As we head into the Fourth of July weekend, it would normally be apropos to acknowledge Independence Day and the freedoms that it stands for. However, this year, true independence and freedom, especially bodily freedom, seems like a pipe dream following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last week and the overt dismantling of the wall of separation between state and church by the Supreme Court. But, FFRF is hardly giving up, despite the bad court rulings of late.
FFRF’s nationwide ad campaign launches
In fact, over this holiday weekend, FFRF has launched its nationwide “I’m Atheist and I Vote” advertising campaign that will put billboards in state capitals and full-page ads in many newspapers. FFRF is getting the word out that there are 75 million nonreligious adult Americans who want religion out of government — and are voting that way.
FFRF’s full-page print advertisement, featuring a different state representative (or couple) in each state, is running in more than 20 dailies on Sunday, July 3 — most in capital cities plus some larger metropolitan areas like Portland, Chicago and Philadelphia, plus the New York Times View all ads. Press releases are posted about each campaign if you’d like to learn more about newspaper and billboard locations and participants represented in about 21 states. The next round, covering remaining states, will run in time for Constitution Day, Sept. 17.
FFRF celebrates confirmation of Justice Brown Jackson
And for all the bad news we’ve been getting out of the Supreme Court so far this year, a lone bright spot appeared on Thursday when Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to the high court.
She is the first Black woman to serve on the court, helping to alleviate the massive divide between the court’s makeup and the makeup of the country whose rights the court is tasked with protecting. With a strong track record as a public defender, followed by years as a trial judge before being appointed to the prestigious appeals court, Brown Jackson stands as a strong example of what a Supreme Court justice should be.
FFRF denounces court’s Coach Kennedy decision
But the week started off on the wrong foot when the Supreme Court on Monday morning announced its decision in the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District case. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the court sided with the football coach who prayed on the football field with his student players.
The extremist supermajority on the court overturned 1971’s Lemon v. Kurtzman decision that codified years of Supreme Court precedent declaring unconstitutional government actions with a religious purpose or effect, and replaced it with a troubling new “history and tradition” test.
In the dissent, Justice Sonya Sotomayor writes: “This decision does a disservice to schools and the young citizens they serve, as well as to our nation’s longstanding commitment to the separation of church and state.”
That’s putting it mildly! But we’re proud of FFRF’s amicus brief in the case, written by FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott, and that some of its arguments were echoed in the dissent.
Court decisions are the hot topic on ‘Ask an Atheist’
On the latest installment of FFRF’s “Ask an Atheist,” FFRF attorneys Rebecca Markert, Liz Cavell and Patrick Elliott break down the Bremerton decision and the other big Supreme Court rulings that have come down in the past two weeks.
Wisconsin governor and AG deserve kudos
FFRF, which is based in Madison, Wis., is praising Wisconsin’s Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul for quickly filing a challenge of the state’s 1849 law criminalizing abortion, which is creating chaos and crises by shuttering the state’s four abortion clinics.
Thank you, Evers and Kaul!
FFRF salutes Pride month and famous LGBTQ freethinkers
In honor of Pride Month, FFRF published fascinating highlights documenting the freethought views of dozens of distinguished LGBTQ individuals, past and present, who have made known their dissent from religion. For more information, see FFRF’s Freethought of the Day series which was compiled by Sarah Weinstock and Bill Dunn.
‘We save each other’
Barbara Alvarez, FFRF’s former Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights intern, writes on FFRF’s Freethought Now blog site about what freethinkers can do now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
“Many religious people wait for a god or godlike figure to save them,” she writes. “Freethinkers know that no such savior is coming. We save each other. And the time is now.”
Louisiana governor was right to veto RFRA expansion
FFRF was glad to hear that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed HB 953, an expansion to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill FFRF and its Louisiana membership had opposed.
HB 953 was enacted amid misplaced fervor against churches being forced to hold worship services remotely during the pandemic, even though all gatherings were being limited in a similar way. However, the language of the bill went much further. It would have required the state to regard churches at least as favorably as any secular service or business, in all circumstances.
Texas Board of Education needs to delete Moses reference
FFRF has urged the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) to remove from its history curricula bogus references about the so-called influence of the biblical character, Moses, upon the U.S. Founders.
Students are being taught that Moses was an “individual whose principles of law and government institutions informed the American founding documents.”
This is categorically false, and FFRF calls it insulting to put a mythical figure like Moses alongside serious historical political thinkers like William Blackstone, John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu.
FFRF to Florida: Revise Christian nationalist language!
Florida parents have reported that their children are being indoctrinated in Christian nationalism as part of the newly unveiled “Civil Literacy Excellence Initiative.” Christian nationalism relies on the mythological founding of the United States as a “Christian nation,” singled out for God’s providence in order to fulfill God’s purposes on Earth. Christian nationalism demands a privileged place for Christianity in public life, buttressed by the active support of government at all levels.”
Talking about Roe and Bremerton
In this week’s episode of Freethought Radio, we focus on recent bad Supreme Court decisions attacking women’s rights and the separation of church and state. FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott explains the troubling Bremerton case allowing a high-school coach to pray with students. Then we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and Supreme Court observer Linda Greenhouse about the demise of Roe and her recent New York Times article, “Requiem for the Supreme Court.”
FFRF schools Rep. Boebert over ignorant remarks
On Thursday, FFRF sent a strongly-worded rebuke to U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert over her recent remarks to a church congregation, where she said this nation’s purpose is to “glorify God” and that churches are “supposed to direct the government.” FFRF also contacted the IRS to investigate illegal church politicking by the hosting church, Cornerstone Christian Center in Colorado.
Boebert insisted there is no separation between religion and government: “The church is supposed to direct the government,” she said. “The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it. I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution.”
“Boebert took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, but she’s apparently never read it and thinks we live in a theocracy,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Her remarks are ignorant, shameful and reckless.”
You call this Independence Day?
And, finally, as we head into the Fourth of July weekend, it’s a sad time in our history as Annie Laurie Gaylor points out in her blog post on Freethought Now: “What an irony that half of the nation has just lost its independence in time to celebrate Independence Day weekend. The Supreme Court’s Catholic, conservative white male majority has told half of us — that is, the half of us with uteruses — that we’re second-class citizens. We’ve lost our independence, sovereignty over our own persons.”
Well, that’s it for another week of fighting for your rights here at FFRF!
Thanks for continuing to support and we hope you enjoy your weekend!