For the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, we have repurposed a column from our Freethought Today newspaper that FFRF Co-President Dan Barker crafted in the immediate aftermath of the horror and that remains as relevant today.
“‘E Pluribus Unum’ does not mean ‘United, we stand,’” he writes. “It means ‘Divided, we stand.’ We are divided into 50 different state governments. We are divided into multiple religious, philosophical, cultural and political factions — yet we stand as a nation. We don’t have to agree. We should wear our disagreements as a badge of honor.”
A rich history
On the occasion of the recent Labor Day observance, veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught reviews the history of labor struggles in this country. (Watch for his Sept. 11 column next week.)
“The retreat of unions is among a few sectors in which conservatives have scored greater success than progressives,” he concludes. “That should not distract us from the many social gains that unions have won over the years — sometimes fighting pitched battles to attain their goals.”
The mystery of a disappeared father
In a doubleheader interview this week on our Freethought Radio show, Charlotte Dennett first discusses her book The Crash of Flight 3804: A Lost Spy, a Daughter’s Quest, and the Deadly Politics of the Great Game for Oil (foreword by her atheist philosopher brother Daniel C. Dennett III) about the mysterious 1947 death of their father Daniel C. Dennett II when he was an American spy in the Middle East. Then, we talk with her brother about his new work Just Deserts: Debating Free Will.
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The religious onslaught on women’s rights
But, of course, we have to also stay engaged in the present. That’s why we’re taking out a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times spotlighting the recent Texas abortion ban to warn about the religious assault on women’s rights.
“Emboldened Christian nationalists in state governments have ramped up their relentless, religiously motivated war on abortion,” we caution, urging the newspaper’s readers to join us in our fight. “Our federal judiciary has been stacked with Trump-appointed extremists.”
In fact, a lot of our recent work has revolved around reproductive rights.
We cheered a Mexico Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. We applauded a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit against the state of Texas over its abortion prohibition. And we decried South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s new abortion restrictions that will serve her religious ideology.
Even the current episode of “Ask an Atheist” (our Facebook Live feature) deals with the issue. FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert and FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel are joined by University of Miami Professor Caroline Mala Corbin to talk about how the U.S. Supreme Court robbed Texans of their bodily autonomy and effectively killed Roe v. Wade.
At the same time, we have been looking toward the future.
“Any legal challenge is eventually going to be adjudicated by this packed, partisan, Christian nationalist Supreme Court,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarked about the Justice Department lawsuit against the Texas abortion ban. “Temporary solutions are important, but the permanent solution is to correct and rebalance the entire federal judiciary.”
Yay to a vaccine mandate!
We also celebrated President Biden’s announcement of a sweeping vaccine mandate, a move that will reportedly affect as many as 100 million Americans. It is past time for Americans to listen to science and reason, we exhorted.
We interview Richard Dawkins
Our TV show this Sunday has as its interview guest an intellectual giant: famed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, author of such classics as The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene. “When it is such an exciting fact that we can explain things, to paper that over with a pseudo explanation, a false explanation of a divine intelligence, a divine creator is just so sad,” he tells “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it this Sunday.
Trying to get things changed locally
We’ve been engaging in a bunch of activism at the local level, too. We’re prodding a Tennessee county to be more inclusive by removing a religious image from its seal. We’re urging a city in Oklahoma not to waste taxpayer money in religious giveaways. And we’re asking a Georgia police department to remove a cross from outside its building.
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