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Weekly Wrap: A lawsuit, statehouse testimony, a theocratic state rep and an Iranian Nobel-winner

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84c5c5ce 4c43 3940 85cb 8991d49dc539 Weekly Wrap: A lawsuit, statehouse testimony, a theocratic state rep and an Iranian Nobel-winner

We engaged in major actions this week — filing a lawsuit, testifying at a statehouse and objecting to a theocratic legislator — all with significant media attention.

“A lawsuit was filed against Secretary of State Tahesha Way after a man claimed the state forces candidates for office to swear to a religious oath,” said a story for a New Jersey TV station, just one of several media outlets providing coverage of our legal action. “The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of James Tosone, a New Jersey resident, against Way’s office for forcing public office candidates to swear a mandatory religious oath.”

Our Wisconsin Statehouse testimony against anti-trans legislation
A leading source of political analysis in Wisconsin took note of our testimony at the state Capitol against anti-trans legislation.

“Sam Grover, staff attorney at the Freedom from Religion Foundation, argued the bill would likely have ‘profound negative effects’ on transgender youth ‘by disaffirming their authentic gender based on an anti-scientific definition of sex,’” reported WisPolitics. “Grover told the committee sex and gender are distinct, and someone’s genitalia doesn’t necessarily reflect their gender or sex.”

There were three bad bills all with their own hearings  and FFRF had them all covered!. Senior Policy Counsel Ryan Jayne testified against a second bill targeting athletes, and Social Justice Legal Fellow Kat Grant testifed against a bill to ban gender affirming care for minors. Watch this short video interview of Kat outside the Capitol created by our new Digital Communications Manager Rowan Hahn.

N.D. capital newspaper features us admonishing a state rep
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Our denunciation of a theocratic North Dakota state representative made headlines in North Dakota’s capital newspaper.

“A national lobbying organization that advocates for the separation of church and state has called for an apology or resignation from state Rep. Brandon Prichard, R-Bismarck, in the wake of a series of social media posts in which Prichard called for the enshrining of Christian beliefs in state and federal constitutions,” said a major piece in the Bismarck Tribune. “The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s lobbying arm decried the legislator’s posts on X, the website formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday in a statement that characterized Prichard’s statements as ‘Christian nationalist.’”

A praiseworthy NASA official and a deluded N.D. state rep
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Not surprisingly, the FFRF Action Fund named Prichard its “Theocrat of the Week.” Prichard showed how much he earned this label by calling the Action Fund “a godless out-of-state interest group” and repeating: “I’ll say it again. Christ is King and Lord. Let’s dedicate our government to Him, His Moral teachings, and His mercy.” In a welcome gesture from the opposite side of the fence, NASA official Charity Weeden, our “Secularist of the Week,” took her oath of office on Carl Sagan’s Contact instead of a bible.

We had an Indiana school remove religious displays
Our other efforts continued in full flow.

The Vigo County School Corporation in Indiana removed Christian displays from a classroom after a communiqué from us. A letter from the school system’s legal representative informed us that the offending paraphernalia have been taken off. We appreciate its cooperative attitude in the matter.

No coaches praying, we ask a Fla. school district
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We chastised a Florida school district for its football coach’s team prayer.

“No student athlete should have to pray to play,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The football coach’s job is to coach students in football — not about the tenets of Christianity.”

What an Iranian Nobel-winner’s plight reveals about the country
We congratulated jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while sympathizing with her plight — a symbol of the injustice that Iranian women are facing more broadly.  “Mohammadi and all Iranian women deserve ‘Woman, Life Freedom,’” said Annie Laurie.

A toolkit for Banned Books Week
For Banned Books Week, we issued a statement expressing concern that book bans are on an alarming and unprecedented rise and urging our members and secular Americans to spread awareness and fight back against such bans and censorship. We provided a toolkit for activism, which you can check out here.

Ron Reagan ad back on MSNBC
Our iconic ad featuring Ron Reagan that highlights FFRF’s work and his own “unabashed atheism” is back on MSNBC next week. It will return to the “The Rachel Maddow Show” over the next three Mondays and will debut for the first time on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes,” on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from Oct. 10–Oct. 27. Keep an eye out!

Why religion is declining globally
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The guest on our Sunday TV show has expertly tracked the decline of religion around the world.

Isabella Kasselstrand is assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. She is co-author of a new book called Beyond Doubt: The Secularization of Society. You can already catch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where to watch it on television Sunday.

The barrage of response to our Auburn baptism objection
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We received a barrage of responses (and a ton of media coverage) for our objection to a baptism at Auburn University. On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week, FFRF Co-President Dan Barker and Staff Attorney Chris Line discuss some of the reaction. Watch the entertaining episode here (including some amusing A.I.-generated avatars of our crank callers).

A Washington Post columnist’s new atheism book
After talking with the two FFRF legal fellows about their invaluable recent work, FFRF co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interviewed Washington Post contributing columnist Kate Cohen about her new book We Of Little Faith: Why I Stopped Pretending To Believe (And Maybe You Should Too). In a conversation on Madison’s community radio station, Cohen also discussed her book at length, as well as chatting about the Freethought Heroine Award she is accepting at our convention next week. P.S. Although early registration is over, FFRF will be accepting registrations (but no meal orders) at the door for our national convention in Madison next week.

Scary theocratic news ahead of Halloween
Annie Laurie does a news roundup ahead of Halloween of frightening theocratic news you may have missed. It’s “scary stuff indeed,” as she concludes.

A decades-old amendment should be repealed
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez urges in her most recent column the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits public assistance for abortion services.

“Abortion laws should reflect science and medicine — not a politician’s unfounded fears of the final judgment,” she writes. “Millions of women have not been able to access abortion for decades for religious reasons.”

Why Puritanism needs to be fought
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The late Jim Haught left us a column, first published 30 years ago, on how puritanical attitudes are why we have a split attitude on sex. A full three decades after its initial publication — we’re still fighting — with your able support — the nasty effects of religion-inspired prudery on various fronts.

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