During these dog days of summer, we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have spent a lot of time addressing urgent national and international issues.
We decried the disinformation campaign against Covid vaccinations egged on by Fox News and many elected officials (such as U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn). They’re deliberately worsening a pandemic we have within our means to end, we concluded.
Cheering a House spending bill (& Nancy Pelosi)
On the brighter side, we cheered the advance of a House spending bill that does not contain an extremely problematic anti-abortion amendment (the Hyde Amendment). But this state/church struggle is far from over, and that’s why we’re urging you to contact your members of Congress, since the stakes for women’s rights are enormous. Please respond to today’s action alert so your U.S. representative knows your views.
And we applauded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a practicing Catholic, for providing us with a simple lesson in how to keep personal religious beliefs out of governmental duties when she celebrated the Hyde Amendment’s removal from the House spending bill. We hope that other lawmakers demonstrate a similar understanding.
Little League should remove godly imposition
We also turned our gaze toward sports — and the imposition of religion in that sphere. Be inclusive of all Americans, we exhorted the Little League. The first line of the Little League Pledge begins, “I trust in God.” Inserting religion into a baseball pledge is unnecessary, coercive and divisive — and Little League should immediately remove “I trust in God” from its official pledge, we’re insisting.
El Salvador provides warning for US
We dealt with international issues this week, too. FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez is warning us that the United States may be headed El Savador’s way on abortion rights. (That country outlaws abortion completely in any and all circumstances.) “We must prioritize protection of abortion rights in the United States and around the world,” Barbara concludes.
Quit praying at school board meetings!
Of course, we zeroed in on unconstitutional happenings at the local level. Stop imposing your religion on the public, we insisted to a Virginia school board that’s starting every meeting with a prayer.
“There exists no good reason for board members to be engaging in prayers at the start of official meetings of a secular public school system,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “Public schools and school boards exist to educate, not to indoctrinate.”
We’re looking at church-run summer programs
And we’re closely examining an Indiana school district’s financing of church-run summer programs. We’re asking the school district to immediately cease funding attendance for these programs unless it can determine that they will not include religious activities, proselytizing or religious promotion.
An enlightening show
We have an intellectual treat for you on our radio show this week: Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interview cognitive psychologist, linguist and author Steven Pinker (FFRF’s Honorary Chair) about his book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Humanism, Science, and Progress. Listen in for some enlightenment.
A great life philosophy
In his blog this week, veteran writer and freethinker Jim Haught offers a proposition that we can agree with: Skepticism is all about honesty.
“To me, the bottom line is honesty,” he concludes. “A person with integrity doesn’t claim to know supernatural things that he or she cannot know. An honest person wants solid evidence to support assertions and is leery of baseless claims. Therefore, skeptics are the most honest of all.”
That’s a great life philosophy to have, isn’t it? And with your help, we’ll be able to continue spreading such truths to the general public.