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Wayward officials, Catholic Church history, Jan. 6 Capitol attack and abortion rights

Few things galvanize us more at the Freedom From Religion Foundation than elected officials betraying the secular Constitution, and we set them straight this week.

We castigated a Texas member of Congress for his abhorrent comments blaming the horrific school massacre in his state on irreligiosity and lack of prayer.

“As a U.S. representative, your duty is to support the U.S. Constitution, which is godless and entirely secular, and to protect the rights of all citizens regardless of their religious or nonreligious beliefs,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote to Rep. Louie Gohmert. “Rather than pontificating for even more vapid and useless prayer, we suggest you  ‘Get off your knees and get to work!’”

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Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ignorant Christian nationalism
Gohmert wasn’t the only U.S. House member who caught our attention; we also condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ignorant comments endorsing Christian nationalism. Greene is falsely equating patriotism with piety and calling the United States a Christian nation, we pointed out. In reality, separating state and church is the Founders’ most uniquely American vision.

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The misogynist lieutenant governor
And we chastised elected officials outside Congress, too. The North Carolina lieutenant governor must rescind his recent misogynistic and Christian nationalist remarks and offer apologies, we demanded. As lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson represents all North Carolinians, not just fundamentalist Christian men.

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Catholic Church has a gravely evil history
We extended our ire to unelected religious patriarchs bullying elected office-holders. Annie Laurie sent an open letter to the San Francisco archbishop taking him to task for his threat to deny communion to Nancy Pelosi due to her pro-choice stance. She lambasted his labeling of Pelosi’s support for abortion rights as a “scandal” and “grave evil,” providing a synopsis of the gravely evil history of the Catholic Church.

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White Christian nationalism’s role in Jan. 6 attack
We made an important intervention in the discussion about the biggest recent challenge to our secular democratic system: We sent out ahead of the House hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack a nationally distributed op-ed (published in papers all over the country) pointing out how white Christian nationalism was a driver of the event.

“White Christian nationalism, for its role in the Jan. 6 insurrection alone, is a harmful and extremist belief system that deserves more public alarm,” Jemar Tisby’s column concluded. “At present, it is the greatest threat to democracy and maintaining the peaceful transfer of power in the United States. We neglect this dangerous ideology at our own peril.”
Wisconsin governor makes wise move to safeguard abortion rights
It was no surprise then that we greeted with relief the news of our home state governor calling a special legislative session to finally get rid of the state’s archaic 1849 law criminalizing abortion. The Wisconsin Legislature should take the opportunity to repeal this outdated, barbaric law when it reconvenes on June 22.

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A secular message for Denver
We and our Denver area chapter put up a bulletin for residents of the Mile High City this week. A new billboard message boldly proclaiming “Keep Religion OUT of Government” has just gone up on Interstate 70 in Denver. “Our democracy is in peril if we don’t continue to fight for the separation of state and church,” says Claudette StPierre, president of FFRF’s Metro Denver Chapter (which helped fund the prominent billboard).

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Abortion is an LGBTQ issue
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez deftly linked reproductive rights with LGBTQ+ rights in her recent column commemorating Pride Month.

“Pride Month is a time to honor the activism and influence of the LGBTQ+ community,” she began. “It is also a time to acknowledge the work that still needs to be done in order to achieve true equality. Abortion access is one of those issues.”

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A horrifyingly deadly religious conflict
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught provided a fascinating history lesson this week — spotlighting perhaps the bloodiest war in history.

“Few have heard of a bizarre religious war that inflicted perhaps similar slaughter to World War II,” he wrote. “A delusional man who died this month a bit more than 150 years ago started it all.”

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A scientific mother-daughter duo
We have a special treat for you on our Facebook Live “Ask an Atheist” feature in lieu of our television show, currently on hiatus. We play excerpts from speeches the mother-daughter duo Ann Druyan and Sasha Sagan delivered at our 2021 convention.  Druyan is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and director of the “Cosmos” series, the first iteration co-written with her late husband Carl Sagan. Sasha Sagan is author of For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World and regularly speaks on ways science can inform our celebrations. Watch them here!

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Our non-Christian nation
We have a further relishable tidbit from our convention for our radio show this week: We hear Boston Law Professor Jay Wexler talk about his book Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Pagans and Others are Demanding Their Rightful Place in Public Life. Take a listen.

Wayward officials, Catholic Church history, Jan. 6 Capitol attack and abortion rights
Whether we’re fighting constitutionally wayward officials or offering secular delights, we’re able to do it only because of your unstinting generosity.

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