Ending daily intercom school prayer, rebuking U.S. senators and statehouses, running our ad on prominent TV shows and interviewing student activists — we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation do all this and much more in a regular week.
Our objection to daily intercom prayer in a Louisiana elementary school quickly had the desired effect. “Ouachita Parish Superintendent Don Coker said the situation has been addressed,” states a story in the local newspaper. Our message was heard loud and clear — even without an intercom.
God not needed, Sen. Tuberville
We rebuked Alabama’s junior senator for his objection to another recent victory of ours. After Jefferson County Schools in Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s state ended its unconstitutional custom of prayer over the loudspeaker before high school football games due to our intervention, Tuberville tweeted from his official Senate Twitter account: “We need more God in our lives, not less.” “We” don’t need “more God in our lives,” FFRF emphasized; we need our public officials and employees to respect the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
Remove Christian nationalist flag from Arizona Capitol
We’re urging the Arizona state Capitol to remove a highly problematic Christian nationalist flag currently on display there. The flag, which reads “An Appeal to Heaven” and is associated with an evangelical movement, is currently flying on the second floor of the Arizona legislative building.
The Establishment Clause prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages, we’re reminding the Arizona Legislature.
We return to Rachel Maddow’s show
Our Ron Reagan’s “unabashed atheist” ad returned to Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show this week. The ad is running Monday through Thursday this week and next during the live broadcast (9 p.m. Eastern time) and repeats during the midnight (Eastern time) re-airing.
A “Do Say Gay” Fla. student activist on our TV show
We have a delightful interview on our TV show this Sunday with a Florida high school student in the forefront of protests against Florida’s anti-LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” law. “All of the oppression that I’ve faced my entire life, whether or not these people are religious, the hatred stems from ideals that come from religion, and it’s literally a human construct,” Will Larkins tells “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it Sunday.
Dealing with the anti-abortion assault
The anti-abortion onslaught in states all over the country is occupying more and more of our attention. We condemned the Kentucky Legislature for overriding a veto and making Kentucky the first U.S. state without legal abortion access since Roe v. Wade. Abortion bans in states such as Oklahoma are not OK, we contended. On the flip side, we applauded Maryland lawmakers for standing up in defense of abortion rights and the Idaho Supreme Court for halting that state’s draconian ban. And we saluted Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17), asking that the importance of secular health care be recognized on such occasions.
Frighteningly, abortion is even being criminalized in the United States, as FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez points out in her recent column.
“Such is the outcome when you live in a country that favors faith over facts,” she writes. “Abortion is an extremely safe procedure, and no medical or human rights organizations condone abortion bans or restrictions. Rather, they advocate for expansion of abortion access and care. The only organized opposition to abortion access and care are religious interests.”
Baseless military anti-vaxxers
FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott has a thoughtful blog on how off-base the objections to vaccinations in the military are — and how, sadly, the courts are seriously entertaining such objections.
“As these cases make their way through our courts, military commanders may succeed in overturning lower court injunctions against the military’s Covid-19 policies,” he writes. “But that is too little and too late. The ultimate fix is for Congress to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act so these cases cannot be brought before the courts in the first place.”
Removing the religious pledge in our home county
On the latest episode of our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, we deal with a controversy on our home turf. Guest Heidi Wegleitner, a supervisor in Dane County (where FFRF is headquartered), is sponsoring a motion to remove the religious pledge & prayer from the county board agenda. She explains the importance of keeping county board meetings secular.
Supreme Court and Hindu nationalism on the radio waves
Our radio show first has an interview with FFRF attorney Sam Grover about the oral arguments he gave last week before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in our lawsuit challenging a Texas judge who opens sessions with a prayer. Then, Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor speak with journalist and author Ian Millhiser about his new book The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court is Reshaping America.
Speaking of radio, I will be on Madison’s community radio station this Sunday at 5:30 Central to talk with a guest about a new smash hit Indian movie that is blatantly serving the agenda of the ruling Hindu nationalist government. Tune in here!
At cross purposes with public opinion
FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman recounts something interesting that’s happened to her through work. “I’ve recently been caught in the crosshairs of a controversy as a legal fellow at the Freedom From Religion Foundation — and it’s been quite an experience,” she writes. Read on to find out the rest of the story.
Europe’s sectarian wars went on forever
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught provides another insightful history lesson in his column this week. “Rampant corruption and greed in the medieval Catholic Church triggered the Reformation, which spawned a never-ending bloodbath of Catholic-Protestant wars in Europe,” begins his piece, which provides in his inimitable style a look at the religious frenzy that wracked Europe for centuries.
We know very well the harm that religion can do in the public sphere. That’s why we strive —- with your support — to keep it out of the civic arena.