It was a typical week for us at the Freedom From Religion Foundation: spotlighting constitutional infringements, chiming in on events, spreading the word and receiving media attention.
Our victory over a West Virginia school district that forced a religious revival upon its students had both the Associated Press and West Virginia Public Broadcasting take notice.
“A West Virginia school district has passed a policy mandating annual religious freedom training as part of a lawsuit settlement after an evangelical preacher held a revival assembly during the school day in 2022 that some students were required to attend,” Leah Willingham reported for AP. “As part of the settlement, the families will also receive up to $1 each from the district, and each student plaintiff will receive a $2,000 scholarship from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nonprofit that represented them in court.”
West Virginia Public Broadcasting gave the story good play, too.
“The Cabell County Board of Education has settled a lawsuit in an out-of-court agreement with four families who sued over violations of religious freedom,” its piece stated. “The families were represented by the nonprofit organization the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Attorney Patrick Elliott represented the families in the suit. He said that while the school had written policies in place, the school system had a widespread practice of allowing these types of things to happen.”
On our Freethought Radio show this week, Patrick joined FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert and FFRF Attorney Liz Cavell, filling in as guest hosts, to talk about our West Virginia win. Listen in here.
Our efforts to curtail Supreme Court corruption are noticed
One of the most prominent progressive web portals applauded our efforts as part of a coalition to curtail corruption in the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
“Today, national advocacy organizations representing millions of concerned citizens called on Senate leadership to investigate allegations of corruption against Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and bring the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, & Transparency (SCERT) Act up for a floor vote by the full Senate,” says a piece on Common Dreams. “‘We are honored to join our allies at Stand Up America and so many wonderful organizations that are dedicated to cleaning up our courts. It is time for the Supreme Court Ethics Recusal and Transparency Act to come to a vote. And the Senate Judiciary Committee must start to have hearings and give the American people an accounting of the endless ethical breaches from the Supreme Court,’ said Mark Dann, Director of Governmental Affairs at Freedom From Religion Foundation Action Fund.”
Nice work, Mark!
Carolinas on our mind
The Carolinas kept us busy this week. We urged a North Carolina school board to repeal a new policy permitting unconstitutional official prayer at the start of its meetings. We also asked the city of Roxboro in the Tar Heel State to end the discriminatory practice of opening its City Council meetings with councilor-led prayers. And we insisted that the Kershaw County School District in South Carolina no longer allow a local church to preach before school football games.
Ron Reagan ad on Colbert
Our Ron Reagan ad, in which he famously notes he’s an “unabashed atheist, not afraid of burning in hell,” aired this week on Colbert’s show. “We warmly thank Ron Reagan once more for lending his inimitable endorsement to FFRF’s purposes to educate the public about nontheists and to get religion out of government,” says Dan Barker, FFRF co-president.
Legendary philosopher Daniel Dennett on our Sunday TV show
We’ve interviewed world-famous philosopher Daniel Dennett on our TV show this Sunday. Find out what this incredible thinker has to say about the meaning of life. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it on Sunday.
House Speaker is a complete horror!
The election of the new Speaker of the House is a true horror story. That’s why on the occasion of Halloween, FFRF Associate Counsel Liz Cavell and Staff Attorney Chris Line discussed on our Facebook Live “Ask an Atheist” feature Mike Johnson’s Christian nationalist past, in addition to narrating a few fun stories about Halloween. Watch it here.
FFRF Senior Policy Counsel Ryan Jayne had a piece on Johnson aptly titled: “House Speaker Johnson is even worse than you think.” Read the horrifying details here.
Not surprisingly, FFRF’s lobbying arm, the FFRF Action Fund, picked Johnson as its “Theocrat of the Week.” The Dallas School Board, which voted unanimously against hiring chaplains to act as school counselors in defiance of new state guidance, aptly earned the sobriquet of “Secularist of the Week.”
Our lobbying arm’s election endorsements
The FFRF Action Fund also issued two endorsements for the upcoming elections. It provided its seal of approval for Jeremy Rodden in his campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates in District 90. And it gave a thumbs-up to Jason Benell in his campaign for Des Moines City Council. “Religious dogma has no place in governance, and Benell understands this,” said FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Travel abortion bans in Texas
FFRF Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez has an informative blog this week on travel bans for abortion that are popping up in Texas. “Need abortion, will travel? Not so fast,” her blog intriguingly begins.
Best of times, worst of times
We have a piece (among a treasure trove that he sent us a long time ago) by recently departed columnist Jim Haught that sums up our era — borrowing the famous opening line of A Tale of Two Cities.
“The steady decline of supernatural religion is another human improvement because it advances scientific honesty instead of magical fairy tales about gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, prophecies, visions and other church gibberish,” his piece states. “And it reduces the us-versus-them alienation that divides humanity into rival religious camps.”
This, for sure, is making our era better — and it is a phenomenon that we aim to further through our work and with your support.