Freethought NOW!

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the ‘godless particle,’ the Inquisition and the Vatican

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A protest outside. A sign that says "protect abortion access"

There’s always a lot happening on the secular front, and this week we’ve created some newsworthy ripples.

USA Today cited our recent objection to University of South Carolina basketball head coach Dawn Staley’s over-the-top religiosity.

“An article published by the Daily Beast exploring the issue quoted Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, saying that Staley ‘appears to have no boundaries when it comes to pushing religion on a captive audience of students dying to please her,’” says a piece in the popular national newspaper.

A rapidly growing release time religious outfit
Our critique of a religious outfit (LifeWise) that conducts release time bible study programs in Ohio public schools has caught the attention of a national media analysis organization.

“Some critics, like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, say LifeWise’s approach violates the First Amendment,’” states the Media Matters article. “‘Public school students have the First Amendment right to be free from religious indoctrination in their schools,’ FFRF’s Samantha Lawrence wrote in a letter addressed to more than 600 Ohio school districts. ‘Thus, public schools may not in any way promote or otherwise show favoritism toward religion, nor may they coerce students to believe or participate in any religion or religious exercise.’”

Sammi has actually recently written an entire blog sounding the alarm about LifeWise’s disturbingly rapid growth. “In order to preserve the wall of separation between state and church, organizations such as LifeWise must be kept in check,” she concludes.

Our op-ed is in multiple Utah papers
Even state-level developments don’t escape our notice. That’s why Annie Laurie has had an op-ed published in a bunch of Utah newspapers decrying a new law there that allows the Ten Commandments to be taught in public schools. “To ignorantly claim that the Ten Commandments had anything to do with the U.S. government, which is explicitly separate from religion, is propaganda twisting our nation’s secular heritage and misinforming schoolchildren,” the piece concludes. You can read the full column here.

Our victory in North Carolina
A screenshot of a facebook post of the elementary school promoting the prayer walk

We achieved a secular victory at the local level. Union County Public Schools in North Carolina informed us that it won’t promote religious events in its schools. We’re always happy to nudge governmental entities onto the correct constitutional course.

We take on a religious home county supervisor
It would be ironic if we ignored local-level ridiculousness happening in our backyard, and that’s why we demanded an apology from a home county supervisor for his recent comments making bogus connections between homelessness and “sin.”

“Please cease and desist your derisive, abrasive and judgmental religious statements and messages,”our letter concluded. “They are needlessly divisive and unbecoming an elected official.”

A dark day in Arizona
There’ve been a bunch of alarming developments that have caught our eye.

An Arizona Supreme Court ruling that the state’s 1864 abortion ban will go into effect soon is indeed a dark day, as we lamented. “We call on our FFRF members in Arizona, Florida and several other states still gathering signatures, such as Missouri, to help get abortion-access initiatives on the ballot in their respective states and to get out the vote,” said Annie Laurie.

The Vatican’s harmfulness
We lambasted the Vatican for its latest harmful statements against LGBTQIA-plus communities and women. “Once again, the Vatican seeks to legislate and impose its dangerous Catholic doctrines, which ignore medical science and oppose bodily autonomy,” said Annie Laurie.

American evangelicals are damaging Uganda
And we denounced Uganda’s horrific Anti-Homosexuality Act after a terrible ruling by the Ugandan Constitutional Court. U.S. evangelical groups are, alas, heavily involved. “The consequences of this law are horrifying and worthy of condemnation on their own, but we should also keep in mind that white evangelical groups are using African nations like Uganda as a proving ground for laws that they want to bring to the United States,” says FFRF Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow Kat Grant.

Our TV interview with Donald ‘Lucy’ Johanson
A screenshot of the show freethought matters of Donald C. Johanson

The scientist (also an outspoken atheist) who discovered perhaps the most key fossil in anthropological history is the guest on our TV show this week. Donald C. Johanson is the paleoanthropologist who found “Lucy” in Ethiopia in 1974, and FFRF is delighted to interview him during the 50th anniversary year of this landmark discovery. You can already watch the interview on our YouTube channel. Or find out where to catch it on television Sunday.

The religious rhetoric of President Reagan
A photo of Diane Winston next to her book Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan’s Evangelical Vision

We talked on the first half of Freethought Radio this week about “Lucy,” Charlie Chaplin, the eclipse, and various state/church issues. Then, co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interviewed journalism Professor Diane Winston about her fascinating new book Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan’s Evangelical Vision.

Virginia bans child marriage
Our lobbying arm, as is its purpose, has been keenly following legislative developments.

The FFRF Action Fund celebrated the passage of crucial legislation banning child marriage, a practice that is largely promoted by some cults and religious sects, without exception in the 12th state in the country. “Action Fund advocates certainly made their voices heard and helped to push this bill over the finish line in Virginia,” commented Fund President Annie Laurie.

Kentucky shows the way
The Action Fund was generally pleased with the signing of a Kentucky bill removing the statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault victims. Unfortunately, the new law is not perfect. Nevertheless, the Fund actively supported this legislation as introduced.

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s idiocy
A photo of Charles Lavine labeled secularist of the week next to a photo of Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled theocrat of the week

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the Fund’s “Theocrat of the Week” for absurdly claiming that the recent solar eclipse and East Coast earthquake meant “God is sending America strong signs to tell us to repent.” While Greene is stuck in the superstitious dark ages, the Fund’s “Secularist of the Week,” New York Assemblymember Charles Lavine, is bringing the Empire State into the Enlightenment by persuading the Legislature to repeal the state’s archaic adultery law.

Let’s call it the ‘godless particle’
A photo of Peter Higgs

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker pays homage to the recently deceased Nobel Laureate Peter Higgs, the person who first deduced the Higgs Boson — the so-called “God Particle.” Higgs did not believe in God, however, and was irked at the godly labeling. So, Dan proposes that we call it the “godless particle” in his honor.

The sadism of the Inquisition
A painting of the inquisition with the title the sadism of the inquisition

FFRF contributing writer Barbara Walker focuses in her most recent piece on the centuries-long sadism of the Inquisition. She writes, “The victims in those centuries were literally countless.”

That’s why it is extremely important not to permit religion this life-or-death power on our society. With your help, we’re trying to ensure this week after week.

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