Celebrations, condemnations and a lot in between

Celebrations, condemnations and a lot in between April 30, 2021

Celebrating, condemning and so much in between — we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation ran through the gamut of emotions this week.

We celebrated the confirmation of Vanita Gupta (the departing head of a group we’ve been closely working with) as the associate attorney general of the United States. “The confirmation of Vanita Gupta is a positive sign for Americans who are fighting for equality and to uphold the First Amendment,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarked.

Let’s have a National Day of Reason
We welcomed a National Day of Reason resolution that several members of Congress, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, have introduced to counter the National Day of Prayer. Please urge your congressional representative to co-sponsor the resolution designating May 7 as the National Day of Reason.

An FFRF member op-ed in the Orlando newspaper
We celebrated an op-ed from one of you in the Orlando, Fla., paper that amplified an Action Alert we recently sent to Floridians about proposed harmful changes in the state curriculum.

“Rewriting history and indoctrinating children into these false, Christian nationalist narratives undermines a fundamental American principle that actually should be in these standards: the separation between state and church,” writes Jocelyn Williamson, FFRF Lifetime member, State Representative and director of the Central Florida Freethought Community. “Because without freedom from religion, there can be no freedom of religion.”

Way to go, Jocelyn!

Which are your favorite short stories?
Veteran writer and freethinker Jim Haught engaged in a lovely celebration of writing this week by picking his all-time favorite short stories. Look at his list and see if you share any favorites.

A welcome probe into the Catholic Church
We applauded the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s announcement of a statewide probe into the Roman Catholic clergy’s serial sexual abuse and cover-up. This probe is long overdue, as FFRF emphasized earlier this year. Better late than never!

A dangerous loose cannon priest
The Catholic Church has been preoccupying us. A Wisconsin TV station reports, “The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is calling on the Diocese of La Crosse to ‘rein in’ the Rev. James Altman, whose statements on COVID-19 vaccines are causing controversy.” What a guy!

First Amendment warriors on our TV show
Our TV show this Sunday is cause for celebration — or, at least, approbation. We interview two champions of the First Amendment, Debra and Dan Weisman, who won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in 1992 ensuring that public school graduations stay free of prayer and religion. Debbie was in her early teens then. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where you can catch it Sunday.

An ex-Jehovah who’s now a happy freethinker
We also have an inspirational story on our radio show. Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interview Jennifer Taylor, the new president of the Rationalists of East Tennessee, about how she escaped the Jehovah’s Witnesses to become a happy freethinker. Listen in.

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot for us to condemn, too.

How Hindu nationalism has contributed to India’s Covid calamity
On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live show, Dan and I eviscerated the Hindu nationalist ideology of the ruling Indian government that has greatly contributed to the covid calamity currently afflicting India. Watch to learn how religious obscurantism as a governing mantra can be a death sentence for so many.

Get rid of Santorum, CNN!
FFRF’s Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel wrote an open letter to CNN castigating its decision to have former Sen. Rick Santorum as a Pooh-bah on the network. “I write this open letter in hopes that it will connect the dots for your network between his Christian Nationalist claims about America’s founding and his more overt and alarming racism,” Andrew stated.

We educated a senatorial candidate
We certainly hope there won’t be any future senators with Santorum’s mindset. That’s why we corrected Kelly Tshibaka, a senatorial candidate in Alaska, on the First Amendment. “Separation of state and church is a founding American principle that benefits every citizen and treats us all equally,” Dan and Annie Laurie wrote in a letter to her.

A pernicious anti-abortion trend
We’ve been denouncing abortion restrictions in states such as Idaho and Montana. It’s such a pernicious trend that FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez’s most recent blog issues a dire warning to secularists.

“As these anti-abortion bills will no doubt continue to trend, our secular attention is crucial,” she writes. “Women’s health care is on the line — and secular voices are more necessary than ever.”

We’ve certainly mobilized you to help combat such malevolent mischief and other assaults on the First Amendment. We wouldn’t be able to react in any mode without you — celebratory, condemnatory or otherwise.


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