Freethought NOW!

New year, same mission

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Welcome to 2023! While we all wait to see if the GOP will ever elect a speaker of the House, FFRF has been busy taking care of business —   as usual, as always.

Here are some of the things FFRF has been up to this week:

FFRF gets school to remove religious text from mural
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FFRF commended the Chico Unified School District in Chico, Calif., for painting over an inappropriate religious text on a mural at a public school recently.

FFRF received a complaint in September about the mural, which said “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” from the parent of a student attending Pleasant Valley High School. After hearing from FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line, the school responded by painting over the text without significant effort or damage to the art.

Anniversary of Jan. 6 insurrection
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor reminds us in the statement she wrote for FFRF that two years ago today (Jan. 6, 2021), our nation’s Capitol was attacked by Christian nationalists (and others) seeking to overturn the results of a free and fair election. She writes: “The United States and the secular movement must stay on high alert for the continuing dangers posed by the alarming growth of this unAmerican theopolitical movement.”

And it’s a good time to read (or reread) the thorough report produced by FFRF and the Baptist Joint Committee documenting Christian nationalism at the Jan. 6 insurrection.

I swear I don’t need a bible
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FFRF sent a letter thanking U.S. Rep.-Elect Robert Garcia, D-Calif., for “having the courage to take your Congressional oath of office using the United States Constitution instead of a religious text.” Refreshing, and hopefully an impetus for others to do the same.

Oklahoma AG wrong in charter school opinion
FFRF has sent a memo countering Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor’s opinion that a charter school may be religiously affiliated. A state cannot establish a religious public school system and taxpayers cannot be forced to pay for religious schools, FFRF contends.

In its 10-page memo to the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, FFRF points out that O’Connor’s opinion is not an objective interpretation of the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act. FFRF contends that O’Connor misconstrues and cherry-picks arguments from case law. Our memo is getting lots of media play in Oklahoma, including by Public Radio Tulsa.

Congress still too heavily Christian
Nonreligious Americans are not close to being fairly represented in the latest Congress, and that’s a problem, FFRF points out this week.

Christians, who comprise 63 percent of the U.S. population, make up an overwhelming 88 percent of the voting members of the 118th Congress, which began this week. As Religion News Service points out, that number has scarcely changed since the 1970s, while today almost a third of Americans identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.”

Religious murder goes back centuries
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In James Haught’s latest column, which can be read on FFRF’s blog site, he writes about the historic killings done in the name of religion. Ugh.

Let’s all advocate for abortion
Barbara Alvarez, contributing writer for FFRF, writes in her most recent blog, “This 2023, let’s make a resolution to advocate for abortion access.” Yes, wonderful advice.

Godless Gospel producer is guest on ‘Freethought Matters’
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Andre Forbes is producer of FFRF’s Godless Gospel, a singing group that received standing ovations at FFRF’s 2022 national convention. Younger generations “understand that there’s something that’s not right with the church. There’s something that’s not right about the beliefs,” Forbes told host Dan Barker.

Freethought Radio
On this week’s Freethought Radio, we review secular highs and lows of the week. FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman tells us why the Catholic Church cannot run public schools in Oklahoma. Then listen to the entertaining conversation between actress/comedian Julia Sweeney and Dan Barker at FFRF’s 2022 convention.

“Ask an Atheist”
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On this week’s Facebook Live broadcast of our “Ask an Atheist” program, FFRF Associate Counsel Liz Cavell and FFRF Fellow Kat Grant give a preview of 2023. They discuss what we at FFRF are watching and expecting in secularism this year — from the courts to Congress!

We here at FFRF hope you all have a safe, happy and secular year! And thanks for being a member!

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