We’re well prepared (and in a good mood)

We’re well prepared (and in a good mood) June 15, 2018

Amit Pal
Director of Communications
Freedom From Religion Foundation

We at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have been faced with a barrage recently, but we’ve been well prepared to fight back.

Lots of bigoted bills
The week started off with us teaming up with other secular groups to combat a slew of theocratic bills in statehouses that allow religious discrimination in adoption and foster care. “The ability to love and care for a child is not limited to people who hold one particular faith or people who hold religious faith in general,” we wrote.

Don’t use the bible to justify cruelty
And it ended with us condemning the Trump administration’s use of the bible to excuse the separation of families at the border. Attorney General Jeff Sessions actually cited a specific portion of the bible (Romans 13) as defense! “It should come as no surprise that they’re invoking the bible — that grab bag of primitive and contradictory morality — to justify the unjustifiable,” we wrote in a statement. And FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel had thoughts of his own in a sharp blog. “The bible cannot justify the actions of our secular government, but it’s unsurprising that it’s being invoked to defend this clearly indefensible and inhumane practice,” he commented.

Pence creates discord
Trump officials have been keeping us doubly busy. Andrew also castigated the discord Vice President Pence created when he spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention annual gathering this week.

“An attendee accused the VP of ‘hijacking our unified religious meeting,’” Andrew observed. “That encapsulates, perhaps unintentionally, one of the very reasons the Founders chose to keep state and church separate.”

Yet another doomed attempt
There’s so much the Religious Right’s allies in government have been sending our way! There is yet another attempt in Congress to get rid of the Johnson Amendment, which bans church politicking, and yet again we’re relying on you to stymie it.

A Christian outdoor boondoggle
We also teamed up with another leading secular organization, the Center for Inquiry, to ask the N.C. government not to hand out a quarter of a million dollars to a Christian outdoors-focused outfit (we’re not making this up!). Stay tuned.

No Christian P.R.!
At the local level, we reacted quickly after an Ohio school district handed out a Christian P.R. package as part of the graduation ceremony. The materials in the package have to be seen to be believed.

But we haven’t always been in battle-ready mode this week. We’ve been having a bit of fun on the side.

A billboard with a message
We enjoyed putting up yet another billboard in the Atlanta area as part of a year-long campaign underwritten by FFRF member Jack Egger. The billboard reads: “Supernatural belief — the enemy of humanity.” It’s been creating quite a stir in the bible belt.

A long-lost victory
We’ve been happily recalling the saga of a long-lost victory we came to know of only recently, in which a Texas school district took down (mostly) fabricated or distorted religious quotes years ago after FFRF complained, but failed to tell us. FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover tells the tale in our Newsbite segment.

A Pulitzer-winning delightful cartoonist
But most delightedly, we have a really entertaining television interview to offer you this week with Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Steve Benson (grandson of a head of the Mormon church). Steve’s cartoons are a hoot, and so is he. Watch him this Sunday at 11 p.m. on Channel 3 in the Madison, Wis., area and Monday afternoon everywhere else on our YouTube channel. Our interview from last week with award-winning Nation magazine columnist Katha Pollitt is available for viewing there.

A freethinking Latin American gathering
Our “Ask an Atheist” Facebook Live feature was also a pleasure. FFRF Co-President Dan Barker and yours truly were joined by Chilean doctor and freethought activist (talk about multitasking!) Marcos Telias from Santiago via Skype to chat about a recent Latin American freethought conference that FFRF co-sponsored and Dan opened. We talked about the Catholic Church, the pope (who’s from Argentina) and much else.

Staying positive!
Our radio show was upbeat, too (aside from an excerpt of Pence’s speech at the Baptist convention). We covered positive news from around the world and then spoke with Wellness advocate and multiple triathlon world champion Donald Ardell, a Lifetime Member.

See, we kept our spirits buoyant, in spite of all that was thrown at us. This was possible only due to your commitment.

P.S. Don’t miss Rafida Bonya Ahmed’s TED talk. She received FFRF’s debut Forward Award two years ago. Bonya, as she is known, survived an assault by machete-wielding assailants that took the life of her atheist-activist husband Avijit Roy. She was invited to give a TED talk in April at one of the largest venues in the United Kingdom. Bonya has continually spoken out for free thought and freethought.

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