You’d be surprised at what all we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have to deal with in a typical week.
CBS Network censors us
We found out this week, for instance, that CBS Network executives have refused to run our famed Ron Reagan ad on Stephen Colbert’s late night show. (The spot is still running on 10 CBS-affiliated stations that are not directly owned by the network.) “Sadly, spineless people who feel no obligation to allow free speech, let alone protect it, will not ‘let freedom ring’ over the airwaves,” commented FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. Do watch if you live in one of the 10 major media markets where it is airing next week!
A bad ambassador
We also had to contend with the confirmation of a nominee we vehemently opposed: Sam Brownback as the new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Brownback, the outgoing governor of Kansas, has been smugly demonstrative of his Christian religion. That’s why his confirmation does not bode well for freethinkers globally. FFRF has already given him a chance to redeem himself by requesting the release of an Iranian protester jailed for discarding her hijab.
So many horrendous bills!
We’re having to cope with a particularly horrendous slew of state bills this year. Our Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel playfully spotlights the worst of them.“These legislators have real work to do, but instead, they’re pandering to the lowest common religious denominator,” he writes. “That can change if you speak up. We don’t care what party these legislators are from or what their personal beliefs are, we just want them to get off their knees and get to work.”
Onslaught against reproductive rights
Week in and week out under this White House, we’re having to face a religiously motivated onslaught against reproductive rights. (President Trump’s video appearance at last week’s “March for Life” is just the latest illustration.) What better time to contemplate the state of reproductive rights in this country than this week, the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade?
Pence’s biblical babble
During the week, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a sermon to the Israeli Knesset justifying the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as that country’s capital. We asked him to cut out all the bible nonsense.“We can agree or disagree on our country’s policy on Israel, Jerusalem and other political matters that are beyond FFRF’s parameters,” wrote FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “But once our nation’s leaders start claiming biblical authority for these decisions, it’s time for secular folks to draw the line.”
Triumphs and more triumphs
It wasn’t just negative events coming our way this week, though. An important case that we’re fighting in Texas moved forward. A federal judge ruled that a lawsuit we’ve filed against an overly prayerful justice of the peace in that state can proceed. On our radio show this week, listen to FFRF’s lead counsel on the case, Sam Grover, who chats about the lawsuit. Co-hosts Dan and Annie Laurie discuss other topical matters. Then, we interview the granddaughter of a California governor who was, astonishingly, openly atheistic in the 1930s and ’40s.Sam gave us something else to cheer about when, on our behalf, he got a Texas school to promise not to engage in Christian decorations during holiday festivities from now onward. Watch Sam talk about the victory on our bite-sized “Newsbite” segment.
This was only one of many of our triumphs this week. We scuttled a public school trip to a campsite so religious that it is difficult to believe. We halted recurring coach-led prayers at an Illinois high school. And we banished ostentatiously displayed crosses from a New Mexico junior college.
Us v. Ben Carson
A recent lawsuit of ours that has been getting attention is one that we co-filed (with CREW, a good government watchdog) against Ben Carson and HUD concerning a White House bible study group. Watch us explain the case and its significance on our “FFRF’s Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature.
Some good interviews
Our recently launched television show, “Freethought Matters,” is progressing smoothly. Last Sunday, we interviewed activist Marie Schaub about her successful campaign to remove a hulking Ten Commandments megalith from her daughter’s public school. The coming Sunday, yours truly is honored to chat with internationally renowned freethinking sculptor Zenos Frudakis about his work, especially a Clarence Darrow statue he created for us. If you’re in the Madison area, you can watch it on CBS Channel 3 at 11 p.m. Sunday. Otherwise, it’ll be available for viewing on FFRF’s YouTube channel Monday onward.While we’re on the subject of interviews, our Legal Director Rebecca Markert recently gave an informative interview about her background and the work that we do at FFRF. It’s a nice primer on us, so please check it out!Thanks to your membership, we’re able to handle what Rebecca talks about in the conversation — every week, typical and atypical.