Victories, media attention — and to a secular July Fourth

Victories, media attention — and to a secular July Fourth July 2, 2021

Victories and media coverage — the Freedom From Religion Foundation gathered a lot of both this week.

End the N.C. school voucher program
FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne had an op-ed in a leading North Carolina newspaper explaining why the Legislature should nix the state’s school voucher scheme instead of enhancing it. “It’s time for North Carolina to not only reject the expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, but to put an end to the misguided program once and for all,” his piece in the Fayetteville paper concluded.

FFRF attorney’s TV interview
Our complaint about a Texas school district’s funding of a Christian summer camp was all over the media of that area. “A public school district cannot be funding or helping subsidize a religious camp for students,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line told a TV station in an interview, which you can watch here.

A lengthy article about our intervention
Our admonishment to a Virginia school district regarding its praying soccer coaches got media attention, too.

“The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has cautioned the Tazewell County School System about allowing a Christian prayer to be said by coaching personnel before a soccer game recently,” said a story in the local newspaper. “The Wisconsin-based organization, which took Mercer County Schools to court over a Bible in the Schools Program, said it informed Tazewell County Public Schools that ‘it is illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead their teams in prayer, since the Supreme Court has continually struck down school-sponsored prayer in public schools.’”

A school superintendent thanks us
A Colorado school district superintendent thinks our work to be so invaluable that he graciously thanked us when we brought to his attention a church’s unencumbered access to a local school. “I’m grateful to know that organizations like FFRF exist, and can advocate on behalf of those who feel the separation of church and state is at risk,” Eagle County Schools Superintendent Philip Qualman emailed us.

You’re more than welcome, Mr. Qualman.

Our convincing tutorial
We persuasively tutored another Virginia school district about the unconstitutionality of praying soccer coaches. (What’s up with all the soccer prayerfulness in Virginia?!) “As a result of the investigation, all current coaches were reminded they shall not promote or endorse religion or lead their teams in prayer,” the superintendent responded.

A powerful case

We successfully pleaded before a Pennsylvania jury office to quit its gratuitous evangelizing. A concerned resident had informed us about receiving a jury summons that included a bible verse. The office’s response letter to us contained a copy of the current summons template — with no religious language at all.

What a bunch of preachers!
Our victories show how much we can get done, and we’re trying to add to that list by pressing a North Carolina district to bar a preacher from its schools. “The district cannot allow its schools to be used as recruiting grounds for churches,” FFRF Attorney Line has warned the school district superintendent.

Preachers are, of course, often on our radar, and FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor has written about one who is especially off the wall. Pastor Greg Locke of Joliet, Tenn., gave a sermon last Sunday that endorsed the crackpot QAnon theory. “Locke and the other extremists are still out there, finding other ways to hype their irresponsible and pernicious lies. And they’re still finding an audience that will give them standing ovations,” she states in her blog.

The Religious Right’s Trump worship

In an attempt to understand how the Religious Right forms its worldview, Annie Laurie and FFRF Co-President Dan Barker interviewed on this week’s radio show author Sarah Posner about her new book, Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump. Listen in for some incisive insights.

The Handmaid’s Tale scenario coming true?
Veteran freethinker and writer Jim Haught has a complicated take on the danger our secular nation faces from these folks. Using The Handmaid’s Tale as his focus, Haught shows how the Margaret Atwood classic’s scenario looks less imminent now — or not.

Timely blogs on abortion rights
FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez has written a pair of timely blogs this week. In “Don’t be afraid to say the ‘A word,’” she advises: “Perhaps most importantly, let’s destigmatize abortion by saying the word ‘abortion.’” And in “Free the abortion pill,” she makes a call on this Independence Day to allow millions of women to have independence over their own bodies.

We need court reform – now
We castigated a Supreme Court judgment, on the eve of the Independence Day weekend, that has gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We also renewed our call for court reform, more necessary now than ever.

Boycotting Hobby Lobby & celebrating a secular Independence Day
We at FFRF are committed to keeping intact our secular nation this July Fourth — and battling entities such as Hobby Lobby that threaten it. That’s why this weekend, we’re renewing our call to boycott that peddler of tacky knick-knacks, and we’re placing ads in the Madison, Wis, and Peoria, Ill., newspapers celebrating our godless Constitution.

Happy secular Fourth of July, everyone!

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