Much of our work here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation is to explain the urgent issues of the day. This week, we were especially busy doing that.
Not a Supreme Masterpiece
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down an unmasterful decision in the momentously important Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. There was much confusion about its ramifications, so we devoted a great deal of our energy clarifying its muddy waters.
A bad judgment, but narrow in its scope, we concluded. On our Facebook Live “Ask an Atheist” feature, a number of our attorneys discussed the case and its consequences. FFRF Staff Attorney Liz Cavell, the lead drafter of our Supreme Court amicus brief in support of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, pithily simplified the verdict in our “Newsbite” segment. And on our radio show this week, we chatted with Liz about Masterpiece and then interviewed charming and irreverent author Malachy McCourt, whose newest book is “Death Need Not Be Fatal.” Malachy, an Irish-American, is the brother of celebrated writer Frank McCourt, by the way.
Enlightening our public officials
We spent a good amount of time this week illuminating matters for our public officials, too.
We tried explaining to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that if he wants his next month’s global “religious freedom” summit to be truly inclusive, he needs to invite nonreligious representatives. Excluding a persecuted minority from a group aimed at ending the persecution of minorities would deeply undermine both the group’s efficacy and its integrity as an advocate of true religious liberty, we emphasized.
We made clear to the Ohio Senate that it can’t engage in discriminatory invocation practices against nonbelievers. This policy is blatantly unconstitutional.And we pointed out to a California congressman who’s praising the Boy Scouts that the organization still discriminates against atheists.
Some folks listen to us
Our explanations serve a purpose. After we warned an Illinois school district about an overtly religious recent graduation ceremony, it assured us that this won’t recur. “Brimfield CUSD #309 confirms to you that there will not be scheduled or approved prayer at district-sponsored events,” the superintendent emailed us.
Photo by Nirat via Shutterstock
We hope that a similar clarification to a Mississippi town’s mayor and school district about a prayerful recent official awards function will likewise do the trick. “The mayor and school district in Long Beach are violating the rights of students who don’t follow the majority religion,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Watch Katha Pollitt explain the state of the world
Nation magazine columnist and author Katha Pollitt has earned a name for herself in explaining to all of us the state of affairs, and it’s a delight to have the award-winning columnist on this week’s “Freethought Matters” TV show. You can watch the interview on Sunday at 11 p.m. in the Madison, Wis., area and Monday afternoon onward on our YouTube channel, where we have posted our interview from last week with philosopher and author Larry Shapiro.
You are all Nobel to us
A member of ours who actually won the Nobel Prize for helping shed light on a key component of cells recently died. We pay homage to Paul D. Boyer and his freethinking spirit. He was a cherished Lifetime Member. But Nobel or not, all of you are precious to us. At the end of the day, it is because of you that we exist.