Weekly Report: Our engines are running

It may be early in the year but our engines here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are already fully running.

Dan Barker’s latest book is out!
FFRF Co-President Dan Barker’s new book has been released. Free Will Explained: How Science and Philosophy Converge to Create a Beautiful Illusion” is a surprisingly playful treatment of a seemingly heavy subject. (I speak from a place of knowledge, since I’ve already read the book.) As Dan jokes, you must buy it! The book was published by Sterling Publishing, and Dan donates his royalties for any books purchased through FFRF. He also autographs them!

Watch Dan discuss Free Will Explained” and the issues it explores on “FFRF’s Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature. You’ll learn a lot — in a fun way.

You can also listen to Dan briefly talk about his book on our most recent radio show. We additionally feature world-fame classical pianist Jarred Dunn playing Frederic Chopin and chat with him (on the phone from Poland, no less!) about his and Chopin’s freethought views.
Ron Reagan’s ad on ‘Rachel Maddow Show’
We’re rerunning on MSNBC through the end of the month our memorable Ron Reagan endorsement ad. Reagan’s signature lines, “Unabashed atheist . . . not afraid of burning in hell,” have gotten us thousands of new members and generated a cottage freethought memorabilia industry. We’re confident the ad will continue to make a big impact. The ad appears on the second airing of the show on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
An unconstitutional monolith
We’ve been doing a lot else, too — and the media has been paying attention.“A nonprofit organization in Madison, Wis., is calling for removal of a Ten Commandments monument from a Santa Fe city park, saying the 6-foot-tall granite tablet is an ‘inappropriate and unconstitutional’ remnant of the Cold War era,” the New Mexico capital city’s newspaper reported this week. “‘The government has no business telling citizens which god they must have, how many gods they must have, or that they must have any god at all,’ the Freedom from Religion Foundation said Tuesday in a statement.”

Stop the subsidy!
Our objection to the unconstitutional subsidization of a Christian school by a West Virginia county is also creating quite a stir.

“Two Mingo County commissioners continued to defend the county’s support of the Ambassador Christian Academy on Tuesday, overlooking a call to cut ties with the private school for possible violation of the separation of church and state,” a local paper reports. “Last week, the national atheist organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent a letter to the Mingo commission demanding they rescind a lease agreement with the school, which is housed in the former Williamson Middle School building. The organization said it was representing several concerned Mingo residents who feared their tax dollars were helping fund a private religious organization.”

A hometown magazine profile
Our hometown magazine carried a long, positive profile of FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We’re welcoming to people of whatever skeptical stripe,” she says in the piece.

An unfair clergy privilege
And our legal triumph last month on the discriminatory clergy housing allowance issue is still resonating. The Chicago Tribune had a front-page article about the case.

“This is a huge privilege and benefit for churches because tax-free dollars go further,” Annie Laurie tells the paper. “They have been allowed to pay lower salaries when it’s all taxpayer subsidies. Clergy pay less, and everyone else pays more.”

Recent victories
Furthermore, we had a couple of recent victories.

We halted a Louisiana sheriff’s stream of sermonizing on official social media. The cover photo for the Washington Parish Sheriff Office’s page used to state, till we objected: “Lord when I sit in the chair of leadership, please do not let it be said that the chair is still empty.” If anyone can decipher that for us, we’d be grateful.

On our bite-sized “Newsbite” segment, FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne discusses a significant win of ours, in which we blocked the proposed public funding of a church in an Alaska town.

Watch our show! 
We’ve readied FFRF’s second episode of its half-hour TV show, “Freethought Matters.” Co-hosts Dan and Annie Laurie interview atheist author and blogger Greta Christina. It airs Sunday 11 p.m. on Wisconsin’s CBS affiliate Channel 3. If you’re not in the Madison area, look for the show on FFRF’s YouTube channel on Monday!A questionable Kentucky marathon
As if all of this wasn’t enough for a week, we asked for records to ascertain if the Kentucky Capitol was misused recently for a bible-reading marathon there that started on New Year’s Eve and lasted for four days. And we urged those of you in Alabama to support a bill that will end the appalling exemptions given to religious day care centers in that state.

See, due to your support and generosity, we’re already in high gear so early in the year.

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