Correcting politicians, surfing in the Times, displaying secularism & rewarding students

Correcting politicians, surfing in the Times, displaying secularism & rewarding students December 6, 2019

Theocratic rebuttals, secular displays, a full-page New York Times ad, an essay contest, and member mobilization — a regular week for us here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

When a West Virginia delegate (as state reps are called there) objected to our intervention in a school district, we corrected his specious claims about the Constitution. FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson wrote to Gary Howell: “A secular government is the only way to truly protect religious liberty for every citizen. When the government can coerce, demand or even recommend or initiate that an American pray in a certain way or on a certain day, the religious freedom we all hold most dear is violated.”

You bet.

Brendan explains in our “Newsbite” segment why he felt compelled to take up cudgels on behalf of the Constitution against an elected official.

Making waves in the NY Times
We made a big splash this week with our ad in the New York Times warning of a theocratic flood. Its central image, drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Benson, has a stark depiction of the Statue of Liberty holding a cross while large waves labeled “Theocracy” surround her and overwhelm buildings. “Help stem the theocratic tidal wave,” we urge. Check it out.

Legal eagles, write your essays
We also proudly announced our second annual essay contest for law students, with $10,000 in prize money. Law school students from all over the country are invited to submit a 1,500-word essay on “Are ‘No Aid’ Clauses Constitutional?” The deadline is midnight of March 15, 2020. Help spread the word!

Displays galore
We unveiled a number of displays this week, including one almost literally next door. An FFRF crew made a short trek to the Wisconsin Capitol to make our presence felt there yet again for almost a quarter century running now. Our exhibit in another state Capitol, in the Land of Lincoln, got coverage. “For the 11th straight year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has put up the following sign in the Illinois State Capitol rotunda,” writes Hemant Mehta on his Friendly Atheist blog. (View here the lovely image Hemant has of our freethinking placard.) We returned to San Diego with our Winter Solstice display. And we had fun unrolling a tongue-in-cheek banner in a small town in Michigan.


Two leading scholars on television and radio
Our cameras and mics were focused this week on two of the leading scholars of the secular movement: Isaac Kramnick and Larry Moore. They have peerlessly documented the roots of America’s secular Constitution as co-authors of the classic The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness and the follow-up last year, Godless Citizens In A Godly Republic: Atheists In American Public Life. Check out our listings for where you can see FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor interview them this Sunday. Or you can watch the show anytime on our YouTube channel.

On Freethought Radio this week, Annie Laurie and FFRF Co-President Dan Barker play Larry Moore’s wise speech at our recent national convention about the groundbreaking work he’s done on the atheist movement. They also talk about our New York Times ad and our exhibits around the country, and then FFRF Attorney Chris Line joins the hosts to talk about breaking news — an attack on FFRF by the Missouri AG.

Mobilizing your voice
One of our key purposes is to inform and mobilize you. There were a number of occasions this week. Nine separate federal agencies announced a coordinated flurry of regulations that will loosen the restrictions on faith-based organizations receiving federal funds. “This allows religious organizations to discriminate while receiving public money,” we pointed out. And we urged you all to make your voice heard against an unqualified and ideologically extreme Trump federal bench nominee.


Defending our Constitution
Another of our main missions is to keep our public education system secular, and we were active in this sphere. We warned an Arkansas school district that is beset with constitutional violations to stick to the Constitution. And we asked prayerful Ohio public school football coaches to cut it out.


We were able to do such an amazing amount of work — on so many different fronts — only due to your full backing and support.

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