Freethought NOW!

Weekly Wrap: Politicking pastors, theocratic officials, school chaplains and Christian nationalism

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
A photo of Jack Hibbs preaching before a crowd

There’s so much we’re able to do in a given week here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the defense of constitutional principles — and yet so much that remains to be done.

We’ve been calling out a nationally infamous California pastor for his politicking, and Newsweek (yes, that Newsweek) took notice. “The organization Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote in a post to X (formerly Twitter) they plan to ask the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ‘ensure that Pastor Jack Hibbs’ church no longer receives the benefits of 501(c)(3) status and that donations made to his church are no longer treated as tax deductible,’” the publication wrote. A California TV station news segment made mention of our tweet, too.

We indeed sent off a letter to the IRS about Hibbs, which got covered in the Sacramento Bee and other media outlets.

Tallahassee paper quotes us on awful public school chaplain bills
The Tallahassee Democrat recently quoted at length Ryan Jayne of FFRF Action Fund (our lobbying arm) on the unintended consequences of a Florida bill allowing chaplains in classrooms: “I think there is a 100 percent chance you see satanic chaplains, and also, of course, other religious minorities that the majority-Christian population might not be a fan of. The Satanic Temple is a church, whether people like it or not. And the idea that you can just exclude a disfavored minority religion from a bill, it just runs straight into the First Amendment.”

Ryan has a bunch of other quotes in the article, too. Read them here.

Ryan actually wrote a blog surveying all the awful bills around the nation allowing chaplains into public schools.

“The FFRF Action Fund is opposing these bills all over the country, through testimony, op-eds, and mobilizing our advocates to contact your legislators,” Ryan’s column concludes. “Opposition to school chaplain bills has been vocal, ranging from secular voices to chaplains themselves, but all-too-many Christian nationalist lawmakers don’t care. The real solution is for Americans to stop electing people who use their government offices to impose their personal religious beliefs onto other people and their children.”

Bar theocratic superintendent from schools
We demanded that an Oklahoma school district bar the top education official in the state from addressing its students after he subjected them to a prayer.

“Superintendent Ryan Walters is engaging in political posturing at the expense of little children,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “He shouldn’t be permitted to reprise such religious theatrics.”

Our local-level work (and victories)
A photo of a group of people praying on a building, they each have a hand on the building

We kept up our work at the local level. We got an overtly Christian minilibrary removed from an Illinois highway. And we asked a member of a school board in California to stop using her school board position to promote her personal religious views while disparaging others.

New survey has good news on Christian nationalism
We welcomed the recent findings that approximately two-thirds of Americans do not support Christian nationalism. “This survey generally speaks well of the American people’s commitment to pluralistic values,” says Annie Laurie.

Freethinking scholar of secularism on our Sunday TV show
A photo of ryan t cragun on freethought matters

An acclaimed freethinking scholar who has charted the meteoric rise of secularism is the guest on our TV show this Sunday. Ryan T. Cragun, a professor of sociology at the University of Tampa who focuses on both Mormonism and nonreligion, was born and raised in Utah as a Mormon and served as a Mormon missionary but now considers himself a “None.” You can already watch the interview on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it on television Sunday.

Evangelicals against Trump
a photo of trump silhouetted with a cross. It is titled evangelicals against trump
A special (c)(4) episode of our  “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week focuses on an intriguing phenomenon: evangelicals against Trump. FFRF Action Fund Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann and FFRF Action Fund State Policy Manager Ryan Dudley talk with guest Robb Ryerse, a political organizer with Vote Common Good who embodies that trend.

A secular guide to lasting relationships
A photo of Enrico Gnaulati next to his book Flourishing love

There’s a fascinating discussion on our Freethought radio program this week. Enrico Gnaulati, author of the book Flourishing Love: A Secular Guide to Lasting Intimate Relationships, discusses the themes of his book. Listen in for some edification.

Don’t exempt churches from emergency orders
The Action Fund did a piece decrying a legislative move to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in our home state that would exempt churches from emergency orders. “The FFRF Action Fund has more than 1,700 advocates in Wisconsin, who will continue to ensure that lawmakers implement needed, evidence-based policies instead of depleting resources to advance posturing political points, like the church superspreader amendment,” the piece emphasizes.

Ala. chief justice’s biblical IVF ruling
A photo of Mark McBride labeled secularist of the week and a photo of tom parker labeled theocrat of the week

For its “Secularist of the Week”, the Fund chose an Oklahoma state representative who, although staunchly Christian, understands that it is a violation of the separation of church and state when you require every Oklahoma classroom to display the Ten Commandments. Its “Theocrat of the Week” was Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker for his recent ruling that frozen embryos are considered to have the same rights as living children.

The religious right’s disdain for democracy
A screenshot of a rally with a man holding up a cross

Annie Laurie wrote a blog this week that focuses on the frighteningly anti-democratic remarks of folks from the religious right — and from politicians aligned with them. “It’s time to be seriously alarmed,” she concludes.

Global-warming denial accompanies heating planet
New FFRF Governmental Affairs Coordinator Caitlin Berray deals in a piece with the strange reasoning behind global-warming denial while the Earth is heating up at record levels. “Those of us who care about reality and our planet’s future must redouble our efforts to get out voters who follow science, not imprudent Republicans and faith leaders, when it comes to human-made climate change,” she emphasizes.

God’s lies
A photo of a sunset with the title god's lies

FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Walker has a provocatively titled column: “God’s lies.”

“Perhaps the defining virtue of nonbelievers may be honesty,” she finishes her piece. “They don’t like lies. They don’t want to be told lies. And they don’t tell lies — which makes them more admirable than the traditional God.”

We couldn’t agree more, which is why with your help we are trying to enlarge the realm of nonbelievers and reduce that of God.

Please share this article:

2 Responses

  1. Hey Chris your foundation is non profit right? Hmmmm Jay Sekulow is looking into you as well. Good Luck

  2. Are you keeping track of Texas’s Governor Abbott? He didn’t get his school voucher bill passed in 2023, so now in political ads in Texas, he’s going after politicians who opposed him. Political advertising in Texas is nasty!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.