Supreme concern, exvangelicals, secular grieving, and The Enlightenment

We were supremely focused this week on the highest court in the land.

We drafted and filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the U.S. Supreme Court against Mississippi’s religion-infused attempt to severely curtail abortion rights. We put forth a well-reasoned argument as to why Mississippi’s lawsuit to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade will require courts to confront the religious purposes underlying abortion bans. Read more here.

Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interviewed FFRF attorney Liz Cavell, the lead author of our Supreme Court brief, to explain its finer points. Then, the show had an interview with Mandisa Thomas, founder and president of Black Nonbelievers, about the upcoming “Women of Color Beyond Belief” conference in Chicago.

FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez also had the Supreme Court in mind when asking secular-minded folks to urge their members of Congress to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act. “The act is significant because it protects abortion access — even should the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in a Mississippi case weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade,” she wrote. And thanks to your actions and those of other Americans who support reproductive freedom, we were able to cheer today when the House made history by passing the act.

FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel has been worrying about the Supreme Court on another front: Marriage equality may be on the chopping block, he warns in a column for Religion Dispatches. “Dumping a nightmare of administrative burdens onto LGBTQ people while robbing them of their equality may actually entice some of Trump’s justices,” he contends, ending his piece with a passionate call for court reform.

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Exvangelicals have our support
Andrew and the rest of us at FFRF have, of course, recently dealt with issues beside the Supreme Court. In another Religion Dispatches column, Andrew has offered his full backing to people questioning their faith.

“I’m not one to sit quietly by while people are bullied,” Andrew remarks, “and those willing to question with boldness their religion are courageous. We owe them some support.”

Andrew tackled the same subject on our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, chatting with “Thinking Atheist” host Seth Andrews about the process of shaking off lifelong religious beliefs. Watch it here.

Correcting the record
It seems that we have to often correct the record. An ill-informed Nebraska preacher’s misstatements compelled us to respond. Brenda Kunneman of One Voice Ministries recently stated that the United States was “founded as a Christian nationalist form of government.” Not true, we pointed out. And she declared that the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and other nonprofits from endorsing political candidates or parties, is “over.” This, too, is false, we demonstrated.

Fire your chaplain!
We advised a Florida school district to do away with a high school chaplain — someone who has been proselytizing, praying and even baptizing football players during the school day on school grounds.

“A public school chaplain is, by the very definition, a huge constitutional penalty,” says Annie Laurie. “The Hernando County School District needs to get rid of him at once.”

How to secularly deal with death
Our “Freethought Matters” TV show this Sunday offers advice on how to secularly grieve. Candace R.M. Gorham, a former Christian minister who is now an atheist activist and a licensed mental health counselor, is the author of a new book called On Death, Dying, and Disbelief.

“In 2019, my high school sweetheart died tragically in a car accident,” she tells “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor about the genesis of the book, which contains 10 tips for nonreligious folks on how to handle death. “We had reconnected later in life, and we were much more than just high school sweethearts. And so mourning his death, I felt like I needed some way to sort of process that and deal with that.”

You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where to catch it on Sunday.

The birth of modern thought
In his column this week, veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught tackles a subject no less weighty than the genesis of modern thought. “The Enlightenment was the seedbed that sprouted the liberal freedoms now enjoyed in democracies everywhere,” he concludes.

Our organization strives to keep the flame of Enlightenment thinking burning bright — and we’re able to do it only due to your generous backing.

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