Even during a shorter week full of Solstice celebration and some time off spent with friends and family, we remained busy at FFRF. Let’s jump right in.
9th Circuit stands firm on FFRF victory
The big news of the week is that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed FFRF’s victory against school board prayer in the Chino Valley School District (Calif.), denying an en banc petition to rehear the case.
In July, the 9th Circuit correctly ruled that the Chino Valley School Board’s inclusion of prayer in meetings is illegal, and the panel is standing resolute on that decision.
You can catch FFRF’s Legal Director Rebecca Markert on this week’s newsbite bringing us up to speed on the significance of this action. How nice to end the year with yet another legal victory!
4 stars for FFRF
In other affirming news, we are very proud to announce that we have been awarded our ninth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. This means we’ve taken steps to be accountable, transparent and financially healthy.
Solstice in Olympia
A Winter Solstice display returned to its annual spot last week. Thanks to Darrell Barker, president of “Unfettered Freethinkers of South Sound” and brother of FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, the “Let Reason Prevail” banner returned to the lawn of the capitol building in Olympia, Wash., to counter a Christian nativity display there. The banner remains up through today.
Listen & Watch
This week on Freethought Radio, we are joined by Princeton Professor Imani Perry, who has written a new biography, Looking For Lorraine: The Radiant Life of Lorraine Hansberry, about the artist/activist author of the play and movie “A Raisin in the Sun.” Hansberry, who was not religious, the first Black woman to have a play on Broadway. After discussing this famous playwright, Dan and Annie Laurie end the old year on a relaxing but irreverent note by playing some memorable songs by Eric Idle of Monty Python, plus a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,”performed by Scottish balladeer Jim Malcolm. That song, written by freethinker Robert Burns, unites the world once a year.
We are closing out the last episodes of Freethought Matters of 2018 with two exciting guests. On our national show, which can be seen in eight cities, we talk with Ben Sidran, a major force in the history of music and an internationally renowned jazz pianist and composer. Sidran talks about being a freethinker, music, current threats to secular democracy today and the importance of community on this week’s national edition of “Freethought Matters.” As a special bonus, he performs two freethinking songs in FFRF’s studio, a nice way to end the year.
If you aren’t in any of these viewing areas, you can catch the interview with Sidran on FFRF’s YouTube channel.
If you’re tuning in from Madison, Wis., our Director of Communications Amit Pal interviews Mohammed Al Khadra, founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Jordan. “Khadra,” as he is known, is an outspoken advocate of freedom of speech, secularism and human rights who fled Jordan this year after facing potential arrest or assassination as an open atheist.
Warm wishes for a bright new year!
All of us at FFRF are wishing you a bright and secular new year. We are gearing up for the challenges of what will undoubtedly be a busy 2019 in our work so that reason, and our secular Constitution, will prevail. See you next year!