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Clarence Thomas, Catholic abuse, us “Nones” and Earth Day

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We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been caught up in a flurry of activity — especially at the national level and in our home region.

The U.S. Supreme Court appears ready to change employment law in favor of religious workers if you go by this week’s oral argument proceedings in a case involving a challenge by a rural postal carrier who is contending that he should have been permitted to take all Sundays off. FFRF has filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court asking it to affirm a circuit court judgment in favor of the Postal Service. ​

FFRF Associate Counsel Liz Cavell and FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott talked about the Groff v. DeJoy postal service case for our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature. Watch the insightful discussion here.

No religiously slanted ordinance
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We demanded that the city of Minneapolis revoke a new ordinance allowing the broadcast of an amplified call to prayer at any time of the day. Allowing religious organizations a special exemption from Minneapolis’ noise ordinance is the opposite of equal access, we pointed out, since it privileges one religious group’s messages above all others, and all religious messages over any nonreligious speech.

A welcome development in our home state
We welcomed our home state’s filing of sexual abuse charges against a former cardinal, and a prominent freethinking blog took notice.

“The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation celebrated the attorney general’s decision to charge [Theodore] McCarrick,” states Hemant Mehta’s Friendly Atheist blog.

“We know from other reports that the scope of abuse and cover-up by the church around the entire world has been staggering,” he quotes FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor as saying. “This development shows why an aggressive investigation is needed in Wisconsin — and in every state that has not yet completed one.”

Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law expansion condemnable
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We condemned the Florida Board of Education’s vote on Wednesday to expand through the 12th grade last year’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans classroom instruction in gender identity and sexual orientation. By this expansion, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Board of Education have made it clear that the flimsy excuse that the original law was meant to “protect” particularly young children was merely a pretext to open the door to large-scale censorship, homophobia and transphobia in all Florida public schools.

Clarence Thomas & secularist/theocrat of the week
Our lobbying arm was active, too. FFRF Action Fund demanded court reforms in the wake of damaging exposés about Justice Clarence Thomas’ ethics lapses, calling on Congress to take immediate action to pass the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal and Transparency Act. And it chose Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani for “cheers” as “Secularist of the Week” and Missouri state Sen. Mike Moon for “jeers” as “Theocrat of the Week.” Eskamani was picked for telling it like it is about Florida’s just-passed abortion ban, renaming it the “Forced Pregnancy Act,” while Moon was selected for opposing gender-affirming care for minors while endorsing child marriage.

Other happenings around the country — and the world
For a round-up of other significant news developments, at home and abroad, read Annie Laurie’s new blog.

The path of abortion becoming illegal
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez sounds the alarm in her column this week about how abortion is becoming illegal nationwide. “We are on the path to having abortion banned throughout the country,” she laments.

Waco’s 30th anniversary highlights dangers of cults
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Veteran writer and freethinker Jim Haught uses the 30th anniversary of Waco this week to reflect on the danger of cults.

“What possesses some people, to make them believe crackpot gurus so intensely that they’re willing to kill rivals, strangers, their own children and themselves?” he asks. “This recurring pattern defies comprehension.”

Our radio show guest survived a cult
The guest on our radio show this week actually lived in a cult. Michelle Dowd, author of the new memoir Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult, talks to Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor about her experiences.

The rise of ‘Nones’ spotlighted on our TV show
The rise of us “Nones” is spotlighted on our Sunday TV show. Eastern Illinois University Professor Ryan Burge is the author of The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are and Where They Are Going. “Every single birth cohort is less religious; it’s not just young people,” he explains on “Freethought Matters.” You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel here. Or find out where you can catch it on television Sunday.

Happy Earth Day to all of us stewards of the planet!
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We “Nones” are already making a difference on crucial issues. Atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated are the most likely to recognize that human activity is causing climate change, as we point out in an Earth Day statement. Almost all atheists (90 percent) and agnostics (84 percent) say humans can slow global climate change. Fundamentalist religious dogma needs to get out of the way so that this kind of thinking and resolve can save our planet.

Happy Earth Day, everybody!

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