Thomas Paine, a Christian flag, Roe v. Wade, and public school indoctrination

It feels great to come back after a break and find the Freedom From Religion Foundation as busy as ever.

Memorializing Thomas Paine
We started the week off with some good news: The Thomas Paine Memorial Association announced an exciting matching gift offer (from the Stiefel Freethought Association) to kick off fundraising for that long overdue memorial — and it revealed the exciting prospect of a congressional resolution to authorize the memorial of the neglected freethinking Founder. The association will be holding the first-ever Zoom celebration of the birthdate of Paine on Sat., Jan. 29, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern. Join in!

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FFRF discusses Christian flag on ABC News
Alas, it wasn’t all joyous announcements. A dismaying Christian flag case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week may have dire consequences, we warned. FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott was actually interviewed on ABC News about the case, appearing multiple times during the segment. Watch his constitutional words of wisdom here.

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An interview with an atheist bible professor
FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert discussed the ramifications of the flag case on our weekly radio show, and then Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor spoke with atheist bible Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou about her new book God: An Anatomy.

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Admonishing public officials
We had to admonish a number of top officials for granting unconstitutional preference to religion. We expressed our concern to the Delaware governor about religious exceptions to his recently enacted mask mandate.

“The coronavirus unfortunately does not relent based on the type of building one enters,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote to Gov. John Carney. “To be effective, neither must Delaware’s response to the virus.”

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And we reminded the Oklahoma AG that he’s been elected attorney general, not preacher, after his recent troubling remarks suggesting that America is governed by “God the creator.” “You took an oath to defend our godless Constitution, whose First Amendment ensures not only that the government may not establish a religion, but also that public officials cannot impose their personal religious beliefs upon their constituents,” FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman wrote to John O’Connor.

Our TV interview with a freethinking state senator
Thankfully, some elected officials are of a different mindset — and we have one such person as the guest on our TV show this weekend. Utah state Sen. Derek Kitchen, a former Mormon, explains on “Freethought Matters” why he changed his mind about religion, ran for public office and even became a plaintiff in a historic case that struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. “I was pretty young when I first told my family that I didn’t think I was Mormon and that I didn’t believe in God,” Kitchen tells “Freethought Matters” host Dan Barker. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it this Sunday.



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Ron Reagan ad on Sunday primetime TV series
Our iconic Ron Reagan ad is making a splash — a Hawaiian splash — this Sunday. The commercial is scheduled to air this weekend for the first time ever on a primetime feature TV series; the spot was to run during all four of the January broadcasts of “60 Minutes,” but the news show is being pre-empted this coming Sunday, so FFRF’s ad will jump to “NCIS: Hawai’i.” The commercial will return to “60 Minutes” on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. Aloha!

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The dire future of Roe v. Wade
There is an important anniversary this weekend: Roe v. Wade is turning 49 under a dark cloud. We need to talk about abortion, FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez urges on the occasion of the anniversary.

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“I acknowledge that it is unfair that women so often feel compelled to publicly disclose their abortion stories in order to have legislative justice,” she concludes. “But since we live in a country where Christian nationalism is overtaking abortion rights, it is vital that we do not revert back to the ‘hush-hush’ environment of the generations that preceded us.”

There has never been a more urgent time to defend abortion rights, and that’s why we’re asking you to contact your senators to demand that they pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify reproductive rights.

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Pending anti-discrimination bill
Please also ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor an anti-discrimination bill that addresses a problem created by a recent misguided Supreme Court ruling. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (HR 3488/S 1848) would prohibit any child welfare agency receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against a potential foster or adoptive family on the basis of religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. 

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Religious indoctrination in public schools
Our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature deals with a profoundly personal issue this week. FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne talks with Janet Heimlich, author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, about “Atheist parenting” and the challenges it receives due to religious indoctrination in public schools. Ryan recently wrote a blog on his daughter’s brush with religion in her public school kindergarten, which led to this show.

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Our blogs educate
Veteran news editor and atheist Jim Haught has written a particularly poignant blog this week about how society shed religious morality too late to help Alan Turing — a freethinking genius and gay man whose early computer legacy not only helped win World War II but has transformed our world.

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And FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor’s blog asks, “Who’s insane, Gov. DeSantis?” She documents the harm caused by several top-offending anti-science governors.

Ron DeSantis

See how much we accomplished this week! It was all due to you — and your support.

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