Two governors v. Cecile Richards, Steve Pinker and Ron Reagan

Two governors v. Cecile Richards, Steve Pinker and Ron Reagan January 25, 2019

This week at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, we had big antagonists but even bigger allies.

We took on not just one but two governors over their unconstitutional kickoffs.

In the state Capitol next door in our home city of Madison, Wis., Gov. Tony Evers’ Inaugural included such an overdose of religious (almost completely Christian) content that our local FFRF members in attendance felt immediately excluded. Obviously, we pointed out: “A gubernatorial inauguration should not be constructed like a worship service.”

And if you thought Evers’ to-do was a bit much, wait till you hear about the exorcism performed at the South Dakota Capitol. A family friend of Gov. Kristi Noem, during an over-the-top prayer, beseeched that “any demon that may try to come in this place is kicked out.”

No word yet on how effectively this prayer worked.

Feminist icon Cecile Richards reminisces and predicts
With our face-off against two governors, we needed some help. Who better than feminist icon and former Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards? We present to you on our national “Freethought Matters” TV show FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor’s interview with Cecile, in which she fondly remembers her famous mother, Texas Gov. Ann Richards, and discusses the future of reproductive rights. You can watch it Sunday morning in eight major cities around the country (check out the listings here) or catch it on our YouTube channel.

Ron Reagan comes through for us — again
An old friend with links to high places (the highest office in the land, actually) has come through for us again. FFRF’s promo with Ron Reagan (the son of the former prez) endorsing us is running the next few weeks on both “The Rachel Maddow Show” and the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Take a look at the ad, if you haven’t seen it already. Thanks for the umpteenth time, Ron!

Steve Pinker is going national!
The Ron Reagan ad is being aired by CBS affiliates in 18 major cities all over the country, but the national CBS network has refused to run it. However, we’ve just received word that CBS is going be more generous with our just-debuted Steve Pinker promo, saying that it will show the ad nationally in March. Your contributions to our advertising fund can help our outreach efforts, which, as invaluable as they are, can cost a pretty bundle.

Major triumphs
Our spirits have been further bolstered by a couple of recent victories. We majorly triumphed late last week when the Chino Valley School Board in California decided not to further challenge our appeals court victory to the U.S. Supreme Court. On this week’s “Ask An Atheist” Facebook Live video, Dan talks with FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel and Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell about our five-year legal battle — and the significance of our win.

Andrew encapsulates the issue for our “Newsbite” segment and also appears on our radio show this week to discuss the final victory. The larger portion of show is taken up, however, by a discussion with yours truly about the alarming rise of Hindu nationalism in the world’s largest secular democracy — and its disturbing parallels with the growth of Christian fundamentalism in the world’s second-largest secular democracy.

We also had a victory closer to home. A possible relocation of a Wisconsin charter school to a church was prevented after we contacted the school district.

“It would have been an unwarranted imposition for families, particularly those from non-Christian backgrounds, to have to send their children on a daily basis into a church for their secular education,” states Annie Laurie. “We’re more than happy that we were able to guide a school district into making the correct decision.”

Observing a landmark for women’s rights
Due to the fact that the greatest source of organized opposition to reproductive rights is the Religious Right, this issue has been one of our strongest subjects of concern over the years. So, it’s not surprising that we marked the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade this week. “As we head into 2019, the Freedom From Religion Foundation remains as committed as ever to upholding a woman’s right to comprehensive reproductive health care, free from the imposition of others’ religious convictions,” states Bailey Nachreiner-Mackesey, our editorial assistant.

We continue our endeavors on this front — as we do on all others — secure in the knowledge that our biggest ally is you, our member.


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