Trump, Gov. Abbott, Julia Sweeney & Katha Pollitt

Trump, Gov. Abbott, Julia Sweeney & Katha Pollitt May 28, 2020
Amit Pal
Director of Communications
Freedom From Religion Foundation
We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation got a lot done, even with a truncated workweek.

We responded as soon as we got back to work to a highly troublesome call President Trump made on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend for churches to reopen (he even threatened to override governors!).

“The president is wrong,” we concluded. “What this nation needs is less prayer and more attention paid instead to science and medical experts.”

Different modes of thinking
In a recent column in the Fresno Bee, Professor Andrew Fiala, director of the Ethics Center at Fresno State University, pointed out the appalling divide in the religious and nonreligious ways of thinking. On our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature this week, FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel and FFRF Legal Fellow Dante Harootunian chatted via Skype with Fiala about the piece, which mentioned FFRF and our call for a “Day of Reason,” and the issue more broadly.

Where is the benevolent God right now?
Surely, the pandemic further confirms the absence of a benevolent God and the futility of prayer, as veteran freethinker and writer (and FFRF member) James Haught convincingly asserts in his latest blog. “Reason — logical thinking by intelligent minds — proves that the compassionate, all-powerful god of religion cannot exist, especially with the current planetary scourge,” he writes.

We’re battling awful judicial nominees
We’re spending a good portion of our energy battling problematic Trump administration judicial nominees, and Andrew had an op-ed in Kentucky’s capital newspaper dissecting a particularly awful one.

“Justin Walker is not a judge seeking truth or to uphold the law, but an ideologue bent on using the courts as a tool to serve an ultraconservative agenda,” Andrew wrote in the Frankfort State Journal. “The Senate should see through his game and reject him for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.”

Another unqualified judge, Cory Wilson, has been nominated to a lifetime seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and we’ve asked for your help in thwarting him. Wilson previously served in the Mississippi Statehouse, where his Christian Nationalist views and push to weaponize religious freedom brought him to the Trump administration’s attention. Please make your voice heard, if you haven’t done so already.

Abbott’s and DeSantis’ theocratic anti-abortion agenda
We also pushed back against state-level politicians who have tried to use the pandemic to further their theocratically driven anti-abortion agenda.

“While abortion access has largely been restored, the message remains: Politicians like Govs. Abbott and DeSantis don’t care about science, women’s lives or public opinion,” writes Barbara Alvarez, our first Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern. “Their loyalty is to religion — even if it kills you.”

Watch an interview with SNL alum Julia Sweeney
We have a special treat for you on our last “Freethought Matters” TV show for the season: actress, comedian and playwright Julia Sweeney, who is currently co-starring on “Shrill” and “Work in Progress.” Co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor speak remotely on the program with the cheery comedian from her Los Angeles home, show clips from her current TV shows and talk to her about her life during the pandemic. There’s a teaser, too: Sweeney announces a juicy new role on a hit series with freethinking themes to begin this fall. You can catch the show anytime on our YouTube channel. Or if you’d prefer to watch it on television, here are the listings for Sunday.

Katha Pollitt evaluates the new Phyllis Schafly show
And on our radio show, we have another delight: The Nation columnist (and writer extraordinaire) Katha Pollitt talks about the FX series “Mrs. America” (yes, the one with Cate Blanchett playing Phyllis Schlafly) and its depiction of the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment.

From Trump/Abbott to metaphysical questions to Julia Sweeney and Katha Pollitt, we are able to handle such a wide array — and that, too, within a shortened week — only due to your unstinting backing.

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