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Richard Dawkins, Vivek Ramaswamy, Louisiana governor and theocratic legislators

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The new year isn’t too far along but we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are already making a mark.

GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy makes a fool of himself
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Our lobbying arm has been particularly active. The FFRF Action Fund started off the week by excoriating GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy for his performative and meaningless “thoughts and prayers” response to gun violence at an Iowa school. Ramaswamy has been outdoing himself pandering against abortion rights, as well.

National Prayer Breakfast shouldn’t be held in the Capitol
The Fund then condemned a recently introduced congressional bill to authorize use of the Capitol rotunda in the beginning of February as a venue for the infamously theocratic National Prayer Breakfast. “Conducting a ‘National Prayer Breakfast’ at the conspicuous seat of federal government is what would be expected in a theocracy, not a republic predicated on a secular Constitution,” said FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

Two state reps unleash theocratic rants
The Fund also took to task Michigan state Rep. Josh Schriver for his comments asking for the removal of tax-exempt status of churches he disfavors. Schriver’s favoritism for Christian churches and disfavoring of nontheistic religions would irrefutably violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the Fund emphasized.

Additionally, the Fund deplored an Ohio legislator’s hatefulness. At a hearing before a successful vote to override the Ohio governor’s veto of a gender affirming care ban, state Rep. Beth Lear used alarmingly violent religious rhetoric invoking a New Testament verse against transgender people or those seeking to support them. “This explicitly religious fear-mongering has no basis in reality, and is not a valid foundation for lawmaking,” commented Freedom From Religion Foundation Equal Justice Works Fellow Kat Grant.

Theocrat and Secularist of the Week
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And the Fund anointed a U.S. representative from Illinois as its “Theocrat of the Week” for her claim that elected officials need to be “God-fearing” to be effective while choosing an Iowan atheist-activist as its “Secularist of the Week” for his continuous questioning of presidential candidates on important secular questions.

Christian nationalism at the Louisiana gov. inaugural
The rest of the organization kept pace with its lobbying arm. FFRF denounced Christian nationalism at the inauguration of the new Louisiana governor. The Jan. 7 ceremony at the Louisiana Capitol included a prayer delivered by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an evangelical Christian organization deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  “Perkins took advantage of the chance he was given to spread Christian nationalist propaganda — showing just how dangerous elevating these voices can be,” said Annie Laurie.

Contradictory developments on abortion rights
FFRF keeps a close eye on the state of abortion rights, prompting its comment that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent move on an abortion case is all the more reason to celebrate the fact that activists have succeeded in getting an abortion rights initiative onto the ballot in Florida. Pro-choice activists are fighting back against the court’s religious anti-abortion crusade with ballot initiatives.

Our ad airs on “60 Minutes”
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Ron Reagan’s iconic commercial on behalf of FFRF will return to “60 Minutes” Sunday evening over the next three weeks. “We warmly thank Ron Reagan once more for providing his inimitable endorsement of FFRF and our work to promote nontheism and get religion out of government,” said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.

Our uniquely relaxing interview with Richard Dawkins
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Our TV show this Sunday features a relaxed interview with the one and only Richard Dawkins — in a unique format and revealing a previously unknown facet of his talents. Dan Barker had the opportunity to visit Dawkins at his home in Oxford. Dan, a professional musician himself, was happily surprised to find out that Dawkins also has flair in that field, and they delightedly engaged in some fine-tuning together in addition to having a freewheeling conversation. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it on TV Sunday.

A powerful new book on church abuse and fightback
After atheists Ron Reagan and Richard Dawkins plus U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan were heard on Freethought Radio this week, co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interviewed Sarah Stankorb about her new book, Disobedient Women: How a Small Group of Faithful Women Exposed Abuse, Brought Down Powerful Pastors, and Ignited an Evangelical Reckoning. Listen in to this powerful discussion!

Religion doesn’t make people good
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History proves that religion doesn’t make people good, FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Walker asserts in her column this week, and then goes on to make a convincing case. “As children naturally outgrow Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the ogre under the bed, so humanity in general may need to outgrow its gods and devils,” she concludes.

We completely agree, which is why with your help we’ve gotten off to a rapid start this year promoting freethought and the constitutional wall of separation.

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