Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

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Religion entrenched in Clemson football

FFRF files complaint with South Carolina university

In an April 10 letter of complaint to Clemson University, the Freedom From Religion Foundation details several serious constitutional concerns about how the public university's football program is entangled with religion. The school in Clemson, S.C., responded Feb. 25 to FFRF's open records request, on which the complaint to Erin Swan Lauderdale, senior associate general counsel, is based.

"Christian worship seems interwoven into Clemson’s football program," wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott. "We are concerned that this commingling of religion and athletics results, not from student initiative, but rather from the attitudes and unconstitutional behaviors of the coaching staff."

FFRF, a Madison, Wis.-based state-church watchdog, has about 20,000 members nationwide and 155 in South Carolina.

FFRF contends:
• In 2011, coach William "Dabo" Swinney personally invited James Trapp to become team chaplain for the Tigers.
That violates the Constitution and Clemson's own "misguided and legally dubious 'Guidelines For Athletic Team Chaplains,' ” Elliott noted. The guidelines say student groups select their choice for team chaplain and then request the coach's approval. No records were provided that show a student organization selected a chaplain.

• Trapp was regularly given access to the entire team in between drills for bible study.
FFRF says that by granting Trapp such access, Swinney shows "preference for religion over nonreligion, alienates those players who don’t believe as he does, and creates a culture of religious coercion within the university's football program.

• The chaplain has an office at the Jervey Athletic Center, displays bible quotes on a whiteboard and organized and led sessions on “being baptized” in the athletic building.

"Mr. Trapp, as a paid employee of a state university, may not proselytize or promote religion and may not use his university office to do so," Elliott wrote. He also serves as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative and as a football recruiting assistant. A website lists him as campus director of ministry/life coach, and he refers to himself as a minister.

"Mr. Trapp’s legal duties and obligations as a state employee prohibit him from using state resources (i.e., his office in the Jervey Athletic Center) and his official position as a recruiting assistant to proselytize. If Mr. Trapp is to evangelize the team, he must not do so as the recruiting assistant, nor can it be at coach Swinney’s insistence."

FFRF also contends, due to information it's received, that:
• Swinney confirmed that the entire team would attend an FCA breakfast Dec. 31, 2011, wherein three players would “testify.”

• Three privately funded buses (116-seat total capacity) were used to take the team and coaches to Valley Brook Baptist Church on Aug. 7, 2011, and on other occasions for worship on “Church Day.”

• Swinney schedules team devotionals. Records indicate that between March 2012 and April 2013, approximately 87 devotionals were organized by Trapp, approved by Swinney and led by coaching staff.

"[P]layers wishing to abstain should not be forced to subject themselves to the resentment, embarrassment or scrutiny that could result from taking such a stand," Elliott said, citing the 1992 Supreme Court case Lee v. Weisman.

FFRF wants the school to direct Swinney and Trapp to immediately stop team prayers, sermons, bible studies and “church days” for players and train staff about their First Amendment obligations and monitor compliance.

In 2012, FFRF sent a letter to Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C., alerting officials to similar violations in its football program. The university agreed that the program’s religious entanglement was coercive and had no legitimate place in the athletic program.

A January 2014 Sports Illustrated story said Swinney had recently signed an eight-year contract for $27.15 million.

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FFRF condemns Louisiana bible bill

2013condanalgStatement
By Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker
Co-Presidents
Freedom From Religion Foundation

It's hard to believe that in 2014 a bill to declare “the Holy Bible the official state book of Louisiana” would gain traction in the Louisiana legislature. Yesterday, a House committee voted 8-5 to approve House Bill 503, which does precisely that, and now heads to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shrevepoint, originally declared a specific 16th century copy of the bible in the Louisiana State Museum system as the “official state book.” Then Carmody changed the language to make the “generic” King James Version the “official state book.”

It’s an understatement to point out there are a lot of problems with this bill. First, the King James Version ain’t “generic” — it’s Protestant. There were riots in the streets, arsons of churches, deaths in Philadelphia in 1843, over precisely this kind of show of government preference for the King James Version over the Catholic version in public schools.

Ironically, aware that the bill endorses Protestantism over Catholicism, Rep. Stephen Oretego, D-Carencro, argued: “Let’s make this more inclusive of other Christian faiths, more than just the ones that use the King James Version.” This, of course, misses the point: Government preference of all “Christian faiths” is equally inappropriate and unconstitutional, being intrinsically exclusionary of all non-Christians and all non-believers. Same problem when Rep. Ebony Woodruff, D-New Harvey, suggested amending the bill to declare “all books of faith” the official state books of Louisiana! (Imagine the consternation had the legislators actually voted to make the Koran an “official state book.”)

It’s hard to credit this degree of zealotry, insensitivity and ignorance among state legislators in a nation where surveys and polls show that as many as 30% of the U.S. population now identifies as nonreligious. The “Christian Nation” Big Lie, repeated over and over, apparently has done its damage. Legislators who took an oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution in all its glorious godlessness apparently have never bothered to examine it.

The taboo against criticizing the bible has also taken a toll. Ruth Hurmence Green, author of "The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible” LINK https://ffrf.org/shop/the-born-again-skeptic-s-guide-to-the-bible (the first book FFRF published and still a bestseller), put it this way: “There is no other book between whose cover life is so cheap.” The bible is a handbook for superstition, despotism, bigotry, oppression of women, homophobia, child abuse and the substitution of blind obedience and faith for reason.

Here’s a thought — how about making Richard Dawkins’ blockbuster, “The God Delusion,” Louisiana’s official state book? These legislators are clearly under the delusion they live in a theocracy.

TAKE ACTION
Contact your legislator today! To find out who your legislator is, type in your zip code here.

Please contact your legislator via phone or email here.

You can also voice your opinion by utilizing social media and commenting on online news sites.

Submit a letter to the editor to the Times-Picayune in Baton Rouge here.

You can also submit a letter-to-the-editor at the Advocate here.

TALKING POINTS

Use your own words if possible, or cut and paste wording below. (Read Andrew Seidel’s letters for more background.)

As a Louisiana citizen, I am outraged that any legislator would even contemplate adopting a state law endorsing the bible, much less declaring one version of it the “official state book of Louisiana.” We live in a secular republic, not a Christian nation or state. This outrageous bill is unconstitutional. It is not the business of the State of Louisiana to dictate what religion citizens must conform to, much less to endorse one particular so-called “holy book” over another. Kill HB 503, get off your knees and get to work!

Read more:

Bill to make Bible Louisiana's official state book passes House Committee

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FFRF condemns Louisiana bible bill

2013condanalgStatement 
By Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker
Co-Presidents
Freedom From Religion Foundation

It's hard to believe that in 2014 a bill to declare “the Holy Bible the official state book of Louisiana” would gain traction in the Louisiana legislature. Yesterday, a House committee voted 8-5 to approve House Bill 503, which does precisely that, and now heads to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shrevepoint, originally declared a specific 16th century copy of the bible in the Louisiana State Museum system as the “official state book.” Then Carmody changed the language to make the “generic” King James Version the “official state book.”

It’s an understatement to point out there are a lot of problems with this bill. First, the King James Version ain’t “generic” — it’s Protestant. There were riots in the streets, arsons of churches, deaths in Philadelphia in 1843, over precisely this kind of show of government preference for the King James Version over the Catholic version in public schools.

Ironically, aware that the bill endorses Protestantism over Catholicism, Rep. Stephen Oretego, D-Carencro, argued: “Let’s make this more inclusive of other Christian faiths, more than just the ones that use the King James Version.” This, of course, misses the point: Government preference of all “Christian faiths” is equally inappropriate and unconstitutional, being intrinsically exclusionary of all non-Christians and all non-believers. Same problem when Rep. Ebony Woodruff, D-New Harvey, suggested amending the bill to declare “all books of faith” the official state books of Louisiana! (Imagine the consternation had the legislators actually voted to make the Koran an “official state book.”)

It’s hard to credit this degree of zealotry, insensitivity and ignorance among state legislators in a nation where surveys and polls show that as many as 30% of the U.S. population now identifies as nonreligious. The “Christian Nation” Big Lie, repeated over and over, apparently has done its damage. Legislators who took an oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution in all its glorious godlessness apparently have never bothered to examine it.

The taboo against criticizing the bible has also taken a toll. Ruth Hurmence Green, author of "The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible” (the first book FFRF published and still a bestseller), put it this way: “There is no other book between whose cover life is so cheap.” The bible is a handbook for superstition, despotism, bigotry, oppression of women, homophobia, child abuse and the substitution of blind obedience and faith for reason.

Here’s a thought — how about making Richard Dawkins’ blockbuster, “The God Delusion,” Louisiana’s official state book? These legislators are clearly under the delusion they live in a theocracy.

ayaanBrandeis University in Massachusetts has taken the deplorable action of rescinding an honorary degree offered to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a campaigner for women’s rights and fierce critic of Islam. Brandeis announced the award to Hirsi Ali, along with four others, on March 31. The Massachusetts university was immediately inundated with protests against her selection by Islamic groups, such as The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which compared Hirsi Ali to white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. In 1992, she escaped an impending arranged marriage to a relative, immigrating to the Netherlands, where she not only learned the language, earned a master’s degree but was elected to the Dutch Parliament in 2003, and wrote two books criticizing Islamic treatment of women, including “The Caged Virgin.” In 2004, her friend and collaborator Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered for a film Hirsi Ali wrote, “Submission,” about Islamic oppression of women. Hirsi Ali was forced to go into hiding. But she has refused to be silent in speaking about the dangers of faith. Hirsi Ali, the author of the bestselling books “Infidel” and “Nomad,” identifies as an atheist and has written in detail about the harm Islam causes including female genital mutilation, martyrdom and honor killings.

The Justice, Brandeis University’s student newspaper, raged against the decision to honor Hirsi Ali for her contribution to women’s rights by claiming:

“In her 2010 memoir Nomad: From Islam to America, Hirsi Ali states that Islam is ‘not compatible with the modern Westernised way of living,’ that ‘violence is an integral part [of Islam],’ and that ‘Muhammad’s example is terrible, don’t follow it.’ These comments ignore the fact that there are multiple views of Islam, insist that violence is inherent in Islam and that one culture is fundamentally better than another . . . By presenting Hirsi Ali with an honorary degree, the University applauds all aspects of her work.”

Brandeis University bowed to pressure and rescinded her honorary degree, releasing this statement: “We cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali won FFRF’s Emperor has no clothes award in 2010. Read her speech here.

CONTACT

Please contact Brandeis University to ask it to apologize for its shoddy treatment of a freethinking feminist, and to re-offer its honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

General email contact form here.

Office of the President
Fred Lawrence
MS 100
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453-2728
781-736-3001
781- 736-8699 fax

TALKING POINTS

Use your own words or feel free to paste the statement below or borrow from it:

“I am appalled at Brandeis University’s bad manners and worse logic in offering, then rescinding an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who stands for women’s rights in the face of religious oppression, and secularism in the face of the rise of Islamism (Muslim theocracy). Shame on Brandeis!”

READ MORE

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Statement - The Weekly Standard 

Brandeis University Decides Against Honoring Critic Who Called For Islam To Be 'Defeated'
Huffington Post

After Backlash from Muslim Groups, Brandeis University Will No Longer Be Giving an Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Friendly Atheist Blog

-Compiled by Lauryn Seering

FFRF Co-Presidents

DAN BARKER and ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR are co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and co-hosts of Freethought Radio. A former minister and evangelist, Dan became a freethinker in 1983. His books, Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children and Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher To Atheist (1992) are published by the Foundation. His newest book, The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God, was published by Ullysses Press in January, 2011. His previous book, the autobiographical Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists, was published in 2008. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Religion, Dan now puts his knowledge of Christianity to effective freethought use. A professional pianist and composer, Dan performs freethought concerts and is featured in the Foundation's musical cassettes, "My Thoughts Are Free," "Reason's Greetings," "Dan Barker Salutes Freethought Then And Now," a 2-CD album "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist," and the CD "Beware of Dogma." He joined the Foundation staff in 1987 and served as public relations director. He was first elected co-president in November 2004.

Annie Laurie was also editor of Freethought Today from 1984 to 2009, when she became executive editor. The paper is published 10 times a year. Her book, Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So, first published in 1981, is now in its 4th printing. In 1988, the Foundation published her book, Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, the first book documenting widespread sexual abuse by clergy. Her 1997 book, Women Without Superstition: 'No Gods, No Masters'is the first collection of the writings of historic and contemporary women freethinkers. A 1980 graduate of the UW-Madison Journalism School, she was an award-winning student reporter and recipient of the Ken Purdy scholarship. After graduation, she founded, edited and published the Feminist Connection,a monthly advocacy newspaper, from 1980-1985. She joined the Foundation staff in 1985. She has been co-president since 2004. She co-founded the original FFRF with Anne Gaylor (see below) as a college student. Photo: Timothy Hughes

See Dan's bio »
See Dan's online writings »

See Dan's Debates »
Contact Dan »

See Annie Laurie's bio »
See Annie Laurie's online writings »
Contact Annie Laurie »

FFRF President emerita

Anne Nicol Gaylor
Photo by Brent Nicastro.

ANNE NICOL GAYLOR is a founder and president emerita of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She served as executive director from 1978 to 2005, and is now working as a consultant to the Foundation. Born in rural Wisconsin, she is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She owned and managed successful small businesses and was co-owner and editor of an award-winning suburban weekly newspaper. A feminist author, she has done substantial volunteer work for women's rights (including serving as volunteer director of the Women's Medical Fund). Under her leadership the Freedom From Religion Foundation has grown from its initial three Wisconsin members to a national group with representation in every state and Canada.

Slideshow of Anne Gaylor & FFRF activism
See Anne Gaylor's online writings.

Director of Operations

LISA STRAND is director of operations of FFRF. She has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit (primarily association) management, including 15 years as executive director of the Wisconsin Library Association. She is married with a daughter, as well as two cats, a guinea pig and an untended garden that will someday be beautiful.

FFRF Legal

REBECCA S. MARKERT attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received her B.A. in political science, international relations and German in 1998. After graduating from UW–Madison, Rebecca spent one year working as a legislative fellow at the German Parliament in Bonn, Germany. In the fall 1999, she returned to the United States and began working as a legislative correspondent and assistant to the chief of staff for United States Senator Russ Feingold in Washington, D.C. In 2002, she returned to Madison, Wisconsin, to work on Senator Feingold’s 2004 re-election campaign. After the campaign, Rebecca attended Roger Williams University School of Law and received her Juris Doctor in 2008. She joined the Foundation staff in October 2008.

Rebecca is the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s first staff attorney and primarily works on Establishment Clause cases. She is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin.

PATRICK ELLIOTT, the Foundation's second staff attorney, hails from St. Paul, Minn. Patrick received a degree in legal studies and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. He attended the University of Wisconsin Law School and received his Juris Doctor in 2009. While in school, Patrick took an interest in the First Amendment and constitutional law. He joined FFRF as a staff attorney in July 2010, after working part-time for the Foundation since February. Patrick is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin.

ANDREW SEIDEL graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.S. in neuroscience and environmental science and magna cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where he was awarded the Haber J. McCarthy Award for excellence in environmental law. He studied human rights and international law at the University of Amsterdam and traveled the world on Semester at Sea. In May of 2011, Andrew completed his Master of Laws at Denver University Sturm College of Law with a 4.0 GPA and was awarded the Outstanding L.L.M. Award. He has written a book on International Human Rights Law and his essay on the role of religion in government and the founding of our nation placed second in the FFRF's 2010 graduate student essay contest. Andrew is a former Grand Canyon tour guide and accomplished nature photographer; his work has been displayed in galleries in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland. He joined the FFRF staff as a constitutional consultant in November 2011.

ELIZABETH CAVELL received her B.A in English from the University of Florida in 2005. After college, Elizabeth spent a year as a full-time volunteer in AmeriCorps*NCCC. She attended Tulane University Law School and received her Juris Doctor in 2009. After law school, she worked as a deputy public defender in southern Colorado. She joined the Foundation as a staff attorney in January 2013, after working for the Foundation part-time since September 2012.

SAM GROVER received his B.A. in philosophy and government from Wesleyan University in 2008. He first worked for FFRF in 2010 as a legal intern while attending Boston University School of Law. In 2011, his article on the religious exemptions in the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate was published in the American Journal of Law and Medicine. After receiving his J.D. from Boston University in 2012, Sam worked as a law clerk for the Vermont Office of Legislative Council where he drafted legislation on health care, human services, and tax issues. He returned to work as a constitutional consultant for FFRF in the fall of 2013. Sam has written a paper on counterterrorism and the law that was published by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City and has traveled to southern Africa to work under Justice Unity Dow of Botswana’s High Court.

FFRF Staff

JACKIE DOUGLAS is the office manager at the Foundation. She graduated in 2002 from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Human Development and Family Services. Jackie is happily married, owns a home on the east side of Madison, and has a black cat named Lucky.

SCOTT COLSON, technology manager, webmaster and production editor, is a 2007 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who majored in philosophy. Scott joined the Foundation staff in May 2008. He enjoys playing bass, talking politics or economics and brewing beer.

KATIE DANIEL is the bookkeeper/executive assistant/staff baker at FFRF. She was born in California and has lived in Pennsylvania, Alabama and Missouri. She moved to Madison in 2005 to attend UW-Madison and graduated in 2009 with a BA in Gender & Women's Studies and a Certificate in LGBT Studies. She joined the foundation staff as a student clerical employee in September 2008 and started as the full-time bookkeeper in 2009. Unlike many of the Foundation's staff members, Katie is religious and considers herself a practicing Wiivangelical.

BILL DUNN is the editor of Freethought Today. He has a degree in history and mass communications (journalism emphasis) from the University of South Dakota and has worked as a reporter, copy editor and editor in South Dakota and Wisconsin since 1980. Bill joined the Foundation staff in July 2009. He has two daughters, Kaitlin Marie and Jamie Lee.

LAURYN is the publicist & assistant editor at FFRF. She was born in Wausau, Wisconsin and has also lived in Nagasaki, Japan. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2012 with her B.S. in Professional Communications and Emerging Media, concentrating in Technical Communication and International Studies. She also received a double minor in Journalism and English. Lauryn moved to Madison in January 2013 and enjoys reading about astrophysics, basking in the sun like a turtle and creating art at coffee shops. Lauryn is a practicing Pastafarian

FFRF Volunteers

Phyllis Rose
Foundation officer and volunteer Phyllis Rose.
Photo by Dan Barker

PHYLLIS ROSE is a retired library administrator from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been volunteering 3 afternoons a week at the FFRF office since 2000. A Lifetime Member, Phyllis provides oversight, clerical and editorial support. Phyllis serves as an officer on the Foundation's governing body.

FFRF Honorary Board

honoraryboardmembers

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to announce the formation of a new FFRF Honorary Board of distinguished achievers who have made known their dissent from religion.

The FFRF Honorary Board includes Jerry Coyne, Robin Morgan, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Ernie Harburg, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Jacoby, Mike Newdow, Katha Pollitt, Steven Pinker, Ron Reagan, Oliver Sacks, M.D., Robert Sapolsky, Edward Sorel and Julia Sweeney.

“We are so pleased that these outstanding thinkers and freethinkers have agreed to publicly lend their endorsement to the Foundation, and its two purposes of promoting freethought and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause,” said Dan Barker, Foundation co-president.

  • Jerry Coyne, Ph.D., professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, is author of the popular book 'Why Evolution is True' and the blog of the same name.
  • Richard Dawkins, probably the world’s most famous contemporary atheist and a distinguished evolutionary biologist, is Oxford professor emeritus. In his blockbuster book, The God Delusion, Dawkins writes: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.”
  • Daniel C. Dennett is Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts, and author of the bestselling book about religion, Breaking the Spell. In a newspaper article about his nonbelief, Dennett once wrote: “I’ve come to realize it’s time to sound the alarm.”
  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of 36 Arguments For the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction and a research associate in Harvard’s psychology department, is FFRF Freethought Heroine of 2011. Goldstein is a 1996 MacArthur Fellow (the “genius” award). She has taught at Barnard and in the Columbia MFA writing program and the Rutgers philosophy department. She’s been a visiting scholar at Brandeis and at Trinity College in Hartford.
  • Ernie Harburg, a retired research scientist, is president of Yip Harburg Foundation and co-author of Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz? Ernie has dedicated his retirement to furthering the lyrics, music, memory and progressive views of his freethinking father, the lyricist Yip Harburg, author of classic songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and of Rhymes for the Irreverent, recently republished by FFRF.
  • Jennifer Michael Hecht, poet, historian and author of the acclaimed Doubt: A History and The End of the Soul, told the FFRF 2009 convention audience: “If there is no god — and there isn't — then we [humans] made up morality. And I'm very impressed.”
  • Susan Jacoby, bestselling author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, and program director of the Center for Inquiry-New York City, told FFRF convention-goers in 2004: "[President] Kennedy had to speak about his religion because he was suspected of insufficient dedication to the Constitution's separation of church and state. Today's candidates are suspect if they display too much dedication to secular government."
  • Robin Morgan, feminist pioneer, global activist, author of the groundbreaking "Sisterhood is Powerful" and more than 20 books, was formerly Ms. Magazine editor and consulting editor. She is the co-founder of the Feminist Women's Health Network and Women's Media Center and currently hosts "Women's Media Center Live" the radio "talk-show with a brain."
  • Mike Newdow is working pro bono to challenge such violations as the addition of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. He told the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments: “I am an atheist. I don't believe in God. And every school morning my child is asked to stand up, face that flag, put her hand over her heart, and say that her father is wrong.”
  • Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard, is author of The Blank Slate: “I never outgrew my conversion to atheist at 13.”
  • Katha Pollitt, “Subject to Debate” columnist for The Nation, author and poet, has spoken out regularly and energetically as a freethinker, in such columns as “Freedom From Religion, Sí!”
  • Ron Reagan, media commentator, describes himself in a radio ad he taped for FFRF as: “Unabashed atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”
  • Oliver Sacks, M.D., the compassionate neurologist and bestselling author, describes himself as “an old Jewish atheist.”
  • Robert Sapolsky, a neurologist, Stanford professor and bestselling author, once suggested FFRF put up a sign at its conventions: “Welcome, hellbound atheists.”
  • Edward Sorel, satiric cartoonist and irreverent illustrator who is a regular contributor to The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and whose caricatures have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, has been a Foundation member since the 1980s.
  • Julia Sweeney, comedian and actress, is writer/performer of the play, “Letting Go of God”: “How dare the religious use the term 'born again.' That truly describes freethinkers who've thrown off the shackles of religion so much better!”

In Memoriam 

  • Christopher Hitchens, the iconoclastic journalist, is author of the bestselling God Is Not Great: “Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.”

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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FFRF privacy statement

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FFRF is a member of Atheist Alliance International.