At the Freedom From Religion Foundation this week, we were tackling the big ’uns.
We took on Congress
What bigger entity to take on than Congress? We continued our fight against House Chaplain Patrick Conroy and Speaker Paul Ryan for their refusal to allow FFRF Co-President Dan Barker to give a secular invocation. Our appeals brief argues: “House Chaplain Patrick Conroy intentionally denied Daniel Barker an opportunity to present an invocation to members of the House of Representatives because Barker is an atheist.” We cannot allow such discrimination against freethinkers to go unchallenged.
Watch FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover explain our lawsuit and why it is so important.
We wrestled Mike Pence to the ground
And if we can wrestle with Congress, then Mike Pence is just a lightweight for us. FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel took the veep down with a blistering excoriation of his recent claims about America’s supposedly increasing religiosity.
“Facts are facts, Mr. Vice President,” Andrew concluded. “And you should start getting used to the fact that your religion is declining. The nones are on the rise. Secularism is on the march.”
Challenging other Trump associates
We challenged several other associates of President Trump.
I analyzed the deeper undercurrents of U.S. Middle East policy revealed by the presence of two of Trump’s favorite pastors at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. “In the service of religious zealots, the United States is making itself a huge number of enemies all over the world,” I stated.
Another one of Trump’s fundamentalists buddies has now been given the official responsibility of protecting religious freedom globally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has appointed Tony Perkins, a notorious anti-LGBTQ and anti-atheist hatemonger, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The Trump administration seems intent on weaponizing “religious freedom” by redefining that once-hallowed personal protection into a tool to impose on others, we said.
The actual meaning of religious freedom includes the freedom to leave one’s religion. On our radio show this week, we talk to Ex-Muslims of North America co-founder Sarah Haider (a speaker at our November convention) on the complications this involves if the religion is Islam. We also chat with international lawyer, chess promoter, and private investment fund manager Richard A. Conn Jr. about his new book, “Earthbound Parent: How (and Why) to Raise Your Little Angels Without Religion,” of great interest to those of us with children or grandchildren.
In our famous Ron Reagan ad, the presidential son talks about why he’s not afraid of leaving religion and “burning in hell.” We’re running the ad again, on the “Rachel Maddow Show,” which is currently enjoying unprecedented success.
On our TV show, “Freethought Matters,” this week, we talk with internationally acclaimed pianist Jarred Dunn about his work and its freethought influences. You can watch it on Sunday 11 p.m., in the Madison, Wis., area or Monday afternoon onward on our YouTube channel. Our interview last week with historian Steven Nadler, the author of a fun new graphic novel on medieval freethinkers, is available there.
Narrower in focus
We didn’t forget to deal with less-sweeping matters. That’s why we obtained a win in the Chicago area by putting a stop to Gideon proselytizing at an elementary school. And we warned an Indiana school district about a teacher-led religious club.
You’re always on our minds
But, above all, we always had you in the forefront of our minds. That’s why for our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature, we did a special on our chapters around the country, their purposes, and the wonderful work they’re doing.
Without our members and chapters — without you, in other words — we wouldn’t amount to anything.