We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation did our best during the Fourth of July week to ensure that the United States of America is living up to its founding vision.
That’s why we strongly objected to the Utah governor’s proclamation of July 2 this year as a “Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving” due to his state receiving a huge amount of snowfall after a multiyear drought. We reminded Spencer Cox of the oath he has taken to uphold the secular U.S. Constitution. “It’s embarrassing that in the 21st century a public official would announce as fact that more rain fell last winter because Utahns united to beg a supernatural force to end the drought,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarked.
We castigated Trump’s comments
We denounced, along with 20 other members of the Secular Coalition of America, Donald Trump’s recent comment asserting: “We’re warriors in a righteous crusade to stop the arsonists, the atheists, globalists and the Marxists.” The joint letter rightly concluded, channeling the intent of our Founders, “There is no need to ‘stop us’ from anything. Atheists simply want their government to avoid giving preferential treatment to the religious over the nonreligious.”
We’re trying to get Arkansas Capitol Ten Commandments yanked
We made the case today itself in oral arguments before a federal court for the removal of a Ten Commandments monolith from the grounds of the Arkansas Capitol. Along with the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers and the American Humanist Association, we filed a summary judgment motion earlier this spring asking for removal of the religious display.
“Of course, there’s no reference to the bible or God, much less to the Ten Commandments, in our secular Constitution, which is the foundational document that governs our nation,” FFRF Co-President Dan Barker commented. “The First Commandment alone — dictating which deity alone must be worshiped — is in clear and direct contravention of our First Amendment.”
Our dissection of recent Supreme Court cases
We spent a good amount of energy shedding light on significant recent cases, since the Supreme Court last week handed down several important judgments. On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, FFRF’s Liz Cavell, Kat Grant and Patrick Elliott analyzed the court’s terrible decision in the 303 Creative case, where it ruled in favor of a business owner’s right to discriminate. Watch the episode here to find out our reactions to what we’re calling a “hot mess.”
And on this week’s episode of Freethought Radio, aptly titled “Bad Decisions,” Liz and FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert spoke with co-hosts Dan and Annie Laurie about two recent bad Supreme Court verdicts: the 303 Creative judgment and the Groff v. DeJoy decision, which involves a religious postal worker. Listen up here.
Halt your praying, we tell city council
We asked a county council in South Carolina to stop opening its governmental meetings with Christian prayer. “Local government officials should not be in the business of leading prayers themselves,” FFRF Attorney Chris Line wrote to the chair of the York County Council, invoking a 2017 decision by the 4th U.S. District Court of Appeals, which is controlling in South Carolina. And he pointed to a 2022 court victory of ours in which the 4th Circuit ruled unconstitutional the practice by Parkersburg, W.Va., of starting city council meetings with the Lord’s Prayer, as the York council has done.
Freedom for whom?
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez reflected on the Fourth of July observance to ask: Freedom for whom? In this country’s history, freedom has been especially curtailed for women and for racially marginalized groups, she pointed out. “During this week celebrating so-called independence, I can’t help but wonder when freedom will ring for the millions of people who are without the ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness,” she concludes.
Josh Hawley’s epic misquote
FFRF’s lobbying arm also got into the spirit of ’76. For its “Theocrat of the Week,” it chose Sen. Josh Hawley due to his religious misquotation of Founder Patrick Henry. A refreshing tweet celebrating reality, in contrast, by drag queen Trixie Mattel won her the title of “Secularist of the Week.” “Think of the damage Hawley’s fake quote had done to the truth — all in the name of Christian nationalism, which itself of course is predicated on the lie that the United States is a Christian nation,” said Annie Laurie.
A revolutionary new scorecard
FFRF Action Fund also proudly announced its new revolutionary Dynamic Scorecard, which will enable the public to easily identify House champions of secularism through real-time updates based on legislative actions, as well as membership in the Congressional Freethought Caucus. “The scorecard enhances FFRF’s ability to effectively lobby to keep religion out of government,” said Action Fund Board Member Sean Meloy.
University delighted about essay contest honoree
Our essay contests are receiving some attention. Ohio Northern University has sent out a delighted official statement after an alum of its institution received high honor in our law student essay competition.
Laura Eickholt “edged out the competition and won second place in a national essay contest,” reads the press release. “Eickholt was awarded $3,000 from the Freedom From Religion Foundation for her essay addressing the topic; ‘How laws banning or restricting abortion should be invalidated based on the religious liberty interests of a potential plaintiff.’”
We advanced this country’s establishment ideals in a variety of ways this week — due to your generous backing. Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth!