Theocrats, Trumpians, philosophy and belief

Amit Pal
Director of Communications
Freedom From Religion Foundation

We’ve been in a whirlwind of activity here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

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Out-there theocrats and their flunkeys in the current administration have kept us on our toes. In an astonishing disregard for the health of their parishioners and the community at large, litigious churches (and churchgoers) have filed legal challenges against stay-at-home orders in at least 19 states. What makes it worse is that the Justice Department has intervened on their behalf in a few instances. For your edification, we have compiled a list from all over the country where religion seems to have trumped common sense.

Our home county is also pandering religiously
Our home county has bowed to such sentiments. That’s why we’ve been compelled, on behalf of our local members, to protest a recent countywide order in Dane County, Wis., providing an unwise and unhealthy exemption for religious gatherings. The numbers don’t lie, as we reveal.

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We’ve been attacked by Trump’s personal lawyer!
The Trump administration is on the side of unreason, as we mentioned. That’s why we’re taking it as a badge of honor that Jay Sekulow attacked us for promoting science-based responses to the COVID pandemic the same week he represented President Trump before the Supreme Court. “Christian Nationalism is rampant in this administration — and the fruits of the virulent ideology are on display for all to see,” remarked FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.

Yet another ideological court nomination
Not surprisingly, the Trump administration recently nominated yet another political ideologue to a lifetime seat on an appeals court, this time the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Cory Wilson, a Mississippi state court judge for barely a year, is a Christian Nationalist with a proven track record of weaponizing religious liberty. It is unconscionable that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling Congress back into session to confirm another hyperpartisan judge to carry out this administration’s agenda.

The real-life consequences of bigotry
All of these appointments and policies have real-life consequences for people, as FFRF Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann so intensely illustrates in a movingly personal blog. “Picture, in the near future, the worst day you are having, in an emergency room, in a medical system rife with religious exemptions, and then the humiliation and dire consequences of being told to go somewhere else. Now imagine there’s a pandemic,” he writes.

God and the coronavirus
It’s hard to fathom how anyone can see the human toll all around us and still believe in the existence of God. In our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week, former minister Dan Barker chats with former pastor Dave Warnock about contradictions in the bible and why nothing fails like prayer.

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What’s up with all the conspiracy-mongering?
There’s no accounting for what some people believe in, including an indulgence for conspiracies. This week on our radio show, Dan and FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor talk with Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and author of the new book Giving the Devil His Due, about science-deniers and “COVID-19 Conspiracists and Their Discontents.”



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Where do beliefs come from?
Where do beliefs come from anyway? Veteran freethinker and journalist James Haught inimitably delves into that question in his blog for us this week. “It is a puzzlement,” Jim concludes. See if you agree.

Watch a powerhouse couple
Our “Freethought Matters” TV show this week has a powerhouse offering for you — a globally famous intellectual power couple, in fact. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, an honorary FFRF director, and Steven Pinker, FFRF’s distinguished honorary president, are renowned the world over. They were interviewed remotely from their home on Cape Cod. Dan and Annie Laurie chatted with them not only about freethought and philosophy, but how the couple is doing during the shutdown — and the new book each is writing. Find out more by catching the show anytime here. Or find out where you can see it on Sunday.

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From religious crazies and their enablers to belief systems and philosophy — we’re able to deal with all of these only due to you and your unflagging generosity.

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