It was a week of big deeds and announcements for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
We filed our first case EVER in Puerto Rico. On Thursday, Feb. 27, we sued Puerto Rico’s Education Secretary and a principal on behalf of a family subjected to forced prayers and bullying in a public primary school. “We look forward to ending these egregious practices and upholding the right of this American family to a public education free from religious indoctrination and divisiveness,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
FFRF Attorney Sam Grover, our lead counsel on the case, explains in our “Newsbite” segment why we felt compelled to take legal action — and what is at stake.
John Irving will be at our convention!
We proudly divulged that Oscar-winner and famed author John Irving will be speaking at our November convention in San Antonio. Irving, the author of The World According to Garp and Cider House Rules (winning an Oscar for the film adaptation), will receive FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award. Sign up now for the convention to see him and other luminaries who’ll be there, such as Gloria Steinem and Margaret Atwood.
Spread the word about our student essay contests
We happily unveiled our four essay contests for 2020: for college-bound high school seniors, for freethinking college students, for college students of color and for graduate /“older” students. FFRF is distributing over $60,000 in prizes. Check out the topics, and help spread the word!
Our JFK ad ran during Democratic debate
We ran our ad featuring John F. Kennedy (yes, that John F. Kennedy) during this week’s Democratic debate: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. … where no ecclesiastical body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly on the general populace.” His message is more timely now than ever. Several viewers tweeted that our ad “won the debate.” Welcome to new members who joined due to the ad, and thanks to donors to FFRF’s ad fund for making this possible.
A touchdown for the Constitution
We scored a couple of good victories for the Constitution. A Missouri school district disregarded the state attorney general’s bad advice and instead followed our wise counsel in discontinuing football team prayers. And a New York school district listened to us and reined in a loose cannon science teacher who was promoting creationist ideas. “Students cannot have freedom of religion without a school system that is free from religion,” Annie Laurie remarked.
A good portion of our week was busy taking on the high and mighty. We confronted another AG spreading misinformation: U.S. Attorney General William Barr yet again blamed the lack of religiosity in America for all of the country’s problems — and we yet again debunked him. We derided Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for political grandstanding in scheduling a vote on two punishing bills intended to pander to anti-choice religious extremists. We expressed dismay about the U.S. Supreme Court deciding to hear a case involving a Catholic charity’s discrimination against same-sex parents, since it could upend decades of precedent. And we corrected an Oklahoma state representative’s fallacious claims.
A musical treat!
Our “Freethought Matters” TV show this week is a musical treat. In segment one of our two-part spotlight on freethought in the Great American Songbook this Sunday, FFRF Co-President Dan Barker plays selections from freethinking composers such as Stephen Foster, Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin and George & Ira Gershwin. Barker, an accomplished jazz pianist, recorded the show on the Diane Uhl Steinway grand piano at FFRF’s headquarters in Freethought Hall in Madison, Wis. Enjoy!
An offbeat radio show
Our radio show this week went in an offbeat direction. After I talked about President Trump’s recent visit to India to bond with a like-minded religious nationalist leader, Dan and Annie Laurie interviewed FFRF member Erin Louis about her freethought “behind the scenes” book Expose Yourself: How to Take Risks, Question Everything and Find Yourself — Humor and Insights From My Life As A Stripper.
See Sam Grover in Vegas!
Our attorneys are often on the road spreading the freethought gospel. FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel skyped in from LA for our Facebook Live “Ask An Atheist” feature to discuss his book tour for his recent book The Founding Myth.
Sam Grover will be speaking on the First Amendment tomorrow evening, Saturday, Feb. 29, at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Vegas. Be there (admission is $10)! It’s a gamble that’ll certainly pay off.
Whether it is Sam in Vegas or our case in Puerto Rico, our appearances, achievements and announcements are all made possible only due to you and your patronage.