Not fooling around on April Fools’ and Easter

Not fooling around on April Fools’ and Easter March 30, 2018

At the Freedom From Religion Foundation, we’re observing Easter — with our special twist, of course.

We’re delighted that this year, it is falling on April Fools’. FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel has a field day with the coincidence (and does a hilarious review of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus”).

And what better occasion to offer our thoughts on the newly opened Museum of the Bible? After recently touring the biblical institution, FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor asked the executive director to correct several of the museum’s most egregious distortions. “Thou shall not bear false witness,” they warned. Andrew accompanied them, and wrote this blog about his experience.

If you’re rupturing a prayer circle, you might as well do it during Easter week. We stopped Illinois public high school basketball coaches from regularly praying during games (including in prayer circle formations).

This wasn’t the only triumph we achieved during “Holy Week.” In fact, in a single Ohio district we stopped a foot-washing ceremony (!) and got a preacher banned from school precincts. How about that?

We also doubled down on our billboard campaign in the South’s most bustling metropolis. Atlanta residents now have two freethinking messages to inspire them. “If all of us had faith in science and humanism, we would improve life on Earth so fast,” says FFRF member Jack Egger, who helped finance the panels.

Panning Big Apple pandering
Certainly, some folks have a different notion of the holiday than we do, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is appeasing them by giving Good Friday off in the schools. We panned his pandering, and asked those of you in the Big Apple to voice your protest.

We kept our nose to the grindstone
We ensured in Wisconsin many years ago that Good Friday wouldn’t be an official state holiday. So, along with our fellow Wisconsinites, we kept our nose to the grindstone. We filed an amicus brief on Friday against President Trump’s latest travel ban. “It would create precedence that could be used to target not only religious minorities, but also the significant minority today that identifies as nonreligious,” we caution.

We are also fighting a proposed theocratic rule at the Department of Health and Human Services that purports to enhance protections for religious-based objections by health care workers. Talk about Orwellian phrasing.

No time off
Nosirree, unlike some other people, FFRF didn’t take time off this week. We sounded the constitutional alarm about shockingly religious events that have occurred at a number of Missouri public high schools. We urged an Oklahoma public high school to cancel an upcoming presentation that a notorious evangelical group (the Todd Becker Foundation) is giving there. And we warned a Tennessee school to stop praying on its p.a. system.

A little fun
At the same time, we were out to have a little fun. To celebrate April Fools’ on our radio show this week, we heard Irish comic Dave Allen lampoon the Catholic Church and spoke with New Orleans “dark humor” novelist Patty Friedmann about her new book. (And FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover discussed a partial victory we recently obtained in Indiana.)

A more somber show
Our TV show this week, though, is decidedly more somber. This Sunday on “Freethought Matters,” we feature humanist campaigner Rafida Bonya Ahmed, the widow of Avijit Roy, a well-known Bangladeshi-American atheist activist and writer killed in a horrifying attack by radical Islamists in 2015. She was critically wounded in the attack but survived. You can watch Dan and Annie Laurie interview her 11 p.m. Sunday on Channel 3 in the Madison area or on our YouTube Channel Monday afternoon onward. Our interview from last week with award-winning composer Brent Michael Davids is available there.

On Easter, April Fools’ or any other day — all that we do in the service of freethought and secularism is due to your backing and generosity.

Next week is our 40th anniversary week. Keep your eyes open for a specially themed weekly roundup, and for the 40th anniversary section in your April Freethought Today!

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