2021 has been coming at us fast and furious — but we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been able to respond to it effectively.
Two of the public officials involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection are folks we’ve tussled with in the past. We called on Sen. Josh Hawley to resign after he was shamefully captured by news photographers holding his fist up in a sign of support as mobs assembled. And we asked for an investigation of Eric Barber, who until recently was a member of the Parkersburg, W.Va., City Council, which we and local plaintiffs are suing over its practice of beginning its meetings with a prayer. “Now we know just how dangerous some of these Christian Nationalists are,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarks.
Barbara Alvarez, FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern, has written a sharply perceptive blog tracing the genesis of the riot, stating that the “warning signs of this type of violence have been around for years.”
“Abortion clinic providers and patients alike have experienced terrorism for decades,” she concludes. “Unless we embrace secularism as a hallmark for American democracy, these violent acts will only continue.”
An anti-women Supreme Court ruling
Barbara has written another hard-hitting column, on the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest blow against women’s rights: a ruling reinstating a Trump administration FDA restriction that women have to receive medication for an abortion in-person at a hospital or clinic. “This decision serves as a reminder that Christian Nationalism is not just rhetoric — it has a real impact on legislation and judicial rulings,” she writes.
Our Ron Reagan ad on ‘The Daily Show’
It isn’t all doom and gloom, however. We’ve started out this year with a weeks-long high-profile TV ad campaign on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and CBS’ “The Late Show.” “We thank Ron so much for helping to make FFRF a ‘household name’ and grow our membership, as well as to members who kindly donate to FFRF’s advertising fund, which makes possible the placement of these ads,” says Annie Laurie.
Hurrah for a new FGM ban law!
We also celebrated the signing into law of a measure that prohibits female genital mutilation on minors across the entire nation. We worked closely with the office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to advance its passage. Female genital mutilation has no medical benefit and causes lasting medical harm. A law banning this horrific, anti-woman practice is indeed a cause for celebration.
Why are there 50,000 religions?
A blogger of ours has fun dissecting the weirdness of religious belief. Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught estimates that there are 50,000 religions — and tries to figure out the ultimate meaning of this craziness.
“Something is wrong with Homo Sapiens,” he writes. “If our species were truly rational, it wouldn’t concoct 50,000 fairy tales and waste whole lifetimes on them.”
Revered philosopher A.C. Grayling on our Sunday TV show
We have an intellectual treat for you on our “Freethought Matters” TV show this Sunday. A.C. Grayling, a pre-eminent British philosopher and the author of about 30 books, grapples with philosophy and the pandemic, and discusses how he himself dealt as a nonbeliever with a personal tragedy. “I have a new book coming out next spring called The Frontiers of Knowledge, which actually addresses just the question you’ve been talking about: Why is it that people don’t really understand science? Why is it that there’s such a big gap between the scientific worldview and other worldviews?” he tells “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. You can already watch the show on our YouTube channel. Or find out where to catch it on Sunday.
A 10-year-old humanist author
Our radio show this week features an author at the other end of the age spectrum from Professor Grayling but who writes from a similar freethought perspective. Dan and Annie Laurie interview 10-yr-old Elle Harris, author of the charming new book, Elle The Humanist, after hearing Congressional Freethought Caucus Reps. Jamie Raskin and Jared Huffman give impassioned remarks at the impeachment hearings.
Whether it’s dealing with current events or delving into more timeless stuff, we do it all — and only due to your unfailing warmth and support.