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Judicial reform, anti-vaxxers, preachy officials, and religious warfare

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We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been displaying an array of strong convictions. We’re excited to be a major funder of an upcoming freethought conference for women of color, taking place in Chicago late September. “We’re delighted to be co-sponsoring the Women of Color Beyond Belief conference, which is such a worthwhile and needed event to ensure the voices of nonreligious women of color are heard,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. Sign up!

Judicial reform is needed – now

We have been urging judicial reform for quite a while, and a recent judgment(al) chain emphasizes the critical need for this. The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative bloc upheld an order from a President Trump-appointed judge (previously general counsel for a theocratic group) to reinstate a harsh Trump immigration policy. Congress has the ability to fix this problem by expanding the federal judiciary at every level, we underscore.

A life-and-death issue

One issue that’s been of life-and-death importance to us (literally!) is vaccinations. That’s why we have been so vocally countering the anti-science, most often religion-inspired opposition to vaccines.

“Is this what ‘freedom of religion’ now stands for?” Annie Laurie asks in a recent blog. “Ignoring your duty as a citizen to keep from spreading a pandemic? And ignoring the science? If religion did not hold the exalted spot it does in the United States, our nation would quite certainly not be in this pickle.”

FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel elucidates on the same theme. “The stunning and terrifying interviews CNN conducted with anti-vaxxers at a recent Trump rally in Alabama illuminate the role religion plays in accepting disinformation and justifying immoral action,” he writes in a column this week.

FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez has a variant take on the issue, spotlighting the anti-abortion Texas and Florida governors’ hypocritical efforts to sabotage pandemic containment efforts.

“Believing that life begins at conception is a matter of faith, not fact,” she concludes. “The more than 630,000 Covid deaths in the United States are a fact. Laws related to health care must follow scientific fact — and so should our legislators.”

Observing Women’s Equality Day

Barbara also wrote a topical piece on the occasion of an important observance. “It is necessary for science and reason to be heard on this Women’s Equality Day,” she proclaimed.

Stop your official preachiness!

We’ve been constantly admonishing preachy officials.

Stop abusing your official position in the name of religion, we chastised the Mississippi agriculture and commerce commissioner after he posted a religious video from his office. (Popular blogger Hemant Mehta noticed on his Friendly Atheist blog.) Halt the misuse of your office to propagate your personal religious beliefs, we insisted to a Virginia county revenue commissioner who has been officially endorsing Christianity and inviting pastors to pray for his office. Quit using moments of silence to recite Christian prayers at official meetings, we urged a Virginia school board.

You’d think that these folks would know better.

An electoral triumph against the far right

On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week, we engaged in a fascinating conversation. Annie Laurie and FFRF Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann spoke with Kristiana De Leon, an atheist who won a town council seat in Black Diamond, Wash., about her experience running against staunch white supremacists and Christian nationalists.

Why Trump and Bolsonaro got elected

Our radio show this week delved into the fascinating parallels between the Brazilian and the U.S. Religious Rights — and the role they played in bringing to power Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump in their respective countries. FFRF Co-President Dan Barker and yours truly talked with Professor Benjamin Cowan about his new book Moral Majorities across the Americas: Brazil, the United States, and the Creation of the Religious Right.

Religious warfare is a huge problem – as Afghanistan shows

Speaking of religion and presidents, we sent off a letter today on behalf of secular Americans and armed force members to President Biden expressing our concerns over his over-the-top quoting of a scorched-earth bible verse in reaction to yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul. “God is not on our side — or anybody’s side,” Dan and Annie Laurie write.
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught hits the nail on the head in analyzing this war. “The Taliban seizure of Afghanistan underscores an ugly 21st century fact: Religion-based warfare remains the world’s worst type of armed conflict,” he begins, and concludes: “It’s fascinating to think that the world might have become war-free if not for religion.”

It’s a profound thought — and one we’re working toward, with your help, by striving to keep religion and politics separate.

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