Nativity scenes, Winter Solstice displays, the Ark in Kentucky, county grants to churches and praying high-school coaches top the news this week. Then we speak with evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker about his newest book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. (Photo by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein)
Freethought Radio Archives
2014 PODCAST ARCHIVES
December 11, 2014
A Sense of Style
December 6, 2014
FFRF's Winter Solstice and Natural Nativity are back at the Wisconsin Capitol. After talking about a victory stopping a "Keep Christ in Christmas" parade in Piedmont, Alabama, we celebrate the birthdays of secular songwriters Ira Gershwin and Jay Gorney. Then we talk with FFRF intern and activist Jarvis Idowu, a 3rd-year law student at UW-Madison, about the Secular Law Students Society that he started and his work to keep state and church separate.
November 29, 2014
FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel tells us about FFRF's victory against Hobby Lobby, stopping a bible class in Mustang, Oklahoma public schools. Then we talk with author and researcher Roy Sablosky about his recent article in Social Science Journal, "Does Religion Foster Generosity?"
November 22, 2014
Belief and Unbelief
After discussing FFRF’s temporary setback (on standing, not merits) in federal Appeals Court over the IRS “Housing Allowance” case, we announce a new lawsuit challenging prayer at Chino Valley, California, school board meetings. We celebrate the 88th birthday of FFRF’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor by honoring the feminist freethinker Margaret Sanger. Then we talk with author and scholar Barbara G. Walker about her new book, Belief and Unbelief.
November 15, 2014
FFRF's "legal fellow," attorney Katherine Paige, tells us about her recent victory stopping county funds from supporting a religious ministry in Alabama. Then we talk with Carol Fiore, widow of test pilot Eric Fiore, about her new book, A Grief Workbook for Skeptics: Surviving Loss Without Religion.
November 8, 2014
Christianity Is Not Great
Timely news updates include FFRF’s reports to the IRS of illegal politicking by 501(c)(3) tax-exempt churches. We report some Bible Belt victories against blatant promotion of religion in public schools. Then Freethought Radio salutes artistic freethinkers born this week, including Schiller and Aaron Copeland. We interview former minister John W. Loftus about the last in his trilogy anthology, called “Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails,” which is hot off the press!
November 1, 2014
Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart
In The News: football baptisms, proselytizing teachers, Fox & Friends lecturing FFRF on "culture of the South," and USA Today acknowledging FFRF's accomplishments. Then we talk with John Figdor, Humanist Chaplain at Stanford University, about his new book Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-First Century.
(Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Figdor.jpeg#mediaviewer/File:John_Figdor.jpeg)
October 25, 2014
From Apostle to Apostate. In the News: Landmark Minnesota Church abuse case. Freethought Hall expansion progress, including video of the artist making commemorative tiles. Then we hear from two former ministers who no longer believe: Randy Bender (Lutheran) and Matt Killingsworth (Pentecostal).
October 18, 2014
Life Beyond Belief
Life Beyond Belief. After state/church news in South Dakota, Georgia, Ohio, and Oklahoma, we hear from science-fiction writer Ursula K. LeGuin, and listen to part of Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize remarks. Then we talk with Bob Ripley, former pastor of the largest mainline Protestant church in Canada who resigned after discarding his faith. His new book is Life Beyond Belief: A Preacher's Deconversion.
October 11, 2014
In God SOME of us Trust
Many FFRF state/church victories to report, including stopping prayers over the loudspeakers at high-school football games. After celebrating the birthdays of the freethinking songwriters P.G. Wodehouse and Ralph Vaughan Williams, we talk with Nikki Muongo, a Missouri mother who successfully convinced the city of Ballwin not to display "In God We Trust" on government property.
October 2, 2014
FFRF protests Pulpit Freedom Sunday, a day when pastors are encouraged to break IRS electioneering law. Hear about FFRF’s victory in a Texas elementary school, and more on our complaint of the St. Augustine mayor’s invitation to the pope. We celebrate the birthdays of John Lennon, Guiseppe Verdi, Joe Hill, and Thelonious Monk. The we talk with Alabama student activist Amanda Scott about her efforts to separate religion and government.
September 26, 2014
Humor in atheism
After protesting invitations of the pope by the U.S. Congress and the City of St. Augustine, Florida, we hear some of our favorite atheist comedians, including Julia Sweeney, Leighann Lord, George Carlin, Bill Maher and Roy Zimmerman, as well as irreverent verses by Yip Harburg. Then we talk with Katja Guenther, professor of sociology at UC-Riverside, about her current research into humor in the "New Atheism" movement.
September 20, 2014
In the news: football prayer and religion in the military. We hear a tribute to George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue, Bernstein; "I Got Rhythm," Mary Martin; "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," Billie Holiday; "Someone To Watch Over Me," Nancy Wilson; "It Ain't Necessarily So" Sammy Davis Jr; "Embraceable You," Kiri Te Kanawa; American in Paris; "Summertime" Ella Fitzgerald). Then we talk with Sam Erickson, president of AHA!--the Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison--the strongest campus freethought group in the country.
September 13, 2014
God and Cosmology
This week we are happy to report four state/church victories around the country: one in Florida, two in Pennsylvania, and one in Arkansas, dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance, "In God We Trust," hotel bibles, and crosses on football helmets. After hearing Dan Barker's freethought song, "Life is Good," we talk with physicist Sean Carroll, author of The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World, about "God and Cosmology."
September 6, 2014
The Sober Truth
"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings." After hearing news of FFRF state/church victories and complaints, we remember the life of physicist, author, and FFRF Honorary Director Victor J. Stenger. Then we talk with Lance Dodes, M.D., about his new book debunking Alcoholics Anonymous: The Sober Truth: Debunking the bad science behind twelve-step programs and the rehab industry.
August 30, 2014
The heretical roots of America
After hearing Dan Barker's appearance on the Nancy Grace Show, and reporting the Vatican's coddling of a pedophilic priest, we honor the birthdays of freethinking baseball great Ted Williams and early feminist activist Frances Wright. Then we talk with Matthew Stewart, author of the new book: Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic.
August 23, 2014
Out Of The Closet, Freethinkers!
FFRF complains about an Arkansas restaurant giving illegal discounts to church-goers. We celebrate Women's Equality Day, and observe the 100th anniversary of the original Broadway "Book of Mormon" (The Girl From Utah) with freethinker Jerome Kern's first hit song. Then we listen to 20 short videos from FFRF's new "Out of the Closet" Freethinker video campaign.
August 16, 2014
Anchors Away. We talk about the Kountze, Texas bible-banner cheerleaders, and the FFRF state/church victory over a restaurant offering a discount for prayer. Then we celebrate the birthday of freethinking composer Claude Debussy. Our guest this week is FFRF attorney Sam Grover, who will explain how he convinced the Navy to remove Christian bibles from Naval Accommodations.
August 9, 2014
In God Not All Of Us Trust
This week we correct the right-wing media that is mischaracterizing FFRF's recent IRS victory about politicking pastors. We celebrate the birthday of 19th-century freethought author, orator and politician Robert G. Ingersoll. Then we talk with Roane County (Tennessee) Commissioner Steve Kelley, an atheist, about why he voted against "In God We Trust" being installed at the county offices and courthouse.
August 2, 2014
Writing God's Obituary
The religious right and FOX News are upset about FFRF's IRS church-electioneering victory. We hear Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg talking about the Hobby Lobby decision. We celebrate the birthdays of freethinkers James Baldwin and Rupert Brooke. Then we talk with author and professor Anthony Pinn about his new memoir, Writing God's Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist.
July 26, 2014
Freethinkers in Central America
We talk about FFRF's victory with the IRS, an agreement that they will begin to follow their own policy of enforcing restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations and churches. We announce our newest lawsuit, filed with the ACLU and Americans United, against a Michigan city that is censoring atheist speech. Then we talk with David Pineda, President of "La Asociación Guatemalteca de Humanistas Seculares," an exciting new group of freethinkers in Guatemala.
July 19, 2014
Nothing succeeds like a secular invocation!
We’ll celebrate the 166th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention called by agnostic Elizabeth Cady Stanton, then talk with newsmaker and freethought activist Dan Courtney, a Lifetime FFRF Member, who just became the first atheist to give an invocation in Greece, N.Y. — site of the governmental prayer dispute at the center of this spring’s Supreme Court ruling.
July 12, 2014
Days of the Theocracy
Protest the Hobby Lobby decision. We hear the classic "Days of the Theocracy" by Kristin Lems, and pay tribute to atheist Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Then we speak with Dayna Long, president of Wisconsin NOW, about her successful protest against Hobby Lobby, and how you can fight back back against patriarchy.
July 5, 2014
Happy 238th Birthday U.S.A! After discussing the disastrous Supreme Court "Hobby Lobby" decision, we honor America's birthday by celebrating the July 4 (1826) birthday of songwriter Stephen Foster. Then we talk with Emmy-Award-winning Hollywood actor Scott Clifton, who hosts the "Theoretical B.S." blog on YouTube.
June 28, 2014
Dying With Dignity
Dying With Dignity. After celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and hearing about many FFRF legal victories, we celebrate the birthday of atheist Broadway composer Richard Rodgers. Then we talk with Wanda Morris, CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada about the current progress and the religious opposition to end-of-life choices in Canada and the world.
June 21, 2014
The First Amendment and Civil Rights
We welcome the summer solstice with freethought offerings from author Ian McEwan and other leading atheists. IN THE NEWS: State/church victory! Supreme Court declines to hear the Elmbrook (Wisconsin) case disallowing public school graduations in churches. Then Liz Cavell, constitutional attorney, explains how FFRF’s legal staff handles state/church and Civil Rights complaints.
June 14, 2014
Guest: Cosmos producer Ann Druyan
Ann Druyan, creator/writer/producer of "Cosmos," talks about how the successful TV science series was made. IN THE NEWS: Iowa withdraws funds for a Christian park; Wisconsin judge allows gay marriage.
June 7, 2014
In The News: FFRF’s “Parsonage Allowance” brief filed with 7th Circuit Court of Appeals; FFRF’s Ron Reagan ad to air during “Cosmos” in major cities. Celebrate the birthdays of four freethinking composers and songwriters, including “Live And Let Live” Cole Porter. Then we talk with the film-making brothers Gus and Luke Holwerda, whose beautiful documentary “The Unbelievers,” following Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss on a world-wide science tour, was just released this week.
May 30, 2014
Supreme Court plaintiff Linda Stephens
IN THE NEWS: FFRF’s Raleigh conference on CNN Belief Blog; Ohio billboards; Iowa Christian park protested. Then hear Greece vs. Galloway plaintiff Linda Stephens respond to being labeled “demonic” by a politician for trying to stop city prayer.
May 24, 2014
Philosophy & Biography
Two Boston authors! First, we talk with Rebecca Newberger Goldstein about her new book, Plato At The GooglePlex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away. Then we interview Megan Marshall, author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning biography, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.
May 17, 2014
Greece vs. Galloway
IN THE NEWS: FFRF announces a national TV ad by Ron Reagan to air on Comedy Central. We talk with Marni Huebner-Tiborsky and Susan Woznicki of the Northeast Ohio FFRF chapter about the 11 "Out of the Closet" billboards they put up in the Cleveland-Akron area, then we speak with Susan Galloway, plaintiff in the Greece vs. Galloway Supreme Court case, about the May 5 decision expanding the right of cities to include sectarian prayer in government meetings.
May 10, 2014
Nothing Fails Like Prayer
IN THE NEWS: The Supreme Court wrongly expands government prayer; FFRF launches Out-Of-The-Closet billboards in northeast Ohio. Then we talk with "one of New York's 10 hottest comics," Leighann Lord, who is an atheist.
May 3, 2014
Music Was His Religion
IN THE NEWS: FFRF stops a West Virginia high-school wrestling team from using a bible verse as their motto. After complaining about Hobby Lobby inserting a bible class into an Oklahoma high school, we celebrate the birthday of the freethinking composer Johannes Brahms. Then we hear the Oxford University debate about the existence of God, where Dan Barker and Peter Hitchens go head-to-head.
April 26, 2014
IN THE NEWS: Dan Barker and substitute co-host Andrew Seidel discuss FFRF's freethought display in Daley Plaza and proselytizing Clemson University coach Dabo Swinney. We announce a major FFRF legal victory stopping prayer at city council meetings in Pismo Beach, California. Then we talk with scientist and author Steven Pinker about why he has agreed to become FFRF's first Honorary President.
April 19, 2014
Brush Up Your Shakespeare
IN THE NEWS: FFRF complains about Clemson University's proselytizing football coach. Saudi Arabia declares "atheism = terrorism" and other countries threaten the death penalty for nonbelief. After hearing many freethought connections to Shakespeare and Prokofiev (born April 23), we talk with activist and philanthropist Todd Stiefel of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.
April 12, 2014
Feed the Kitties!
IN THE NEWS: We listen to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's response after she was disinvited to give the commencement at Brandeis University when they withdrew her honorary doctorate for her remarks critical of Islam. After celebrating the birthday of the freethinking Charlie Chaplin, we talk with Ellis Felker, owner of Red Oak Greeting Cards.
April 5, 2014
Guest: Indre Viskontas
After hearing (and analyzing) the oral arguments in the Supreme Court "Hobby Lobby" case, challenging the reproductive mandate of the Affordable Health Care Act on religious grounds, we celebrate Tom Lehrer's birthday by listening to some of his songs, as well as Eric Idle's "The Galaxy." Then we speak with a modern Renaissance Woman, Indre Viskontas, an opera singer, scientist (Ph.D. in neuroscience), science podcast host, co-star of "The Miracle Detective" TV series (which aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network), science/music educator, and atheist.
March 28, 2014
Celebrate 75 Years of Oz
For the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, we celebrate the life and legacy of the freethinking lyricist Yip Harburg, who wrote “Over the Rainbow,” and many other songs. Listen to Yip himself singing “If I Only Had a Brain,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and “Last Night When We Were Young.” Then we interview Yip’s son, Ernie Harburg, also an atheist, a scientist who is director of the Yip Harburg Foundation, about his father’s artistic life and social activism.
March 20, 2014
Guest: Marci Hamilton
In The News: "A Tale of Three Cities." FFRF complains about mixing religion and government in Green Bay (WI), Birmingham (AL), and Sand Point (ID). We welcome spring with music from Richard Rodgers and Yip Harburg, and celebrate the birthday of Elton John by hearing his freethought song "This Train Don't Stop Here Any More." Then we talk with prominent attorney Marci Hamilton, author of God vs. The Gavel, who argued and won a Supreme Court lawsuit challenging the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and who wrote FFRF's Supreme Court amicus brief challenging Hobby Lobby's refusal to honor the contraceptive mandate on religious grounds.
March 12, 2014
Guest: Ken Knighton
In The News: FFRF asks the Pope to "stay away from Green Bay"; tells a praying police chief in Birmingham to cease and desist; and chastises Florida schools for mingling with a local church. After hearing "The Stay Away Pope Polka" and "The Salt Lake City Blues," we talk with FFRF's 20,000th member, Ken Knighton, a former Mormon from Utah.
March 6, 2014
In The News: "Baby Messiah" judge censured; bibles finally removed from ISU hotels; Arizona atheist legislator offers another nonreligious "prayer" in the House; religious violence in Africa. We promote the premier of the new "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey," and the Saudi movie Wadjda. Then we talk with Madison's own Bobby Hinds, 84, an FFRF Life Member who was just inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame.
March 1, 2014
Taking Liberties with Religious Freedom
In The News: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes the controversial bill denying service to gays. We educate the bible-illiterate Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, about why the Christian scriptures are insulting. We talk about the movie Philomena and the Academy Awards, and about Ricky Gervais’s view on "something to live for." Then we talk with Rob Boston, of Americans United For Separation of Church and State, about his new book: Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do.
February 22, 2014
Guest: Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor of MS Magazine
In The News: FFRF removes bibles from another state-owned hotel room; and successful student activists in North Carolina. Hear Annie Laurie interviewed by Sean Hannity about the Iowa State victory. Celebrate the birthdays of Victor Hugo and W.E.B. Dubois. Then we talk with executive editor of MS Magazine, Katherine Spillar, about the religious war against women.
February 15, 2014
Guest: Professor Ronald L. Numbers, author, The Creationists
Guest co-host with Annie Laurie Gaylor: FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel
Radio Valentine to Susan B., Darwin
"Celebrating Darwin, exposing the creationists"
In the news: Annie Laurie and Andrew discuss FFRF’s new creationism law FAQ, Andrew’s complaint to New York officials over infant endangerment, deaths from ultra-Orthodox circumcision ritual. Birthdates honored: Charles Darwin, Galileo, Jeremy Bentham and Susan B. Anthony. Song: “It’s Only Natural,” Dan’s jazz love ballad inspired by Richard Dawkins’ book, “Unweaving the Rainbow,” paying homage to love, natural selection and Darwin, beautifully sung by Susan Hofer. Guest: the erudite and entertaining Professor Ronald L. Numbers, University of Wisconsin,-Madison, author of the definitive history, The Creationists.
February 8, 2014
Happy Birthday, Darwin! Exposing Religious Voucher Failures
In the News: Freethought Radio comments on international blasphemy prosecutions, UN committee evaluation of Vatican failings, and asks you to do your bit and buy Girl Scout cookies! (Antiabortionists have called boycott.) Birthdates honored: Charles Darwin, Philip Appleman and Phyllis Rose. Song: God’s Grandeur, words by Phil Appleman, music by Dan Barker. Guest: Patrick Elliott talks about a North Carolina state/church victory stopping a prayerful school coach that's grabbing national attention, and details shocking details his open records request uncovered about a religious voucher school in Milwaukee that closed its doors after receiving more than $2 million in tax dollars.
February 1, 2014
In Reason We Trust
In the News: FFRF files an amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court lawsuit challenging the Affordable Healthcare Act, and the government appeals FFRF's federal court "Parish Exemption" victory to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. We honor the life of folksinger Pete Seeger, and then talk with artist and filmmaker Scott Burdick about his new film, "In Reason We Trust."
January 25, 2014
In The News: public vouchers to religious schools, and revelations of hundreds of priests defrocked for raping children. We hear some of the music of nonbelieving composer Jerome Kern, then we talk with Valerie Tarico about her book Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light.
January 18, 2014
A Better Life!
What do “Winnie the Pooh” and the movie “Saving Mr. Banks” have to do with freethought? We will give you two different reasons. Then we talk with New York filmmaker and photographer Chris Johnson about his new gorgeous book of photography, A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God.
January 11, 2014
Guest: PZ Myers
Find out which famous singer/entertainer you may not have known is an atheist, and also which rock band leader you may not have known is an atheist. This week we talk about the religious war against women, and then interview science blogger and professor PZ Myers about his new book, The Happy Atheist.
January 4, 2014
Baby, it’s cold outside!
For the first show of the year, we talk about ObamaCare and religion, Justice Sotomayor and the nuns, vandalism of freethought solstice displays, and the freethinking views of author Zora Neale Hurston. After hearing the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” composed by freethinking songwriter Frank Loesser, we talk with Florida freethought activist Gary Whittenberger about his book God Wants YOU To Be An Atheist.
December 28, 2013
Happy 2014! We stop and rest at the end of the year, and listen to our selection of favorite freethought music, including Yip Harburg, Burton Lane, Tom Lehrer, Kristen Lems, George and Ira Gershwin, Joe Hill, Philip Appleman, Cole Porter, and Frank Loesser. We end with a Scottish version of freethinker Robert Burns' "Auld Lang Syne."
December 21, 2013
Away With The Manger!
Away With The Manger! The Winter Solstice is the reason for the season. After hearing news about FFRF's seasonal displays, countering nativity scenes and religious messages on public property, we devote the show to our favorite freethought seasonal music, including Tim Minchin, Tom Lehrer, Roy Zimmerman, South Park's "Merry Frickin Christmas," FFRF's musical albums, and, of course, the agnostic Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. We also hear the radio debut of Dan Barker's children's song "Time Never Stops," honoring the solstice.