Responding to the Supreme Court and government, mobilizing all of you, weighing in on profound subjects and, alas, announcing a postponement — we did all of this over the past week.
We welcomed a historic U.S. Supreme Court 6-3 ruling on Monday upholding civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans. Given the clarity of the decision, it’s hard to overstate the magnitude of this victory, we commented.
We had three stalwarts of our legal team discuss the judgment. On our Facebook Live “Ask an Atheist” feature (saucily titled “Sex and the Supreme Court”), FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert and FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliot joined the host, FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel, to talk about the ruling and take questions from the audience.
A recent Trump administration directive, also about LGBTQ folks, drew quite a different reaction from us. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a final rule declaring that it will no longer recognize anti-LGBTQ discrimination as an instance of sex discrimination, effectively endorsing religious bigotry against LGBTQ individuals in health care. We condemned this despicable move in the strongest possible terms (while mentioning the Monday Supreme Court decision as a source of hope).
We’re busy mobilizing you
You are our most invaluable resource, and that’s why we’ve been mobilizing you all over the country in defense of secular values. In Iowa, we asked you to urge Gov. Kim Reynolds to veto an unnecessary and burdensome bill that will further inhibit abortion access in the state. We requested the Coloradans among you to persuade Gov. Jared Polis to sign a bill that aims to protect Colorado communities by making it more difficult to receive vaccine exemptions based on religious beliefs. And we called on those of you in Mississippi to tell Gov. Tate Reeves that “In God We Trust” has no place on an official state seal.
We offered our perspective on big issues — timely and eternal. Barbara Alvarez, FFRF’s Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern, asserted in her blog this week that a Reproductive Justice Framework needs to be a key part of tackling racial injustice. “By fighting for Reproductive Justice, we proclaim that Black Lives Matter,” she concluded.
— and the Enlightenment
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught tackled nothing less than the Enlightenment.
“A landmark transformation occurred around three centuries ago when major thinkers began advocating democracy, human rights and personal freedoms,” he bookended his most recent column. “The transformation let loose by the Enlightenment is ongoing.”
See you next year!
First the bad news: Due to the coronavirus pandemic and related safety concerns, the FFRF 2020 convention scheduled for San Antonio this November has had to be postponed. (Our annual meetings of the membership and state representatives will take place online.) Now the good news: We hope and plan to hold a fabulous post-pandemic celebration — including the lineup advertised for this year (Gloria Steinem, Margaret Atwood, John Irving) — next year at the Boston Plaza Hotel over the weekend of Nov. 19-Nov. 21. And we’re busy rescheduling a 2022 annual convention for the much-anticipated convention site of San Antonio. Stay tuned!
Watch our shows on YouTube (Freethought Matters on summer hiatus)
We also have a reminder for you. Our TV show “Freethought Matters” is currently on summer hiatus; a new season will be back broadcasting in 12 major metropolitan areas on Sunday, Sept. 6. We’ve heard from many of you missing the show — you might like to catch up this summer on more than two years of previous shows on YouTube. Meanwhile, FFRF’s “Ask an Atheist” (Wednesdays noon Central on Facebook Live!) is still being regularly produced. Don’t miss this live programming involving FFRF staff and guests offering timely commentary, and a chance for give-and-take with you, the audience. This program is also archived, so you can watch the episodes at your leisure on YouTube.
He has left the Christian rock faith
We have a unique interview for you on our radio show this week. FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor chat with Jon Steingard, former lead singer of the Christian rock band Hawk Nelson (a huge presence in that genre), on his religious music and why and how he decided to give up the faith. FFRF Attorney Patrick Elliott also joins the show to parse Monday’s unexpectedly good decision on employment rights for LGBTQ. WE
What a range of tasks we were able to accomplish in a week — and all due to your generosity and support.