Kavanaugh has our attention — but not all of it

Kavanaugh has our attention — but not all of it October 5, 2018

It may seem hard to believe, but we haven’t let Brett Kavanaugh monopolize our attention.

Of course, we’ve been closely following the proceedings, and have been asking you all repeatedly (including this week) to urge your senators to vote against confirming him for a lifetime Supreme Court appointment. Please contact them even if you’ve done so before. It’s crunch time — and the vote is down to the wire.

FFRF Staff Attorneys Patrick Elliott and Ryan Jayne appeared on our radio show this week to discussed Kavanaugh (whose initial Senate testimony they heard in its entirety) and why he would be a constitutional disaster. We also played, “The Preacher and the Slave,” with FFRF Co-President Dan Barker singing this Joe Hill chestnut. We chatted about some recent FFRF victories, too.

Stopping the ‘Unstoppable Man’
One of these victories was stopping an “Unstoppable Man.” At least that’s what Craig Conrad, an “inspirational” speaker who recently delivered a homily to the staff at an Indiana public school, calls himself. We also ensured that the school principal would not start staff meetings with prayers.“Mr. Conrad will not be invited back in the future to provide any type of convocations for students, or in-service for staff,” the district superintendent wrote back to us. “In addition, I have shared your letter with Mr. Stoltz [the principal] and have requested that he discontinue praying prior to staff meetings.”Comply with the First Amendment!
We had our hands full trying to get officials to comply with the First Amendment.We called out a Kentucky public high school for allowing prayer to be broadcast over the PA system before a football game. We rebuked a Maryland school district for offering constitutionally indigestible material to its children during lunch. We scolded a Georgia district for an elaborate Christian prayer ritual (involving an outside pastor.) And we asked an Illinois public high school cross country coach who was praying with his team to cut it out. We received media attention for our interventions.

“A group advocating separation of church and state questions a western Kentucky school district over prayers during sporting events,” reported a local paper. “The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Ohio County School officials last week. It asked them to ‘stop scheduling prayers at events and allowing equipment to be used to project them in public.’”

And our complaint about the Illinois cross country coach played in Peoria.

“The separation of church and state, in regards to prayer, is at issue at Dunlap High School,” the Peoria paper reported. “Because of concerns voiced by a district parent, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking Dunlap to stop cross country coach Chris Friedman from participating in student-led prayers before meets.”

What happens when both football teams pray?
The cross country coach is bit of an anomaly for us, since one game takes up most of our attention in the sports arena, and no prizes for guessing which one. On our “Ask An Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week (since it’s football season), Dan, Patrick and FFRF Legal Fellow Chris Line talk about the phenomenon of prayer in football. Only in this country!

An ex-fundamentalist and a freethought heroine
We have some fascinating guests on our “Freethought Matters” TV show this week. Dan and FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor interview ex-fundamentalist Seth Andrews for our national show broadcast in several cities around the country. (Check out the list to see if it’s telecast in your area.) And Sunday at 11 p.m. on Channel 3 in our hometown of Madison, Wis., folks can see our interview with freethought heroine Marie Schaub (who yanked a 2-ton Ten Commandments monument from her daughter’s school).Show that you like us!
We know you all like us, and it’d be great if you showed it. A site that ranks nonprofits is collecting testimonials; the more of you who chime in, the higher ranked we’ll be.After all, it’s only due to you that we’re able to engage in all of our accomplishments.

 

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