into such groups?” he concludes his piece. “The only effective method is constant warnings that should be disseminated as widely as possible.”

We’re always issuing warnings about the hazards of cults and other religious groups and — with your support — we will continue to do so.

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