The Freedom From Religion Foundation is bestowing $20,000 USD to the Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo "in a show of admiration and solidarity from your atheist and freethinking brothers and sisters across the Atlantic," FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor announced Jan. 15.
"FFRF created an Atheists in Foxholes Support Fund in 2012 to provide a show of support for activists who find themselves in the crossfire as 'atheists in foxholes,' " Gaylor added. "We never imagined atheists would so literally be in the crossfire."
Additional donations received for this fund by FFRF in January will go to Charlie Hebdo. (Select Atheists in Foxhole Support Fund in drop down menu.)
Jessica Ahlquist, then age 16, was the first recipient. Jessica had won a federal court decision against a prayer mural in her Rhode Island high school and needed a police escort to attend school.
Ten of Charlie Hebdo's staff members, including many of its irreverent cartoonists, were slaughtered Jan. 7 in the name of Allah and "avenging the prophet," in a terrorist killing spree ultimately ending in 17 deaths, including an attack in a Jewish supermarket.
In the lead editorial in this week's issue, the editors referred to Charlie Hebdo as an "atheist magazine." From the editorial: "For the past week, Charlie, an atheist newspaper, has achieved more miracles than all the saints and prophets combined."
Barker added, "Just as gunning down four Jews in a kosher supermarket is a hate crime against Jews for being Jews, many of our members are pointing out atheists were targeted as well, simply for expressing our irreverence."
Barker praised France's historic freethinking role. "It's the nation that produced Voltaire, the early atheists — such as Meslier and Diderot, the encylopedists — Lafayette, among so many other notables, and is proudly dedicated to secularism."
"We'll leave it to Charlie Hebdo to use this gift where it's most needed, whether to aid victims' surviving families, for security or whatever the magazine deems necessary," Gaylor said.
She said she's in awe that the weekly has kept publishing on schedule. The cover of this week's magazine depicts a tearful Muhammad saying "Je suis Charlie," the rallying cry after the terrorist attack, with the words "All is forgiven."
FFRF is inscribing one of its Emperor Has No Clothes awards (pictured above) to Charlie Hebdo and will be mailing the gold-plated statuette to the magazine. The statuette is made for FFRF by the company that produces the Oscars and is reserved for public figures who "tell it like it is" about religion.
"Charlie Hebdo perfectly exemplifies the child in the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale who 'tells it like it is'," FFRF notes.
Due to difficulties in donating this gift internationally, as this is announced, FFRF is planning to send a $20,000 USD check in the mail today, to be received by Jan. 20, but is still in correspondence with the organization over the details.