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Great media coverage, inspirational tales, a Pride Month offering, and God’s nonexistence

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1619efbb b6df a72c cfe0 718d9bf953f6 Great media coverage, inspirational tales, a Pride Month offering, and God’s nonexistence

We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are enjoying being in the limelight this week.

Our strong objection to a mass baptism carried out by an Arkansas sheriff’s office has received a lot of media coverage in the state.

“A Crawford County church’s baptism ceremony for more than three dozen inmates at the county jail in April drew the attention of a national nonprofit that advocates for the separation of church and state, according to a news release,” says a story in a statewide news portal. “The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has an Arkansas chapter, asked the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office to stop ‘the proselytization of a captive audience of inmates,’ citing an April 24 Facebook post from the sheriff’s office that has since been deleted.”

You can read other reporting about our intervention here and here.

A long write-up on our appeal to end school board prayers
Our appeal to an Ohio school board to stop prayers at its meetings prompted a lengthy write-up in the main local publication.

“A group from Wisconsin that has successfully removed religious references from Stark County schools over the past 12 years is now warning the Marlington Local school board that it is violating the Constitution by beginning its board meetings with a prayer,” stated an article in the Canton newspaper. “The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 1,000 members in Ohio and more than 40,000 members nationwide, sent a letter to Marlington school board president Karen Humphries on May 9 that requests the board immediately stop opening its public meetings with prayer. Samantha F. Lawrence, a legal fellow with the foundation, wrote that a concerned Marlington community member, who isn’t identified, reported the violation to the foundation, stating the board’s use of Christian prayer made them feel ‘upset, uncomfortable and angry.’”

A letter to this publication strongly supports our actions.

We’re creating media buzz
Our calling out of appallingly judgmental Christian remarks at an Arizona school board’s meetings is already creating buzz just a day or two after we alerted the media.

“A national advocacy group says Peoria Unified school board members are imposing their religious beliefs on others when they invoke the bible during public meetings, a violation they say is unconstitutional,” says one storyAnother begins, “An umbrella group that advocates for the First Amendment’s separation of church and state is urging the Peoria Unified School District to stop the promotion of religion at board meetings.” And a local radio station did a piece on this issue, too.

Annie Laurie’s op-ed in a Connecticut news portal
To top it all,  FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor had an op-ed in Connecticut’s leading online news portal making the case that official police chaplains are a bad idea.

“James Madison, the primary architect of our secular Constitution, aptly noted, ‘Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together,’” her piece concludes. “The East Hartford Police Department needs to follow his advice and end the chaplaincy program.”

Recent secular news developments
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We also continued to highlight secular news developments — both good and bad. We lauded a new poll showing half of Americans lack confidence in God’s existence. We condemned the Ugandan president’s catering to the agenda of U.S. Christian groups in recently signing the most extreme anti-homosexuality law in Africa. And we emphasized how the 102nd anniversary of the heinous Tulsa massacre and the Connecticut Senate’s laudable exoneration of 16th century “witches” shows the power of acknowledging history.

Our lobbying arm picks the good and the bad
FFRF Action Fund, our lobbying arm, was busy this week identifying good and bad lawmakers and bills.

It called out, for distorting history, Christian nationalist Michigan state Rep. Joseph Fox as its “Theocrat of the Week” while applauding Connecticut state Sen. Saud Anwar as its “Secularist of the Week” for acknowledging it. Anwar, a physician, led his state Senate’s approval of a resolution absolving 34 accused of witchcraft in Connecticut in the 1600s. And Fox, a first-term Michigan state legislator who was a Christian teacher and administrator for 25 years, has introduced legislation to compel public schools to falsely instruct all pupils in “the Christian foundations of the United States.”

Another public official in Fox’s mold is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and that’s why FFRF Action Fund applauded the recent vote to impeach him. Paxton’s actions during his tenure as attorney general of Texas have consistently demonstrated a disregard for the constitutional rights of all citizens, particularly those who do not adhere to his personal religious beliefs.

A special Pride Month offering
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Our own website has a special offering for you: In honor of Pride Month, we’re saluting LGBTQ-plus freethinkers. Check out the illustrious list and enjoy the informative bios here.

Truly inspirational tales
Our media menu this week will motivate you.

Our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week is a truly inspirational story — and from our office itself. Before becoming an attorney at FFRF, Chris Line weighed in at over 440 pounds. In June 2017, he embarked on a personal journey that would see him lose more than 250 pounds. FFRF Co-President Dan Barker sat down with Chris to discuss his transformation and what it takes to make progress and achieve your goals as well as how that applies to FFRF’s work. Watch the episode here.

Our main feature on our Freethought Radio show this week provides inspiration in huge doses: We hear 11-yr-old Elle Harris describe her book Elle The Humanist. It gives you confidence in the future of this country.

A recently observed day of importance
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez spotlights a recently observed day of importance.

“Sunday, May 28, was Menstrual Hygiene Day,” she writes. “The purpose of this global day of action is to raise awareness about menstruation and barriers to menstrual products and education. In doing so, Menstrual Hygiene Day helps to break the taboo and stigma of menstruation.”

Why trans issues should concern us all
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The recent controversies about trans issues are not actually about trans people, FFRF Equal Justice Fellow Kat Grant writes — and explains why to those who may not understand how anti-trans laws endanger democracy. “You aren’t paying for your own safety with trans lives, you’re simply empowering the forces of theocracy to come after you next,” Grant concludes.

The Christian god doesn’t exist
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught takes on the existence of God.

“Any intelligent person can prove that the Christian god doesn’t exist,” he begins. “All it takes is some obvious logic.”

We’ve certainly known that all the time — and that’s why, with your help, we aim to spread such freethinking ideas as widely as possible.

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