This week we celebrate the birthday of Charles Darwin and the 90th birthday poet Philip Appleman (a Darwin scholar). Annie Laurie interviews Dan about his best-selling new book, GOD: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction (Foreword by Richard Dawkins). Then Dr. Abby Hafer champions Darwin’s ideas by discussing her delightful new book, The Not-So-Intelligent Designer: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not.
February 6, 2016
GOD: Bad Character, Bad Designer
January 30, 2016
Irish Education Equality
Iowa atheist Justin Scott tells us about his experience interviewing political candidates in the Iowa caucuses about their views on the separation of state and church. After hearing Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders respond to Justin, we talk with Jane Donnelly by phone from Dublin, who just testified before the U.N. on behalf of Atheist Ireland and 'teachdontpreach.ie' about the problem of Catholic control of public schools in the Republic of Ireland.
January 23, 2016
In G-d We Do Not Trust
Aleta Ledendecker tells us about the secular invocation she delivered before the City Council of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that was rudely cut off by the mayor and boycotted by city council members. Then we talk with California attorney Michael Newdow about his new federal lawsuit challenging “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency.
January 16, 2016
White Nights, Black Paradise
Legal fellow Ryan Jayne updates us on FFRF’s New Jersey lawsuit challenging millions of “historic preservation” dollars handed to churches, many for the purpose of worship. We discuss a cross on a Kentucky city water tower, a cross on an Illinois war memorial, and government censorship of freethought speech. Then we interview feminist atheist author Sikivu Hutchinson about her new book, White Nights, Black Paradise, about Jim Jones's People’s Temple and the 1978 massacre at Jonestown.
January 9, 2016
Born Again Skeptic
FFRF wins Liberty Institute’s “Scrooge Award.” Another FFRF banner is vandalized. Political candidate panders to piety. NYC mayor de Blasio hands $20 million to religious schools. Alabama chief justice Moore defies same-sex marriage law. After listening to Holly Near’s song “I Ain’t Afraid” and Dan Barker’s version of Ruth Green’s poem “FFRF,” we hear Ruth Hurmence Green interviewed in 1979 about her book The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide To The Bible.
January 2, 2016
You're a Mean One, Mr. Governor
Texas Governor Abbot censors FFRF’s “Bill of Rights Nativity” from the state capitol. Wisconsin lawmaker Scott Allen uses government resources to convert non-Christians. Idaho post office removes Christmas greeting from window. After hearing Paul Robeson sing “The Bill of Rights,” we talk with Thomas Sheedy who won the Richard and Beverly Hermsen Student Activist award for fighting to establish a secular club at his high school. [Photo by Ingrid Laas]
December 26, 2015
Adrift on a Star
In the News: FFRF banners and signs have been stolen or defaced, so we announce a "Resurrection Pledge Campaign" to help replace them. New banners in Olympia, Washington and Illinois courthouse. After hearing Richard Dawkins reading the Foreword for the audiobook he wrote for Dan Barker's book Godless, we end the year with some relaxing freethought and seasonal music from FFRF's "Adrift on a Star" CD.
December 19, 2015
In the News: Saudi Arabia is scheduled to behead a nonbeliever; Indiana school thumbs its nose at the Constitution by staging a “mannequin” nativity scene after a judge enjoined them from doing a “live nativity scene.” We hear some Winter Solstice songs and a reading about how Christians coopted the season. Then we talk with Holly Baer, the first winner of the Yip Harburg Youth Activist award, who challenged a Christian display in the city of Collins, Mississippi.
December 12, 2015
This is our first show produced in the new Stephen Uhl Friendly Atheist Studio at Freethought Hall! In The News: full-page FFRF ad in the New York Times celebrating the birth of the Bill of Rights (December 15, 1791); FFRF asks hotels for bible-free rooms; Elkhart (Ind.) live nativity cancelled; FFRF Winter Solstice sign stolen from Indiana courthouse. After hearing Philip Appleman's poem "Fleas" set to music, we talk with Laurie Lebo, author of The Devil in Dover, about the 10th anniversary of Kitzmiller v. Dover, which booted "intelligent design" from public high-school science classes.
December 5, 2015
Leaving the LDS Fold
In the News: Two seasonal state/church victories in Indiana; new FFRF lawsuit in New Jersey challenging public money to churches; Winter Solstice signs around the country; Nonbelief Relief report. After hearing Dan’s “Salt Lake City Blues,” we talk with Utah attorney Mark Naugle about how he has helped more than 3,000 people leave the Mormon Church, mainly as a result of the LDS position on same-sex couples.
November 28, 2015
Defeat Religion in 10 Steps
After dissecting religion in politics (Fiorina: "people of faith make better leaders”) and reporting FFRF state/church victories in Minnesota and Indiana, we hear Etta James sing Randy Newman’s irreverent “God’s Song.” Then sociologist and author Ryan T. Cragun explains his new book: How To Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps.
November 21, 2015
To The Cross And Back
We love Paris, and detest religious terrorism. In The News: Governor Kasich calls for an agency to spread “Judeo-Christian values,” but American values are from the Enlightenment, not religion. Mormons are leaving the church over their gay-marriage stance. After hearing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” we talk with Fernando Alcántar, a Mexican immigrant who was converted by American missionaries, became a Christian leader, and then became a gay atheist activist. His new book is To The Cross and Back: An Immigrant’s Journey from Faith to Reason.
November 14, 2015
Spotlight on Ex-Muslims
After reporting an early FFRF holiday victory stopping a nativity scene from being placed in a Minnesota park, we discuss the recent study showing that nonreligious children are more altruistic and less punitive than religious children. We hear the trailer for the new movie Spotlight about the Boston Globe’s powerful investigation of the coverup of pedophile Catholic priests. Then we talk with Sarah Haider, one of the co-founders of Ex-Muslims of North America, who tells us what it is like to leave Islam and become an atheist.
November 7, 2015
Great Day for Veterans
Portland, Oregon, public high-school students disallowed from participating in a religious Catholic Grotto performance. Gideon bibles removed from Northern Illinois University hotel rooms. We announce Brooke Mulder as the winner of FFRF’s “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” contest for her secular invocation before Glendale, Arizona, city council. Then we hear veteran Steven Hewett (introduced by veteran Steve Trunk) talk about his successful lawsuit to remove a Christian War Memorial from the city of King, North Carolina.
October 31, 2015
Happy Halloween! Before hearing the song “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” we announce state/church victories, lawsuits and complaints in Indiana, Arkansas, and Virginia, dealing with a nativity pageant, a city Facebook page, and praying coaches. We hear Anita Weier’s acceptance speech at the 38th annual convention for the “Freethought Heroine” award for getting atheism added as a protective class to city ordinances, and lead staff attorney Rebecca Markert recapping thousands of complaints and hundreds of victories by FFRF’s legal staff in 2015.
October 24, 2015
In the news: FFRF complains about Christian crosses on a Kentucky city water tower and a Minnesota public hillside. Listen to a Texas sheriff tell FFRF to “go butt a stump,” after another sheriff told us to “go fly a kite” after we complained about “In God We Trust” on police vehicles. Annie Laurie recites Emily Dickinson’s ode to “Indian Summer” and Dan Barker sings “Beware of Dogma." Then we hear excerpts of Ron Reagan’s FFRF speech accepting FFRF's “Unabashed Atheist” award.
October 17, 2015
FFRF unveils its northern “Atheists in Foxholes” monument and the first-ever “Atheist Marquee” at the national office in Madison, Wisconsin. We hear the welcoming remarks of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin at FFRF's annual “Non-Prayer Breakfast” during our 38th annual convention. Then we listen to atheist Bangladeshi author and poet Taslima Nasrin talk about the fatwah and death threats she has been facing for decades because of her outspoken criticism of Islam.
October 10, 2015
In Memory of John Lennon
This week on Freethought Radio meet Lisa “Miller” Treu, FFRF’s Director of First Impressions as she guest host’s Freethought Radio. Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker will be busy with the 38th Annual Freedom From Religion Foundation’s National Convention at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Lisa will elaborate on her inspiration to becoming a freethinker, John Ono Lennon, who would’ve turned 75 this year on the same date (October 9th) that we will inaugurate the Grand Opening of the new Freethought Hall. This week Freethought Radio Rocks with the music of Freethinker John Lennon and thoughts from Lisa “Miller” Treu.
October 3, 2015
SNAP out of it
After discussing the the pope’s disturbing private visit with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refuses to issue gay marriage licenses, we examine the duplicity of government officials who place religious images in public buildings and put “In God We Trust” on police vehicles, claiming these acts are not religious while at the same time admitting they want to proselytize for Jesus. Then we talk with David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests) about his recent settlement with the diocese of Jefferson, Missouri over his own abuse by a priest in the early 1970s.
September 26, 2015
Stay Away Pope
The “JESUS Welcomes You To Hawkins” (Texas) sign is coming down! An Arizona city stops favoring Christian prayers, and the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department donates sports memorabilia to FFRF. We protest the Pope’s visit to America with full-page ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, plus JFK and Ron Reagan ads on TV. We listen to Kennedy’s 1960 Houston speech in favor of a secular government, and then hear philosopher Daniel Dennett read his Foreword to Dan Barker’s book Life Driven Purpose.
September 19, 2015
Fighting for a Secular World
Many victories to report this week, including the successful FFRF lawsuit removing the Ten Commandments from a Pennsylvania school, Florida municipal prayer stopped, HS football-field baptism declared improper, Jesus painting removed, secular HS club finally allowed, city money withdrawn from Florida churches, football prayer discontinued. After “welcoming” the visit of Pope Francis to America with our “Stay Away Pope Polka,” we talk with Carlos Mendoza of the Guatemalan Secular Humanists about being booed and booted from Congress while testifying against a bill to introduce mandatory bible reading in the schools.
September 12, 2015
God’s Bogus Journey
Gov. Huckabee says Kentucky clerk Kim Davis (who defied gay-marriage orders) is “God.” In the News: more “Pray to Play” coverage, Indiana high-school live-nativity complaint, “Pope Chair” built by prisoners, de Blasio dispensing NYC tickets to see the pope. Victory: FFRF gets Georgia city to pull out of “Gospel Fest.” Then we talk with screenwriter Chris Matheson (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Teds’ Bogus Journey) about his new humorous book, The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate).
September 5, 2015
The “Ideal” Woman
In the news: FFRF victory declaring the Ten Commandments unconstitutional at a Pennsylvania high school, a county clerk refusing to grant gay marriage licenses, group baptisms on the high-school football field, “In God We Trust” on police cars, a Jesus statue in a federal park, a year-long nativity scene in New Mexico. Our guest is Kansas biographer Vickie Sandell Stangl, author of Etta Semple: Kansas Freethinker and “Ideal” Woman.
August 29, 2015
God and Government
FFRF’s “Pray to Play” exposé gets national coverage, including FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel on MSNBC “Sports Matters.” Dan Barker was interviewed on NBC's “Today” show about the Jesus painting in a Kansas school that was taken down after FFRF complained. After talking with Viet Nam veteran and plaintiff Steve Trunk about the decades-long saga of the cross on Mt. Soledad, we interview Executive Director of Americans United For Separation of Church and State, Rev. Barry W. Lynn, about his new book: God and Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom of Conscience.
August 22, 2015
“Pray to Play”
After honoring the life of famed freethinking civil-rights leader Julian Bond and catching up on state/church news in Texas and New Mexico, we listen to part of John Oliver’s hilarious take-down of greedy churches and evangelists taking unfair advantage of lax IRS codes. Then we talk with FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel about FFRF’s letter of complaint to university athletic departments that hire evangelical chaplains who turn the football field into a mission field.
August 15, 2015
Learning To Drive
In the news: FFRF’s Ron Reagan ad on the penultimate Jon Stewart Daily Show, Jesus sign in east Texas town, bible verses removed from Arkansas city webpage, “In God We Trust” challenged on municipal vehicles. After hearing Bo Burnham’s anti-religious rap song “Rant,” we talk with author, poet, and critic Katha Pollitt about her new book Pro (about abortion rights), and her previous book Learning To Drive, which has become a major motion picture released this week starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley.
August 8, 2015
Ryan Jayne, FFRF’s law clerk and soon-to-be legal fellow, helps us celebrate many exciting state/church victories accomplished by FFRF’s attorneys. We honor the birthday of 19th-century agnostic orator Robert G. Ingersoll by hearing Dan Barker’s musical version of his famous “Trinity” lyrics. Then we interview author, poet and filmmaker Jeremiah Camara about his new feature-length documentary “Contradiction: A Question of Faith” that examines the effect of religion on African-Americans.
August 1, 2015
Jesus sign on city property, “In God We Trust” on patrol cars, Ten Commandments on high-school property, atheists barred from Boy Scouts, Tennessee freethought proclamation proposed. After talking about fish, large and small--Melville’s Moby Dick and Rupert Brooke’s Heaven--we interview Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers about his recent victory overturning capital punishment in that state.
July 25, 2015
Guatemalan secular humanists fight back after the legislature proposes to teach the bible in all public schools. After reporting on egregious state/church complaints in Texas and Minnesota, we celebrate many FFRF victories around the country. Then we talk with Florida activist David Williamson, director of FFRF’s chapter Central Florida Freethought Community, about the new lawsuit they filed (with FFRF, ACLU and AU) challenging Brevard County’s policy of excluding nonbelievers from board invocations.
July 18, 2015
After reporting on an FFRF state/church victory removing Christian crosses from a Texas county building, we hear “Blood Brothers,” the song Dan Barker wrote right after leaving the ministry. What happens when a minister no longer believes? Catherine Dunphy, a Catholic seminarian and chaplain who abandoned her faith and author of the new book, From Apostle to Apostate: The Story of the Clergy Project, tells us about how this new group is helping to “Save a Preacher."
July 11, 2015
FFRF has a new lawsuit (with AU and ACLU) challenging the Brevard County, Florida barring nontheists from opening meetings with a secular invocation. We report a victory removing the Christian flag from city property in Alabama, listen to Annie Laurie Gaylor’s “conversation” with four male theists on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show, and celebrate the birthday of life-long atheist comedian Phyllis Diller. Then we speak with clinical psychologist and professor Hector A. Garcia about his new book, Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression.
July 4, 2015
On this July 4 weekend we celebrate the Supreme Court decision recognizing gay marriage, and the July 4 birthday of American songwriter Stephen Foster. We talk with FFRF attorney Katherine Paige about the Colorado Supreme Court nixing vouchers to private religious schools. Then we interview Brady Henderson, legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, about their spectacular state supreme court victory this week calling for the removal of the Ten Commandments from the state capitol.
June 27, 2015
Protect the Children
After reporting FFRF victories in Arkansas and Wisconsin and complaining about a loose-cannon Florida sheriff who preaches in uniform, Annie Laurie analyzes what is wrong with the pope’s recent encyclical on climate change and what is right about South Carolina’s move to remove the confederate flag. Then we talk with Rita Swan, founder and director of C.H.I.L.D—Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty—about her decades-long effort to fight the religious medical neglect of children after she lost her own child due to Christian Science practices.
June 20, 2015
Reasonable and Kind
This week’s show is dedicated to the memory of FFRF’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor, who died June 14 at the age of 88. After reporting some FFRF state/church victories (which continue Anne’s legacy), we listen to Anne’s voice (“Is it reasonable; is it kind?”), and read from the New York Times obituary/article about her. Then we read two of Anne Gaylor's articles from her 1983 book, Lead Us Not Into Penn Station.
June 13, 2015
Who is under attack?
Is Justice Scalia right when he says the human species is 5,000 years old? Can Jesus welcome visitors to a Texas town? Is Jesus the most Googled name on the planet? Is Christianity under attack by the liberal world? After answering those questions, we talk with Michigan activists Holly Huber and Mitch Kahle, who are fighting religious incursions into government, especially the public schools.
June 6, 2015
FFRF complains about South Carolina's Governor Haley calling the state to prayer, and University of Toledo football coach doing the same with his players. After announcing FFRF's financial help to beleaguered Bengali atheist and feminist Taslima Nasrin, we hear Roy Zimmerman's song “Kill a Doctor For Christ.” Then we interview activist Carole Beaton about her efforts to keep religion and government separate in Eureka, California.
May 30, 2015
Irish Eyes Are Smiling
We talk about our visit to Paris and to the International Atheist conference in Gologne, Germany. After commenting on former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's outrageous opinion about the authority of the Supreme Court, we celebrate Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers' victory overturning the death penalty in his state. Roy Zimmerman's song "I Want a Marriage Like They Had in the Bible" sets the stage for us to celebrate Ireland's historic vote for marriage equality by talking with Michael Nugent, head of Atheist Ireland, who joins us on the phone from Dublin.
May 23, 2015
Faith vs. Fact
On the first half of the show, we talk with evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coyne (author of the best seller Why Evolution is True) about his new book, Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. Then we hear excerpts of Chris Johnson’s new film, A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God.
May 16, 2015
In the News: The rise of the “nones” has reached 23%; FFRF reports victories in Florida and California. After celebrating the birthday of Bertrand Russell, we talk with Harvard educated atheist professor of religious studies Hector Avalos about his new scholarly book, The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics.
May 9, 2015
In the News: Black atheists of Chicago, “Tea with Mr. Darwin,” Nonbelief-Relief, and National Day of Prayer protested with Dan’s song, “Get Off Your Knees and Get To Work.” We interview author Andrew Solomon (“Far From The Tree”), president of the PEN American Center, who this week awarded satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo its “Free Expression Courage Award."
May 2, 2015
One Nation Under God?
In the News: Venice, Florida, city council rejects “In God We Trust;” Doug Marshall’s Reason Station goes up in Warren, Michigan, city hall; creationist teacher disciplined in Arroyo Grande, California, public high school. After celebrating the birthdays of Peter Tchaikovsky and Pete Seeger, we talk with Princeton history professor Kevin M. Kruse about his eye-opening book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America.
April 25, 2015
All in the Family
In the News: The dumbing down of America with Tennessee House voting the bible as the state book, global warming talk barred from Wisconsin state agencies, and prayer before university football games. After celebrating the birthday of feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft and hearing Roy Zimmerman's "Creation Science 101," we talk with Len Eisenberg, founder and CEO of Evogeneao, promoting evolution education.
AUDIOBOOK DRAWING. There is still time to enter the drawing for a free download of the audiobook of Dan Barker's new book, Life Driven Purpose. Send an email by April 29 to '[email protected]' with the Subject "Free Audiobook" and include your name, physical mailing address, and how you listen to Freethought Radio. Five winners will be announced on next week's show.
April 18, 2015
Celebrating 20th anniversary of Camp Quest
Find out why the pious Attorney General of Oklahoma is on the warpath against FFRF, why vouchers - ouch - hurt our public schools, plus other recent FFRF activism, then meet Amanda Metskas, executive director of Camp Quest, which provides secular summer camps around the nation, and is celebrating its 20th anniversary. We honor the birth of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, an atheist, by playing some of his enchanting music, and, with a camping theme, play Dan Barker and Steve Benson’s parody of the Boy Scout Hiking Song, “Why BSA?” from FFRF’s CD, “Beware of Dogma.”
April 11, 2015
We Must Be Doing Something Right
FFRF continues to fight Vouchers and RFRA. When FOX News goes after you, you must be doing something right. Listen to a former DOJ employee attack FFRF and defend Christians' so-called right to discriminate. After celebrating the birthdays of freethinkers Charlie Chaplin and Thomas Jefferson with music, we talk with FFRF's Legal Publicist Maddie Ziegler about her work to defend Jefferson's wall of separation between church and state.
April 4, 2015
Relax, It’s Just God
In The News: The Madison, Wisconsin, City Council passed the resolution to add atheism as a protected class to city ordinances; FFRF takes out TV and New York Times print ads opposing religious school vouchers and the state and federal Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. After celebrating the birthdays of freethinking songwriters Tom Lehrer and Yip Harburg, we announce the winners of the drawing for a signed copy of Dan Barker’s new book, Life Driven Purpose. Our guest this week is Wendy Thomas Russell, author of the new book, Relax, It’s Just God: How and why to talk to your kids about religion when you’re not religious.
March 28, 2015
The Atheists Next Door
In the News: FFRF reports on its successful commercial by Ron Reagan on CNN, salutes Robert Kastenmeier, a former member of Congress who died last week, and its March Madness complaints over basketball chaplains at state universities. After celebrating the birthday of Eric Idle (by playing two of his irreverent Monty Python songs), Annie Laurie interviews Harry Shaughnessy, president of the Triangle Freethought Society (an FFRF chapter), whose family was featured this month in a CNN online story about “The Atheists Next Door.”
March 21, 2015
After reporting on the success of FFRF's national ad featuring Ron Reagan on CNN, we announce FFRF victories stopping prayer and bible reading in public schools in Texas and Maryland. We celebrate the birthdays of nonbelievers Elton John, Stephen Sondheim, Keira Knightly, Richard Dawkins, and freethinking feminists Matilda Joslyn Gage and Gloria Steinem. Then we talk with journalist and author David Seidman about his new book, What If I'm an Atheist: A teen's guide to exploring a life without religion.
March 14, 2015
Life Driven Purpose
Good news: FFRF reports many state/church victories around the country; federal Appeals Court won’t allow Milwaukee Catholic diocese to shield cemetery trust from bankruptcy to pay for victims of molesting priests. Bad news: Supreme Court temporarily sides with Catholic university to deny birth-control coverage; Wisconsin moves to expand school vouchers for mainly religious schools. After hearing the song “None of the Above,” Annie Laurie interviews Dan Barker about his new book, Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning.
March 7, 2015
Nonbelievers of Color
FFRF's TV ad featuring Ron Reagan was censored by the major news networks. After celebrating the birthday of freethinking botanist Luther Burbank and hearing “Bread & Roses” in honor of International Women’s Day, we talk with Kimberly Veal, an organizer with Chicago Black Skeptics.
February 28, 2015
Time to fight religion
After celebrating the 100th birthday of freethinking biologist Peter Medawar, we talk with Douglas Marshall, the victorious plaintiff who sued the city of Warren, Michigan, and won the right to display a Reason Station next to the Prayer Station in city hall. Then we speak with journalist Jeffrey Tayler, of The Atlantic (calling us from Russia), about his “It’s Time to Fight Religion” article and the problem with the media’s hesitation to criticize religion itself for the violence it creates.
February 21, 2015
Atheism a protected class?
In the News: Wisconsin Governor Walker's office confirms he has no record of communications with a deity; the dangers of school voucher expansion analyzed. After hearing astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson interview "God," we talk with Madison city council woman Anita Weir about her proposal to expand the city's protected class ordinance to include atheists.
February 14, 2015
A Freethought Valentine
In the News: After analyzing Obama’s Prayer Breakfast remarks and chastising the “lovely couple" Antonin Scalia and Judge Roy Moore for resisting gay marriage, we announce a new federal lawsuit over religious proselytizing by teachers in a Georgia school. We celebrate the birthday of Susan B. Anthony and hear the freethought love song “It’s Only Natural,” then we talk with the leading feminist author, activist, blogger, radio host and atheist Robin Morgan about the plight of women in today’s religion-drenched society.