This week, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve resumed our TV show and our Ron Reagan ad campaign, have chided a senator, lobbied for freethinkers around the world, granted significant student scholarships and chimed in on pressing matters, among other things.
Our “Freethought Matters” TV show is on the air again for the fall season, with author and TV pundit Eleanor Clift the guest on the first show being broadcast the coming Sunday. (You probably remember her as the voice of sanity on “The McLaughlin Group.”) FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interview Clift about her book Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment in honor of the recent centenary celebration of the amendment’s adoption. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can see it this Sunday, Sept. 6.
And the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s iconic TV commercial recorded by Ron Reagan (“unabashed atheist, not afraid of burning in hell”) will return to Comedy Central and MSNBC starting next week. The 30-second spot will run six times in September during MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” and four times during the same time period on Comedy’s Central “The Daily Show.” Check out the times for the coming week and watch the ad!
Stop being so mulish, Sen. Cassidy!
We chided a U.S. senator this week for being unconstitutionally stubborn. A concerned Louisiana constituent had contacted FFRF to report that every Sunday, bible verses are posted to Sen. Bill Cassidy’s official Facebook page, and FFRF had written to the senator pointing out the problems with his practice. Instead of heeding FFRF’s counsel, Cassidy has doubled down on his obstinacy. (Robert G. Ingersoll Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson talks about this and some of his major victories ending state/church violations on this week’s radio program. See below.)
“Sen. Cassidy is willfully misunderstanding the issue,” Annie Laurie responded. “As someone serving the Constitution, he can’t impose his religion on his constituents using official channels.”
Spotlighting freethinkers all over the world
We take pride in having an international aspect to our work, and we were particularly busy this week on that front. On our “Ask An Atheist” Facebook Live! feature this week, Dan and FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne interviewed all the way from Nigeria Leo Igwe, a secular humanist activist and academic, to talk about his government’s detention and disappearance of fellow freethinker Mubarak Bala and the dangers of widespread blasphemy laws.
And we sent out an Action Alert to our members asking them to put pressure on the Indian government to apprehend the killers of four rationalists in recent years. Among these was Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, who founded Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), last year’s recipient of FFRF’s Avijit Roy Courage Award in memory of Dabholkar. Please lend your signature, if you haven’t done so already!
Halt religious privilege!
We also requested you all to urge your members of Congress to support the Do No Harm Act, a common-sense bill that limits application of the infamous Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in order to ensure that Christian conservatives cannot wield religious liberty as a weapon to discriminate. Please add your voice.
A new set of scholarships helps students
We announced $5,000 needs-based tuition scholarships for four students, making this the second annual distribution of the Forward Freethought Tuition Relief Scholarships funded by generous FFRF benefactor Lance Bredvold. This year, the students were selected by Black Skeptics Los Angeles, an African-American humanist-atheist community-based organization. Congratulations to these impressive students!
Quit the constitutional miseducation
We insisted that a North Carolina school board immediately cease injecting sectarian religion and prayer into its meetings. “When a government entity like the board engages in prayer at its meetings, it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by showing preference for religious belief,” FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson wrote to Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Jerry Oates.
FFRF is going green
We’re proud to announce that FFRF’s headquarters — the historic Freethought Hall in downtown Madison, Wis. — is going solar. FFRF’s Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel, who leads the in-house effort to make FFRF more environmentally conscious and our actions more sustainable, says: “This is about living out our secular values. We have a duty: to our children and grandchildren, to posterity, to the other species we share our planet with and to ensure our world is habitable for the future.”
Christianity and racism
We added our freethinking voices to raging current debates. American Christianity has a white supremacy problem, Andrew contended in a recent column for Religion Dispatches. “Until we learn that ‘Christian’ is not synonymous with ‘good,’ that religion is not a proxy for moral virtue, we will never defeat racism,” he concluded.
Annie Laurie focused on the same issue, remarking: “Since the national office of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is based in Madison, Wis., we’ve been paying close attention to the crisis in Kenosha in our home state.”
Our main radio show guest this week has literally written a new book on the subject. Annie Laurie and Dan talked with the distinguished founder and CEO of Public Religion Research Institute Robert P. Jones about his just-published White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity.
Delving into history
Two other of our writers took more historical perspectives.
“How does one deal most effectively with QAnon-type conspiracy theories? FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne asked. “And what lessons do the nation’s Founders have to offer us in this regard?”
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught looked back at the dubious history of “miraculous” revelations.
“Are these vision-seers psychotics or ‘fantasy-prone’ neurotics who really believe their tales?” he asks. “Or are they charlatans who invent lies, then spend the rest of their lives repeating them?”
Check out his fun- and fact-filled take on the phenomenon.
See, we do so much in a typical week — and all of it only due to you.