It may be the lazy days of summer for some, but we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are still at it, working to keep the constitutional wall of separation intact.
We believe in vacations and time off. But while we’re here at the office, we strive mightily.
That’s why it was sweet for us to recently obtain a couple of victories. A Wisconsin school district agreed to turn off a constantly playing Christian radio station in a public school bus after we complained. And a bible verse inside a Tennessee police station was removed after our East Tennessee chapter objected.
“A biblical passage that has long been displayed at a Tennessee city’s police headquarters will be moved following a complaint from an organization that advocates for the separation of church and state,” states an Associated Press story in the Washington Post. “The East Tennessee chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint in February over the Knoxville Police Department’s plaque.”
Awful Trump nominees
A bunch of new President Trump nominees raised our hackles. An appointee for a 7th Circuit Appeals Court judgeship seems to believe that her Catholic faith gets precedence over the Constitution. And for the position of ambassador-at-large for “religious freedom,” Trump has picked the horribly theocratic Kansas governor, Sam Brownback. “Kansas will get rid of an awful governor if Brownback is confirmed as ambassador, but the State Department will receive the unwelcome gift of an unfit diplomat,” we stated.
No to defunding Planned Parenthood
We pitched in on the health care debate, too, urging our members to stop the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the congressional Obamacare repeal effort. Much to the relief of abortion rights supporters, the effort has famously and spectacularly failed.
Recalcitrant mayors and errant municipalities
We’ve also been dealing with recalcitrant mayors and errant municipalities. We’re asking a Tennessee mayor to reconsider doubling down on his decision to keep religious inscriptions on a local courthouse wall. And we’re warning the town of Rockford in Illinois not to give parking fees breaks to attendees at a Jehovah’s Witnesses convention.
Same battles, different settings
A lot of our skirmishes are the same battles — albeit in different settings. We admonished a Kentucky school district for teaching elementary school kids bible classes — pretty much the same constitutional breach we’ve sued a West Virginia school district for. And a children-focused evangelical group that we warned about very recently is abusing its school access privileges in Wisconsin.
A bittersweet departure
Our lawyers are able to keep this up day in and day out with the help of a very capable administrative staff. This week on our Newsbite video segment, our Program Assistant Alyssa Schaefer explains what she does — and her bittersweet decision to leave us soon for law school here at the University of Wisconsin. All the best, Alyssa!
One of the things that Alyssa has been busy with recently is planning our annual convention here in Madison come September. Do book a spot if you haven’t done so yet. And Alyssa expresses the hope that after she finishes law school, she could perhaps rejoin us as part of the legal team. She could then possibly take part in our “Ask An Atheist” forum, as three of our attorneys (Elizabeth Cavell, Patrick Elliott, and Andrew Seidel) did this week, talking about government prayer. Our current radio show builds on this forum.
Our legal department, our administrative staff, our communications team — indeed everything we are and do exists and functions just because of you.