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The Supreme Court, Jamie Raskin, the National Day of Prayer and a legendary illustrator

What a week we’ve had here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

It started off with a narrow but alarming U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding a Christian flag at Boston City Hall. We found concurring opinions by the high court’s most extremist justices “chilling” as a preview of coming decisions. FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert points out, “While this decision doesn’t technically change the legal landscape, there is reason to be concerned given the rest of the high court’s docket with cases impacting religious liberty.”

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Our column on Fox News
Believe it or not, national Fox News asked us for our assessment of another crucial case, of an ostentatiously praying football coach, for its website. So we provided a column at the start of the week. FFRF Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Elliott’s piece concludes, “No student ought to be expected to pray to play, or to ‘get on the good side of a coach,’ in a nation predicated on true religious liberty.” It has generated a good amount of comment (more evenly split than you would imagine).

A leaked Supreme Court opinion
What really slammed us, however, was the leaked Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that indicates it is going to overturn Roe v. Wade. We urged five constructive acts of resistance. FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor exhorted, “We who care about the welfare of women, families, our country and liberty — and the integrity of the judicial branch — must vote, organize, lobby and persevere by resisting as publicly as we can.” The leak makes it even more imperative for statehouses to safeguard abortion rights, and we applauded Connecticut legislators for doing just that. We’re also asking you to contact your U.S. senators to urge passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify the protections of Roe v. Wade even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe but is languishing in the Senate.

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Rebecca has engaged in an in-depth analysis of the draft opinion that tells you the five essential things you need to know about it. It’s an essential read for our times.

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FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez has written a powerful column on how to talk about the leaked Supreme Court draft and how to best take on anti-choice arguments. “The future appears grim, but together we can make a difference,” she concludes.

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An interview that was set up weeks ago, which we recorded a day after the leak on our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, has proven to be frightfully timely. Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt, proud atheist and also a member of the LGBTQ community, talked with Annie Laurie and FFRF Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann about how she recently led the charge to defeat in the Nebraska Statehouse a so-called trigger bill that would ban all abortions in Nebraska when Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court. Hurray Sen. Hunt!

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A noxious official prayer day
Our hands were also full countering another more expected but still noxious affliction: the National Day of Prayer. We blasted President Biden’s Day of Prayer proclamation, calling it a craven “Declaration of Dependence” by a nation predicated on the Declaration of Independence and a godless secular Constitution. We also highlighted a National Day of Reason resolution that several members have introduced to counter the prayer day.

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A leading congressional secularist on our TV show
We have none other than the chief congressional sponsor of the National Day of Reason on our TV show this week. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a fervent advocate of the separation between state and religion and the co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, is the author of the gripping new book Unthinkable. He talks on show about the death of his beloved son, Tommy, the Christian nationalist roots of the Jan. 6 insurrection and about Thomas Paine, who he named his son after and for whom he has introduced a bill to authorize a Washington, D.C., memorial. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it Sunday.

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We interview a legendary illustrator on radio
Our radio show provides a change of tone. Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interview 93-year-old legendary cartoonist, illustrator and caricaturist Ed Sorel — whose satiric artwork has graced magazine covers and newspapers for many decades — about his new lavish memoir Profusely Illustrated. (Our TV show next week features Sorel, too, making use of the visuals.)

The Supreme Court, Jamie Raskin, the National Day of Prayer and a legendary illustrator
Our advice to a Tennessee town
In the middle of all this frenzy, we somehow had time to write a column for the local newspaper in a Tennessee town that is up in conniptions ever since we requested the removal of a bunch of crosses there on public land.

“The same government that can impose your religion on others can impose a different religion on you,” we advised the people there. “Freedom, liberty, equality, unity and our Constitution all demand better. So should the citizens of Elizabethton.”

The awful history of blasphemy laws
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught takes a look at the ignominious history of blasphemy laws. 

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“One way to guarantee the high status of priests was to inflict severe punishment on anyone who might question their supernatural connections,” he writes. “Thus blasphemy laws were born.” 

Religion’s dubious nature has been apparent since then. With your help, we are valiantly fighting it in the here and now.

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