Weekly Report: Our Olympian spirit

Weekly Report: Our Olympian spirit February 23, 2018

Our Olympian spirit
We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are also motivated by an Olympian spirit — even if our version of the event differs in some respects.

Going head-to-head with theocrats

Take our Co-President Dan Barker, who is often on the road contesting against assorted theocrats. The coming Sunday and Monday, he is in Louisville for two events, giving a talk at a local campus and then taking on a creationist at the University of Louisville. Be there or be square!

Participating in important national issues
We regularly participate in national issues, including this week.

No honor for Billy Graham!
When our long time bête noire Billy Graham died, we first issued a statement decrying his negative role in our country’s history. And when Congress announced that he will be lying in state at the Capitol next week, we strongly protested this undeserved honor to a man who had done so much to damage the state-church separation wall.

Combating the Russians
Similar to the U.S. contingent at the Olympics, we tackled the Russians — the regime and its troll farms, in our case. A portion of the pro-Trump social media propaganda that was sent out election time was anti-freethought slander, which FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor found very revealing.

“The Christian Right must be incapable of shame,” she wrote. “Otherwise, you’d think that the 80 percent of white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election might be a tad embarrassed over how blatantly the Russian election interference was targeting them.”

Trumpian blather
The Christian Right was a big part of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., this week, as was President Trump. FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel gleefully tore apart Trump’s religious blather.

No more #thoughtsandprayers
In the aftermath of the Florida school shooting, Annie Laurie asserted that whatever the answer may be, it certainly isn’t “thoughts and prayers.” And in a follow-up blog, she urged pious Florida lawmakers to follow the leadership of the admirable students from the school so hard-hit by the tragedy.

“Thoughts and prayers” was the subject also of our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, in which we all agreed that such sentiments work very well in preventing tragedies such as in Parkland, Fla. Not!

And in our “Newsbite” segment, Andrew dissects the ridiculousness of the Florida lawmakers’ “In God We Trust” response to the Florida carnage. It’ll provide a little comic relief in a grim week.

State-level bouts
Florida legislators weren’t the only state officials up to mindless shenanigans. The Oklahoma statehouse is openly promoting Christianity under the guise of its chaplaincy program. And South Carolina’s top education official seems to think that Christianity will make students feel safe when school shootings happen. We’re letting them know how wrong-headed they are.

A good start
As with Olympians, we believe it’s important to get off to a good start. That’s why we’ve made sure to maintain the quality of our recently launched “Freethought Matters” TV show. Last Sunday, our guest was Kimberly Veal, president of People of Color Beyond Faith. This Sunday, we have on none other than public intellectual superstar Stephen Pinker (FFRF’s distinguished honorary president)! If you live in the Madison area, you can catch him Sunday at 11 p.m. on Channel 3 talking about his new book, “Enlightenment Now,” which is already a best-seller. On Monday afternoon, we’ll be uploading the interview on our YouTube Channel.

Nice endurance, too
Our radio show has been going on a bit longer, but we take equal care of it. This week, Dan and Annie Laurie have a riveting interview with Mohammed al Khadra, a founder of Jordan Atheists who fled his country with the help of Nonbelief Relief.

Sometimes narrowly focused
Just like with athletes at the Olympics, we participate in some narrowly focused events, too. This week, we called out a South Carolina school for hosting a creationist phony as part of a science event. And we demanded a stop to a Houston public charter school’s recitation of a bible verse as part of school announcements each morning.

A variety of levels, different focuses and a multitude of skill sets — we do our own version of the Olympics week in and week out, and all with your cheering and applause.

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