Art contests, authors, pioneering freethinkers and constitutional victories

Art contests, authors, pioneering freethinkers and constitutional victories February 21, 2020

It was a week of a number of highs and a few lows for us here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

We proudly announced the creative young winners of our student art contest protesting a Kentucky law that requires the posting of “In God We Trust” in every public school. “The Bluegrass State’s young talents have through their creativity exposed the problem with the law,” observed FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

Exposing Christian Nationalism
We appreciatively welcomed to our list of speakers at our upcoming annual convention Katherine Stewart, a journalist and author of a number of books exposing Christian Nationalists. She will be interviewing literary icon Margaret Atwood the opening night of Friday, Nov. 13, and will talk the following day about her book coming out next month, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. “Katherine has been a good friend to FFRF, and we’re delighted she’ll be spending time with us in San Antonio,” said Annie Laurie.

Freethought in Africa
We happily interviewed a pioneering African freethinker for our “Freethought Matters” TV show this Sunday. “We are hoping to be the beacon of nonreligion, the face of nonreligion, and we want to show that there is a friendly, moral, ethical face of nonreligion in Africa,” Roslyn Mould, former president of the Humanist Association of Ghana and coordinator of the West African Humanist Network, told Annie Laurie and FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. Find out where you can see the show on Sunday. Or you can catch it or previous shows on our YouTube channel.

How do you build a new society?
Dan and Annie Laurie also interviewed a fascinating guest on our radio show this week about his profound new book. Swedish-born Yale professor Martin Hägglund discussed This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, which contends that in order to build a new social system, we have to reject the concept of eternity. (The book will soon be available at the FFRF store.)

Musically freethinking
Our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week contained a number of highlights and musical high notes. Dan and Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne focused on highpoints from recent “Freethought Matters” and previewed the next two weeks of the show, in which Dan is showcasing music by the many freethinking composers from the Great American Songbook. Watch and listen!

Our constitutional victories
On this week’s “Newsbite” video, our legal eagles talked about two major victories that halted governmental prayer. FFRF Staff Attorney Maddy Ziegler and Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson told me how they got a Vegas-area school board and a West Virginia city council, respectively, to stop religious invocations at official meetings. Huzzah!

Andrew Seidel book talks in Nashville and LA
If you want to have FFRF attorneys be part of your week’s highlights, we have some news for you. FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel will be talking about his new book, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American, in Nashville on Sunday and then will be in the LA area next week (including an appearance at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism). Check out his schedule, and be there if you can!

A low cross ruling
Alas, there were a couple of lows this week, too. The lowest was an appeals court ruling regarding a massive Florida public park cross that reversed our previous victory at the same court in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court judgment in the Bladensburg cross case. “Bayview Park is not a Christian park, Pensacola is not a Christian city and the United States is not a Christian nation,” Annie Laurie reacted to this wrongheaded decision.

West Virginia Statehouse foists prayers on students
We protested this week another recent low point: The West Virginia House of Delegates had a very Christian prayer delivered while students from the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind waited to perform songs.

“The Supreme Court has been particularly vigilant in protecting public school students’ right to a secular government,” FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne wrote to Speaker Roger Hanshaw. “A public school taking sides on religion is unconstitutional. A state-level legislative body hosting public school students and coercing them into joining in a sectarian Christian religious ritual is much worse.”

Failing on evolution
And we asked a New York school district to remedy a science low: a biology teacher spewing religious anti-science propaganda to his students. “The public school biology teacher deserves an ‘F,’” Annie Laurie remarked.

Whatever the highs and lows of this week, we touched them all only thanks to your backing.


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