Director of Communications
Freedom From Religion Foundation
Certainly, a good deal of our labor has been focused on the coronavirus, including our efforts to instill some sense into constitutionally wayward public officials. “America’s acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf drew fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation after he revealed in a radio interview that clergy members had been added to a list of workers required to keep essential services operating at full strength during the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote a prominent freethinking blogger.
Betsy DeVos’ unconstitutional proposal
And we condemned Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ plan to use $300 million in coronavirus stimulus money for “microgrants.” “DeVos’ neovoucher proposal is another assault on the Constitution and the American principle of the separation of state and church,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarked.
Rapping at home
Many of our recent media offerings have also connected with our current global situation.
On our Facebook Live “Ask an Atheist,” feature we presented the world premiere of rapper Baba Brinkman’s new music video, “Stay Home” (a message that everyone should heed!). FFRF Co-President Dan Barker also chatted with the performer about how faith doesn’t provide any answers to our predicament.
Courageously combating superstition in India
Dan, Annie Laurie and I spoke on the phone all the way from India with Avinash Patil, head of the Organization to Eradicate Superstition in Maharashtra (winner of FFRF’s 2019 Avijit Roy Courage Award). His group is providing invaluable humanitarian relief and dispelling quack science (including some unbelievably icky Hindu Nationalist “cures”) during this scourge.
He’ll have no qualms at the end
Our offering to you this week from veteran writer and freethinker James Haught acquires added resonance due to the pandemic, even if it doesn’t directly deal with it.
“I’m quite aware that my turn is approaching,” he writes in a superbly reflective column. “The realization hovers in my mind like a frequent companion.”
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Stopping the Lord’s Prayer
But even if we’re confined at home, we haven’t let ourselves be confined otherwise by the virus.
We, along with two local members, filed a motion this week for summary judgment against a West Virginia city’s unconstitutional prayer practice. We had sued the city of Parkersburg in 2018 to stop the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer before every City Council meeting.
“The practice continues today in the face of plaintiffs’ objections and well-established law barring legislators from reciting prayers from exclusively one faith in local government meetings,” our brief states. “Through its commitment to this practice and tradition, Parkersburg has essentially adopted the Lord’s Prayer as the official prayer of the city.”
Read the coverage in the local newspaper.
An evergreen movie on Sunday
We have a memorable throwback for you on our “Freethought Matters” show this week. You’ll be watching an evergreen film of ours this Sunday. FFRF’s second movie, “Champions of the First Amendment” (1988), introduces major plaintiffs who’ve been triumphant in landmark state/church cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Find where and when you can see it. Or you can catch it today and thereafter on our YouTube channel.
Debunking false legal history
FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel deserves congratulations for an article published in a prestigious law review journal in which he exposes the abuse of history in First Amendment cases.
“Unfortunately, that’s happening more and more,” Andrew warns. “When it comes to mixing state and church or ignoring the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has shown a penchant for elevating bad history over sound principle.”
Setting straight errant officials, bringing you classic movies, pursuing our lawsuits and correcting bad history — we’re able to do all this and so much more only due to your unrelenting generosity.