Freethought Radio Archives

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Freethought Radio --  March 28, 2015 Broadcast

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.”

Freethought Radio -- March 21, 2015 Broadcast

Teenage Atheists

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.

Freethought Radio -- March 14, 2015 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- March 7, 2015 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- February 28, 2015 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- February 21, 2015 Broadcast

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.

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Freethought Radio -- 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.

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Freethought Radio -- February 7, 2015

A church in every school?

After commenting on religious violence around the globe, we talk with Rachel Harger about the upcoming Texas Secular Convention in Austin. We hear actor/novelist Stephen Fry denounce the “wicked” god of the bible, and then celebrate the 89th birthday of freethought poet laureate Philip Appleman by hearing his lyrics set to music in the song “Fleas.” Then we talk with journalist Katherine Stewart, author of the book The Good News Club, about the movement to plant a church in every public school.

Freethought Radio -- January 31, 2015

The Moral Arc

In the News: New FFRF billboards in Chicago, Greece’s atheist prime minister sworn in, California mayor refuses prayer, Mike Huckabee disses atheism, and Obama recognizes nonbelievers. We celebrate the birthday of freethinking composer Burton Lane by hearing his irreverent song “The Begats,” from Finian’s Rainbow. Then we talk with skeptical author Michael Shermer about his new book, The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom.

Freethought Radio -- January 24, 2015

The World Is My Country

Pope Francis says we should not “make fun of faith,” but we point out that blasphemy is a victimless crime. After honoring the birthdays of freethinking composers Mozart and Jerome Kern, we celebrate the birthday of founding patriot Thomas Paine, the deistic freethinker who wrote The Age of Reason, by listening to Dan Barker’s tribute,“The World is My Country." Then we talk with Steven Hewett, a retired Army sergeant and Afghanistan veteran who successfully stopped religious symbols from being displayed at a Veterans Memorial in his North Carolina city.

Freethought Radio -- January 17, 2015

A Year Without God

In The News: FFRF’s donation to Charlie Hebdo and a full-page FFRF "Atheists in Foxholes” ad in USA Today’s Defense Commemoration issue. We talk with Eric Stone, an FFRF Life member who helped stop prayers at Concord, California city council meetings. Then we ask former Seventh Day Adventist minister Ryan Bell what happened after his experiment to live a “Year Without God.”

Freethought Radio -- January 10, 2015

How “God” Works

We honor the French cartoonists who were killed this week by religious extremists by talking with the irreverent Pulitzer-Prize winning editorial cartoonist Steve Benson. Then we chat with Marshall Brain, the founder of “How Stuff Works,” about his new freethinking book, How “God” Works.

Freethought Radio -- January 3, 2015

Comforting Thoughts

We start the show talking about three recent movies with freethought connections. Then we ask, "How do atheists deal with death?” Greta Christina tells us about her new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing To Do About God. Then we talk with Barbara Mancini, who was arrested and prosecuted for handing her terminally ill 93-yr-old father prescribed medicine that he requested, a charge of "assisted suicide" that was religiously and politically motivated, and ultimately dismissed.

Freethought Radio -- December 27, 2014

Happy New Year

In the news: FFRF on ESPN basketball, North Carolina nativity scene victory, and the first winter solstice sign in Puerto Rico. We celebrate the New Year with a light-hearted performance of Phil Appleman's "Noah," and Jim Malcom's Scottish rendition of "Auld Lang Syne." Our guest is Tom Cara, director of FFRF's Metropolitan Chicago chapter, talking about 11 Out of the Closet billboards and other freethought seasonal displays.

Freethought Radio -- December 20, 2014 Broadcast

It’s That Time of Year

FFRF announces two new lawsuits: suing Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's administration over open records violation and challenging a nativity scene in Indiana. We celebrate the Winter Solstice with seasonal freethought music. Then we speak with FFRF attorneys Patrick Elliott and Rebecca Markert about the new lawsuits.


Freethought Radio -- December 13, 2014 Broadcast

A Sense of Style

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 -- December 6, 2014 Broadcast

Secular Law

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.

Roy Sablosky


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?"

Freethought Radio -- November 22, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- November 15, 2014 Broadcast

Secular Grief

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.

Freethought Radio -- November 8, 2014 Broadcast

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!

Freethought Radio -- November 1, 2014 Broadcast

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 -

Freethought Radio -- October 25, 2014

Former Clergy

 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).

Freethought Radio -- 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.

Freethought Radio -- 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.

Freethought Radio -- Oct 4, 2014 Broadcast

Student Activism

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.

Freethought Radio -- September 27, 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.

Freethought Radio -- September 20, 2014 Broadcast


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.

Sean Carroll

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."

Freethought Radio -- September 6, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- August 30, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- August 23, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- August 16, 2014 Broadcast

Anchors Away

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.

Steve Kelley

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.

Freethought Radio -- August 2, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- July 26, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio-- July 19, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- July 12, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- July 5, 2014 Broadcast

Theoretical B.S.

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.

Freethought Radio -- June 28, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- June 21, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio - June 14, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- June 7, 2014 Broadcast

The Unbelievers

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.

Freethought Radio — May 31, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- May 24, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- May 17, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- May 10, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- May 3, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Freethought Radio -- April 26, 2014 Broadcast

California Dreamin

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.

Freethought Radio -- April 19, 2014 Broadcast

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.

Ellis Felker

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.

Freethought Radio — 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.

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