Dear Wisconsin FFRF Member,
Please call and email your state senator immediately asking him or her to vote against AB 244, creating a special “In God We Trust” license plate. The bill is on the agenda for a floor vote tomorrow, (Tuesday, March 18). Read the bill here.
It’s vital to act — the bill already passed the State Assembly. See bill history here.
FFRF has taken issue with the 'In God We Trust' license plates since September. FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott noted in his testimony:
"The phrase 'In God We Trust' is not representative of all Wisconsinites. To be accurate, it would have to say, 'In god some of us trust.' The Pew Research Center reports that nearly 20% of adult Americans, and one in three young adults, is now non-religious. According to Department of Defense data from 2012, 23% of military personnel identified as non-religious. A survey of FFRF’s membership also demonstrated that 24% of its members are veterans.
"State legislators are elected to represent all citizens, including those who do not believe in a monotheistic god or any gods. Both supporters and opponents of the bill recognize that 'In God We Trust' is a religious statement. The fact that a portion of the plate fees would go to the state’s Veterans Trust Fund does not mitigate the problems with a religious plate."
The state already offers the secular "Wisconsin Salutes Veterans" license plates, which finances the Veterans Trust Fund. This religious plate is unnecessary and divisive.
“It sends an exclusionary message,” adds FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “First of all, if a non-believer wanted to help out veterans they are going to be precluded from buying this plate. This is obviously an attempt to push religion.”
Call and email your senator to vote "NO" on AB 244.
The fawning invitation by the mayor of Green Bay, Wis., inviting Pope Francis to visit Green Bay next year for the express purpose of making a “pilgrimage” to a local shrine to the Virgin Mary, may be just the beginning of “pope madness” by pious U.S. politicians. Read about FFRF’s complaint to Green Bay.
The pope’s presence at a September 2015 global conference on families in Philadelphia has not even been officially confirmed.
But U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have now officially invited Pope Francis to address a joint session of Congress next year.
The Washington Post notes that, not surprisingly, both Boehner and Pelosi are Roman Catholic.
The Post quoted a popular conservative Catholic commentator: “But it’s just a measure of how much impact this particular pope is having — everyone wants him there. Who needs it more than Congress, right?”
Congress needs a visit from the pope like Boehner needs more time in a tanning bed. To date, Pope Francis is a “kinder, gentler” version of Pope Benedict, but he’s made no actual reforms or changes to official theocratic Catholic dogma that seeks the worldwide overthrow of legal contraception, abortion, gay rights and marriage equality.
Nor has he reformed theology. The Wall Street Journal just this week reported Francis’ perpetuation of ignorance and superstition by saying, “He who doesn’t pray to the Lord, prays to Satan.” Yet the church hierarchy reaps all the credit for his nominally human pronouncements, while working harder than ever to undermine abortion and contraceptive rights, and, in this country, the Affordable Care Act.
Francis has taken no action following the devastating United Nations report in February, demanding the Vatican immediately remove all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers, and open its files on pedophiles and bishops who concealed their crimes. Not only has he failed to cooperate with the U.N. investigation, but earlier this month he defended the Catholic Church’s despicable response to unremitting sex abuse scandals, telling an Italian newspaper, “no one else has done more.”
Boehner and Pelosi’s invitation to the pope is an insult. It’s an insult to all nonbelievers and all non-Catholic citizens. It’s an insult to the thousands and thousands of survivors and victims of priestly predation, who should be the guests invited to address Congress instead of the pope. It’s an insult to the women of the nation who deserve equality, who deserve the right to make their own decisions and choices about contraception and birth control without clergy interference.
It’s an insult to gay Americans who are told by the pope’s church that the expression of their sexuality is a sin, and that they should be denied the right to love and marry. Pelosi of all people should recognize that the U.S. Catholic Conference is archenemy No. 1 of the Affordable Care Act and is the force behind dozens of lawsuits challenging the law and its contraceptive mandate.
The invitation most of all, of course, is an insult to our secular Constitution.
There is probably no person in the world who gets more media than the pope, who commands more unearned respect, whose every utterance — not to mention head cold — rates page one coverage. Seriously, how can Boehner and Pelosi make the case that the pope now needs the ear of Congress?
Contact them now to strongly object (phoning is best if you aren’t a constituent):
The Freedom From Religion Foundation held their national covention on the weekend of Oct. 24-25 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.