School shootings, Ukraine invasion, clergy abuse, and a special television treat

There’s so much that’s happened over the past week — and so much for us at the Freedom From Religion Foundation to grapple with.

“Thoughts and prayers” are not enough for mass shootings and never have been, we said in response to the awful Texas school killings. “Prayer is a way of pretending that you’re doing something when you’re doing nothing at all,” commented FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.

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Russian church’s enthusiasm for Ukraine invasion
I delved into an underexplored aspect of an event occupying international headlines: the Russian Orthodox Church’s enthusiastic support for the Ukraine invasion. “The tight bond between Putin’s government and the Russian Orthodox Church has manifested itself all the way from the Kremlin to Ukraine, with horrible results,” concluded my nationally distributed column (published in several places, including, to my particular delight, in Hawaii’s Big Island paper).

We’re getting good media play
What’s been gratifying to me personally as FFRF communications director is how much media play we’ve been recently receiving. After a downturn for a while (mainly due to the pandemic understandably dominating the news), we’re back on track. Check out the coverage here (including for two recent legal victories in West Virginia).

A federal investigation needed into clergy abuse
A recent bombshell report that officials of the Southern Baptist Convention engaged in a troubling pattern of abuse and cover-up is yet another damning indictment of widespread clergy sex abuse. That’s why we have repeatedly called for a federal investigation. “The United States is decades behind other countries in holding churches accountable for complicity in child sex abuse,” remarks FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, who authored the first nonfiction book on abuse in the church in 1988.

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Probe a partisan pastor!
We urged the IRS to investigate the tax-exempt status of a notorious pastor, Greg Locke, after he made blatantly partisan political remarks. “The pastor is a serial transgressor, and so the IRS must make certain that his institution is not indulging in tax-free benefits,” Dan remarks.

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We’ve been busy at the local level
We made several interventions at the local level, as we always do. Stop a teacher’s blatant proselytization, we asked an Alabama school district. We urged the Akron City Council to focus on civic matters and leave religion out of its proceedings. We demanded that a Georgia school district take action after its superintendent delivered a sermon at a graduation ceremony. And we had a (partly) tongue-in-cheek recommendation for an Idaho school district that’s into banning books. (Hint: The book we suggested is quite certainly not a favorite of yours.)

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A special on-site television treat
Our last TV show of the season provides a special treat. We venture on a visit to an acclaimed sculptor’s studio, that of Zenos Frudakis, an internationally renowned sculptor and artist. You’ll see during the tour busts of Frederick Douglass, God Delusion author Richard Dawkins and even a very poignant clay bust Frudakis is completing of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it this Sunday.



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“Does God Exist?”
On our radio show this week, with yours truly as the substitute host, we spotlight our October national convention in San Antonio, listen to a blasphemous Irving Berlin song and conclude by hearing Dan debate a Christian apologist on the compelling question: “Does God Exist?”

School shootings, Ukraine invasion, clergy abuse, and a special television treat
Period Poverty Awareness Week
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez keeps up her focus on reproductive rights issues by spotlighting Period Poverty Awareness Week. We have repeatedly called for providing free menstrual products in schools, workplaces, homeless shelters and prisons.

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A medieval freethinker in a Muslim land
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught has an elegantly composed column this week on a medieval freethinker — the author of perhaps the most famous book of poetry ever. “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam scoffs at theologians, laments the unknowability of the hereafter and hails worldly pleasure as the only tangible goal,” he writes, offering us a sample of Khayyam’s awe-inspiring skeptical verses. Read the story here about how the book — over the course of centuries — became globally known.

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