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Congressional appreciation, reproductive equity, end times and a movie recommendation

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We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been making quite an impression in recent days.

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker joined several major national groups at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol asking for judicial ethics reforms. “Separation of powers does not mean insulation of powers. It means checks and balances,” Dan said. Check out more details about the event and see a clip of Dan’s speech here.

Members of Congress are noticing us (and vice versa)
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We are indeed getting heard on Capitol Hill. When Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., introduced (along wth Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif.) a resolution calling for May 4 to be the National Day of Reason, he made note of our appreciation for his efforts.

We are very much thankful for Raskin’s and Huffman’s strivings on behalf of reason. That’s why FFRF Action Fund, our lobbying arm, chose them as our “Secularists of the Week.” (Our “Theocrat of the Week” designation went to a Kansas state senator whose professed idea of diversity is to convert people to Christianity.)

Raskin hasn’t been the only member of Congress to notice us recently. When Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., co-introduced the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act, which aims to tackle child abuse in institutional care, his press release included our praise of the legislation.

Dan Barker is quoted by national news service
FFRF’s Dan Barker has been quoteworthy recently. Religion News Service cited him in defense of the Atheist Street Pirates, a project to remove religious signs from public-owned space. “Barker noted the right to free speech, but he said this kind of religious signage — without a permit — does not belong on the ‘public property that belongs to all of us,’” the news service stated.

Utah media runs a big story on us
We sent out a mass mailing to a bunch of educational institutions in Utah that has made the media in the state perk up their ears.

“The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, opposes the participation of fifth grade students from 18 Utah public and charter schools in the Hope of America event, part of America’s Freedom Festival in Provo,” says a big story in the Provo paper headlined, “National group questions legality of student participation in Freedom Festival event.” “The foundation claims that the event is overtly religious, and that it is illegal to make public school students participate in a religious event. The group also cited the location for Hope of America, the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University, operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Our constitutional victories
We pulled off a couple of constitutional victories this week. We received a welcome promise from a California public charter school that all future school functions will be free from sectarian proselytization.  And a Kansas school system has ended staff participation in a local Fellowship of Christian Athletes club after we complained.

“Teachers cannot be directly involved in creating or running student religious clubs, and this is particularly important when the clubs take a position on religion,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We’re pleased that school officials have taken action to uphold this important neutrality.”

Our lobbying arm has been busy
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FFRF’s lobbying arm, the FFRF Action Fund, has kept up a busy pace. It warned about the skyrocketing book bans in the country and thanked free-speech advocates for speaking out against this censorship. It commended the fact that medical aid-in-dying laws are picking up nationwide support, asserting that it is literally a matter of life and death. And it organized a fascinating “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live discussion by FFRF’s Liz Cavell, Chris Line and Ryan Dudley discussing citizen lobbying and pending congressional legislation.

An expert on reproductive equity guest on our Sunday TV show
Our “Freethought Matters” Sunday TV show has an erudite guest talking about the intersection of religion, abortion, maternal health and reproductive justice — and especially how it affects Black women. Tiffany Green is a humanist and an assistant professor in the Department of Population, Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it on television Sunday.

Talking about the end times
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Is the end really near? Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor speak with distinguished scholar and bestselling author Bart D. Ehrman about his new book, Armageddon: What the Bible Really Says About the End.

Annie Laurie recommends a movie
Annie Laurie wants you to see  a film currently running in the theaters.

“The new movie, ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,’ based on the eponymous Judy Blume book, could not be better timed, given the growing censorship of books in school libraries across the country,” she begins her new blog. “And I can’t recommend it enough. Everyone opposed to book bannings should fight back by buying a ticket. It’s not propaganda; it’s simply a fabulous film.”

Pondering on the universe’s deepest mysteries
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Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught reflects this week on the universe’s deepest mysteries.

“Many thinkers say the ultimate mysteries cannot be answered, and never will be,” he concludes. “But that seems like a cop-out — like shutting off one’s mind in the face of bewilderment. If anyone knows an understandable answer to these brain-wreckers, please let me know.”

Abortion news from around the country
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez provides a round-up of the latest in abortion news from around the country.

“Whether you live in a state with abortion restrictions or accessibility, we need all hands on deck to defend abortion,” she exhorts. “No state is safe from religious extremists who wish to take away reproductive rights and impose their worldview on a secular nation. Get involved locally and make your voice heard. The future of democracy — and reproductive rights — depends on our participation.”

It’s not only reproductive rights but a host of other state/church-related issues that need defending. That’s why we try our best week after week — all made doable with your generous help.

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