We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation came to grips with a variety of issues this week.
The Religious Right’s assault on women’s rights has been increasingly concerning to us — aided and abetted by the reactionary Supreme Court.
We agreed with Justice Sonia Sotomayor that the impact of the court’s failure to block the Texas abortion ban today is “catastrophic.” “Once again, the court is using the shadow docket to deny fundamental constitutional rights,” said FFRF Legal Director Rebecca S. Markert.
We had earlier sharply responded when a panel of federal appellate judges ruled that the Texas ban can continue to be enforced while the law’s constitutionality is determined. “There is no scientific reasoning — only punitive and primitive religious ideology,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor commented.
The onslaught on abortion access is happening in our home state, too. Reject religiously motivated anti-science bills that infringe on women’s right to an abortion, we urged the Wisconsin Assembly. As a secular nation, laws related to health care should reflect science — not the religious motivations of legislators, our letter emphasized.
FFRF Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez has put together a superb guide to the state of abortion rights in the country. “Women’s rights demand our secular voices, and we are grateful to have you in this important fight,” she concludes.
Reforming the judiciary
The American judicial system is the arbiter on women’s rights — as on so many other vital issues. That’s why its current parlous state is of supreme concern to us. In his monthly dispatch to all of you members, FFRF Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann lays out our secular “cathedral-building” efforts on that front. Join us in our endeavors.
The judicial system was also the focus of our radio show this week, with law Professor Stephen M. Feldman talking with Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor about how his book Pack the Court! A Defense of Supreme Court Expansion could rebalance the John Roberts court.
End the Vatican ambassadorship
With the pending announcement of a new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, we once again urged that this unconstitutional and inappropriate ambassadorship be discontinued. Granting this privilege to one particular religion over others creates serious First Amendment problems — imagine the backlash if the United States were to bestow this favor on one branch of Islam.
Celebrate Secular Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 2
The Day of the Dead was created just south of the border as a way to pay respect to the dearly departed. The Freethought Society has reshaped this as a Secular Day of the Dead Celebration (Dia de los Muertos) event and it’s coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 2 (co-sponsored by FFRF). On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, Freethought Society President Margaret Downey and Vice President Victoria de la Torre chat with Dan Barker and Annie Laurie about the observance and its significance.
We’re blowing the whistle on church electioneering
The IRS has recently been in a stupor when it comes to curbing church politicking, and so we demanded that it intervene to stop Virginia churches from such activities. Stacey Abrams and Terry McAuliffe recently campaigned at churches in the state. And a campaign ad featuring Vice President Kamala Harris will reportedly be broadcast in over 300 Black churches. “The tax-free status that churches enjoy is dependent upon them not engaging in electioneering, but unlike secular nonprofits, they violate such rules often gleefully,” Annie Laurie remarked.
Discussing rationality with Steven Pinker
On our TV show this Sunday, Dan and Annie Laurie interview one of the most noteworthy intellectuals of our time talking about his new book. Distinguished evolutionary psychologist and Harvard Professor Steven Pinker discusses Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it Sunday.
Stop fundraising for Franklin Graham
Even with all this going on, we didn’t let Franklin Graham escape from our sight. We asked a Texas school district not to collect money for a proselytizing Christian group that is headed by none other than the infamous evangelist.
A little-known freethinking martyr
Veteran writer and freethinker Jim Haught provides us with a galvanizing history lesson. On the recent anniversary of his execution, he tells us the story of Francisco Ferrer — nonconformist and nonbeliever.
“Today, few remember Francisco Ferrer, but he’s a freethought martyr,” he concludes. “You might say he was the last significant European executed for heresy.”
It’s such narratives that give us the inspiration to do what we’re doing — with your backing and generosity.