From superheroes to Noah’s Ark to Solstice displays — it was all part of a typical workweek at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
We actually obtained a satisfying victory over old Noah’s ginormous boat. Officials in an Illinois town cancelled a proposed city-organized trip to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Kentucky one day after we warned them that it was unconstitutional. There are more constitutionally apt destinations for out-of-town fun than Ken Ham’s taxpayer-subsidized religious folly, we convinced them.
FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne, our lawyer who contacted the city, pithily talks about our win and its broader implications, including for public schools, on our “Newsbite” segment.
Trump and Sharia
Ryan chatted about his victory on our radio show this week, but we had a lot more to offer, too. The major guest was Kristin Lems, a Chicago-based singer-songwriter who performed her new song about President Trump. FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor gave a first-hand report on an “International Conference on Sharia, Segregation & Secularism” in London that she presented at.
Annie Laurie and Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell discussed the London conference on our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, which had a truly international flavor to it this week. FFRF Co-President Dan Barker joined us via Skype from one of Honduras’ most prominent universities, where he gave the keynote in Spanish about “The Importance of Critical Thinking.” Viva libre pensamiento!
Another victory of ours got media attention recently. This time, we had religious exhibits relocated from public property in Dover, Ohio.“The city has moved its downtown nativity scene and a granite monument bearing the Ten Commandments in the wake of a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wis.,” a local paper reported. “Both items were moved from city property on the downtown square to property owned by Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church on the west side of Wooster Avenue.”
Glad to be of constitutional service.
Our Spidey sense was tingling
And then there were the superheroes. A Christian evangelical group has co-opted Captain America and Spider-Man and several other comic book heroes (we kid you not!) to spread its proselytizing message to schoolkids. Our spider sense tingled, and we warned a Georgia school district not to get tangled in this web of deceit. We’re confident that our mission to rescue the schools and the superheroes from the clutches of religion will succeed.
Lots of secular displays
We try to make our secular presence felt every solstice season — with your help. This week, we proudly put up freethinking displays all over the greater Midwest. In the Chicago area, we actually installed three exhibits, including the Richard Dawkins-inspired “A” (for atheism) in the heart of the city. We’re aiming to be a regular fixture in Cleveland’s downtown public square, especially since the local Knights of Columbus insists on installing a big creche there every winter. (As Annie Laurie said, ““If there’s going to be a forum for religion on government property, there must be room at the inn for the views of nonbelievers, too.”) We made a splash at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, not too far from us, where the county executive was open-minded enough to attend the installation ceremony of our sign. And, of course, we returned to our home state Capitol next door, for a remarkable 23rd year running. We also placed the Dawkins “A” in the Rose Zerwick patio at Freethought Hall to EnLIGHTen our downtown Madison neighborhood.
This is what we’re up against, folks (and why we feel compelled to put up secular displays). An Ohio county courthouse each year displays a large nativity scene, made of lights and green garland on its facade. “Cut it out!” we’re admonishing county officials.
On our national “Freethought Matters” TV show this week, Liz and FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel interview “Friendly Atheist” Hemant Mehta, the author of an acclaimed blog and several books who has already made a name for himself in freethought circles. The show will be broadcast in eight cities (check listings here) and is available on our YouTube channel, too. In the Madison area, local folks can tune in Sunday at 11 p.m. on Channel 3 to watch Annie Laurie and Dan’s riveting interview with Cecile Richards, feminist legend and ex-Planned Parenthood head (and author of a recent memoir, to boot).
As a special treat for you, we have videos up now for several of the speakers from our recent star-studded convention in San Francisco. You can watch everyone speak here from Saudi dissident Ensaf Haidar to John de Lancie (of “Star Trek” “Q” fame).These are the real superheroes of our time. We’re delighted to bring them to you (and do so much more) with your backing and generosity.