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October 9-11, 2015

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Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

5x8-Thomas-Jefferson-banner proof2 5x8-John-Adams-banner proof2

The nation's largest association of atheists and agnostics and its Chicago chapter are placing a patriotic red-white-and-blue secular display to counter a large Catholic Easter display at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago for the second Easter in a row.

Two colorful 8-foot banners on a 12-foot structure promoting the secular views of founding fathers will be placed by Saturday in Daley Plaza by the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and its FFRF Metropolitan Chicago chapter.

One banner reads: "In Reason We Trust," and pictures Thomas Jefferson, displaying his famous advice to a nephew, "Question with boldness even the existence of a god." The other side proclaims, "Keep State & Religion Separate," and pictures President John Adams, who signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which assured ". . . the government of the United States is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. . ."

The FFRF display is designed to counter what is believed to be days of round-the-clock prayer and evangelism in Daley Plaza by the Thomas More Society, a Catholic group, which has evangelized in the plaza every Easter since 2011. The group's aim, through its "Divine Mercy Project," is to seek the "conversion of Chicago, America and the Whole World."

The Catholic society is expected to place a 10-foot-tall painting of Jesus, which it claims was miraculously inspired, with the statement "Jesus, I trust in you." The painting is accompanied by a 14-foot cross on the public plaza. In past years, Catholic supporters have also held 24-hour prayer vigils, distributed thousands of prayer cards and hosted anti-abortion rallies in front of the Jesus painting.

Rather than place such displays on church grounds, the Thomas More Society explicitly seeks to take over public property for its purposes, claiming that at Daley Plaza it encounters "militants, feminists, Satanists, radical Muslims, just about everybody."

FFRF additionally has two smaller posters affixed to each side of its display, explaining its purpose, written by Tom Cara, Chicago chapter director: "Not looking to convert? Neither are we," protesting use of government property to endorse the beliefs of a specific religious group. Another poster questions the "divine mercy" of the bible upon which Catholicism is predicated.

FFRF thanks FFRF Staff Attorneys Patrick Elliott, Andrew Seidel and Sam Grover for fashioning the display, and Tom Cara and other volunteers with its active Chicago chapter.

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1nohatejkljThe Freedom From Religion Foundation, a leading opponent of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is taking its "Repeal RFRA" campaign to the readers of The New York Times. Its quarter-page advocacy ad, headlined "No hate in any state — or in these United States" is expected to appear in Sunday's Times in the front news section.

The ad points out, "The problem isn't just in Indiana," referring to the national furor erupting over Indiana's RFRA. FFRF points out twenty-some states have passed RFRA, as well as Congress in 1993. View high resolution ad here

"The Religious Freedom Restoration Act grants religionists an uncivil right — the liberty to break laws, including civil rights protections, they claim offend their religious faith," FFRF's ad asserts.

FFRF notes, "The federal RFRA brought us the Supreme Court's infamous Hobby Lobby ruling last year, setting women's contraceptive rights back half a century." The state/church watchdog, with more than 22,000 members nationwide, warns: "There will be more uncivil rulings like this until RFRA is repealed."

FFRF placed a full-page ad protesting the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling last year, which upheld employee discrimination against women based on the federal RFRA. FFRF's ad urged that it is time to repeal RFRA, and castigated the "all-male, all-Roman Catholic" Supreme Court majority for placing "religious wrongs over women's rights." 

"Don't be fooled that Indiana and Arkansas changes to their RFRA laws, to more closely model the federal RFRA, alleviate the problem. The problem is the federal RFRA. The time is ripe. Secularists and those who treasure true religious liberty must now urge Congress, and other RFRA states, to repeal this dangerous law privileging faith over civil rights," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

The ad takes readers to a webpage informing citizens of ways to lobby against RFRA, and background material.

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Vouchers hurt schools - Click to watch ad

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Vouchers Supreme Court - Click to watch ad

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has produced two 30-second TV commercials to air in Madison, Eau Claire-La Crosse and a few other Wisconsin markets, raising the alarm on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's unprecedented bid to expand vouchers to send children to religious schools at public expense.

"We have a sense of urgency to inform the public about the disastrous consequences, if Walker's voucher expansion is adopted," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "His reckless scheme would defund and ultimately destroy our public schools."

Walker's budget bill would, if enacted, permit half of the students in Madison to move to private, mostly religious schools at taxpayer expense.

"We must end Wisconsin's failed voucher experiment, not expand it," Gaylor said, pointing to major abuses. 

The first spot explains:

Our public schools are under attack by Governor Walker. He wants to take money from our public schools and use it to support someone else's religion. Your tax dollars shouldn't fund religiously-segregated schools. Nearly half of our state's students would be eligible for vouchers under Walker's scheme. Vouchers are bad for children and bad for education. Help us stop Walker's brazen attack on our public schools.

A second, more dramatic ad, says:

There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed. [quoting a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision]

Stop Governor Walker's disastrous proposal to expand vouchers for religiously-segregated schools.

The TV commercials begin airing next Monday, April 6 and will run on the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. news broadcasts for two weeks on WISC-TV 3000, the Madison-area CBS affiliate. They'll also air in La Crosse-Eau Claire and some other Wisconsin markets. FFRF is also airing the ads locally during CBS Sunday Morning and a few other news programs over the next two weeks.

The ad takes viewers to a splash page, ffrf.org/stopvouchers, which not only encourages them to contact legislators, but provides background and anti-voucher FAQs. FFRF notes that Walker's recently expanded statewide voucher system has resulted in a system where 100% of the state-funded schools are Christian, and 73% of students attend Roman Catholic schools.

FFRF, a national state/church watchdog based in Madison, Wis., has 22,000 nonreligious members nationwide, including more than 1,300 in Wisconsin.

FFRF will post the billboard message below in a Madison downtown location in mid-April. 

Read WISC-TV Madison ad schedule hereRead Eau Claire WKBT-TV schedule here.

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Repeal RFRA

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IT'S TIME TO REPEAL FEDERAL AND STATE RFRAS
The so-called religious freedom restoration act
 

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Help ensure no hate in any state 
 
Religious protection laws, once considered shields, are now being used as weapons against the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, atheists, and even against women’s right to birth control. A law euphemistically called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed by Congress in 1993, is spawning state versions, including the Indiana law passed in April 2015 creating a nationwide furor. Yet Indiana is not alone in passing legislation that makes minorities, gays, nonbelievers and women vulnerable to religious bigotry. At least 20 other states have passed state RFRAs, with more states considering such laws. In the United States, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution protects religious liberty. RFRA is not only unnecessary, but is being used to undermine true religious liberty. The best protection for religious freedom is a government free from religion.
 
Below find out why RFRA should be repealed at the state and federal levels, and how you can take simple actions to effect change. 

Read FFRF's FAQ about RFRA here. 
 
contact president, congress members
 
Please immediately call, email and write:

CONTACT

Please immediately call, email and write:

Your U.S. Senators 

Your district Representative

Demand that your representatives in Congress uphold women's rights over religious wrongs, and restore some semblance of fairness to our corporate system, by repealing RFRA now.

TALKING POINTS

Use your own words if possible, or cut and paste any of the wording below. Always identify yourself as a constituent. (Also see FFRF's statement on the Hobby Lobby ruling for more arguments.)

I am writing as your constituent to urge you to take action in the wake of the Supreme Court's unprecedented decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Please take action to repeal the misguided Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been used to decide that a corporation trumps the civil and reproductive rights of women workers to choose their own form of contraception.

I'm dismayed and frightened by the implications of this decision, which puts the personal religious views of corporate executives above the rights of tens of thousands of employees. Corporations are not people and a corporation cannot practice religion. Yet the Supreme Court has ruled that the access to contraceptive coverage granted by the Affordable Care Act creates a significant burden on a corporation's free exercise of religion. The decision is completely divorced from reality!

The main justification for this outlandish decision is the Supreme Court's holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects Hobby Lobby from the generally applicable rules of the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of Congress's original intent, RFRA has become an untenable law. It carves out vast exceptions to neutral laws that only certain religious sects can claim. In the corporate context, this provides an unfair competitive advantage to any corporation willing to claim that it has a religious objection to a regulation.

Employers should not have a right to deny fundamental rights to employees in the name of "religious liberty." Please introduce or sign onto a bill to repeal RFRA immediately.

 
 
 
 

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- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/action/item/20865-ask-congress-to-counter-supreme-court-s-hobby-lobby-ruling#sthash.b22CJfKs.74qPIuyW.dpuf
Please immediately call, email and write:

CONTACT

Please immediately call, email and write:

Your U.S. Senators 

Your district Representative

Demand that your representatives in Congress uphold women's rights over religious wrongs, and restore some semblance of fairness to our corporate system, by repealing RFRA now.

TALKING POINTS

Use your own words if possible, or cut and paste any of the wording below. Always identify yourself as a constituent. (Also see FFRF's statement on the Hobby Lobby ruling for more arguments.)

I am writing as your constituent to urge you to take action in the wake of the Supreme Court's unprecedented decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Please take action to repeal the misguided Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been used to decide that a corporation trumps the civil and reproductive rights of women workers to choose their own form of contraception.

I'm dismayed and frightened by the implications of this decision, which puts the personal religious views of corporate executives above the rights of tens of thousands of employees. Corporations are not people and a corporation cannot practice religion. Yet the Supreme Court has ruled that the access to contraceptive coverage granted by the Affordable Care Act creates a significant burden on a corporation's free exercise of religion. The decision is completely divorced from reality!

The main justification for this outlandish decision is the Supreme Court's holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects Hobby Lobby from the generally applicable rules of the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of Congress's original intent, RFRA has become an untenable law. It carves out vast exceptions to neutral laws that only certain religious sects can claim. In the corporate context, this provides an unfair competitive advantage to any corporation willing to claim that it has a religious objection to a regulation.

Employers should not have a right to deny fundamental rights to employees in the name of "religious liberty." Please introduce or sign onto a bill to repeal RFRA immediately.

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/action/item/20865-ask-congress-to-counter-supreme-court-s-hobby-lobby-ruling#sthash.b22CJfKs.74qPIuyW.dpuf
Please immediately call, email and tweet:
 
Comments: 202-456-1111
 
 
 
tweet public officials, celebrities and corporations who don't like indiana law 
 
Ask them to fight Federal RFRA, too! Use the hashtag #RepealRFRA and tweet:

The White House @WhiteHouse
Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton
Audra McDonald @AudraEqualityMc
George Takei @GeorgeTakei
NFL @NFL
Angie’s List @AngiesList
Gen Con @Gen_Con
Apple CEO Tim Cook @tim_cook
Walmart @Walmart
Salesforce @Salesforce
NCAA @NCAA
NASCAR @NASCAR

here is what is happening in your state 
 
Professor Marci Hamilton, foremost legal expert in the harm of RFRA, keeps citizens posted on what’s happening in your state, and posts timely commentary on RFRA problems. If you live in a state that’s adopted RFRA, contact your governor and legislators today. Read more here!
 
Find out why it’s time to repeal RFRA
 
ffrf asks governor to repeal state rfras, including conn. and va. 
 
It’s great that the governors of Connecticut and Virginia have condemned Indiana’s discrimination law. But did you know their states also have adopted RFRA laws codifying the right of religious people to be exempted from civil rights laws? Read more
 
stop the hate #boycottindiana, overturn rfra laws everywhere
 
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When my mother-in-law Pat Barker's eyes were opened to religion after a lifetime of devout fundamentalist belief, she poignantly told my husband, Dan: "I'm so glad I don't have to hate anymore."

"You don't have to hate anymore" could be the slogan of the movement known by the hashtag #boycottindiana.

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/22672-stop-the-hate-boycottindiana-overturn-rfra-laws-everywhere#sthash.TlL2gRz7.dpuf

When my mother-in-law Pat Barker's eyes were opened to religion after a lifetime of devout fundamentalist belief, she poignantly told my husband, Dan: "I'm so glad I don't have to hate anymore."

"You don't have to hate anymore" could be the slogan of the movement known by the hashtag #boycottindiana.

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/22672-stop-the-hate-boycottindiana-overturn-rfra-laws-everywhere#sthash.TlL2gRz7.dpuf

When my mother-in-law Pat Barker's eyes were opened to religion after a lifetime of devout fundamentalist belief, she poignantly told my husband, Dan: "I'm so glad I don't have to hate anymore."

"You don't have to hate anymore" could be the slogan of the movement known by the hashtag #boycottindiana.

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/22672-stop-the-hate-boycottindiana-overturn-rfra-laws-everywhere#sthash.TlL2gRz7.dpufWri
Writes FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor: “When my mother-in-law Pat Barker’s eyes were opened to religion after a lifetime of devout fundamentalist belief, she poignantly told my husband, Dan: ‘I’m so glad I don’t have to hate anymore.’ ‘You don’t have to hate anymore’ could be the slogan of the movement known by the hashtag #boycottindiana. Read more!
 
welcome to the fight: religion should not trump the law
 
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FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel tells you why Indiana’s law was no surprise to FFRF. Read more. Also read Andrew’s column, ‘Five Reasons Why Hobby Lobby Ruling Should Terrify you.’
 
dispelling myths by apologists for rfra
 
FFRF Attorney Andrew Seidel dispels myths by apologists for RFRA and paints the big picture. Read more here!
 
ffrf, marci hamilton brief calls on supreme court to overturn federal rfra
 
FFRF, working with noted state/church attorney Marci A. Hamilton, asked the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case, to declare the federal RFRA unconstitutional. Read why here
 
what's wrong with hobby lobby ruling? 
 
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it is lawful for corporations to deny women employees contraceptive insurance coverage otherwise mandated by the Affordable Care Act if they claim the corporation’s “religion” is offended by birth control. The decision was not decided on the basis of the Constitution, but the Congressionally-enacted RFRA. Congress need only repeal RFRA to ensure worker and women’s rights. Read more here!
 
VIEW FFRF'S FULL-PAGE AD IN NEW YORK TIMES AGAINST HOBBY LOBBY RULING
Please immediately call, email and write:

CONTACT

Please immediately call, email and write:

Your U.S. Senators 

Your district Representative

Demand that your representatives in Congress uphold women's rights over religious wrongs, and restore some semblance of fairness to our corporate system, by repealing RFRA now.

TALKING POINTS

Use your own words if possible, or cut and paste any of the wording below. Always identify yourself as a constituent. (Also see FFRF's statement on the Hobby Lobby ruling for more arguments.)

I am writing as your constituent to urge you to take action in the wake of the Supreme Court's unprecedented decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Please take action to repeal the misguided Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been used to decide that a corporation trumps the civil and reproductive rights of women workers to choose their own form of contraception.

I'm dismayed and frightened by the implications of this decision, which puts the personal religious views of corporate executives above the rights of tens of thousands of employees. Corporations are not people and a corporation cannot practice religion. Yet the Supreme Court has ruled that the access to contraceptive coverage granted by the Affordable Care Act creates a significant burden on a corporation's free exercise of religion. The decision is completely divorced from reality!

The main justification for this outlandish decision is the Supreme Court's holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects Hobby Lobby from the generally applicable rules of the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of Congress's original intent, RFRA has become an untenable law. It carves out vast exceptions to neutral laws that only certain religious sects can claim. In the corporate context, this provides an unfair competitive advantage to any corporation willing to claim that it has a religious objection to a regulation.

Employers should not have a right to deny fundamental rights to employees in the name of "religious liberty." Please introduce or sign onto a bill to repeal RFRA immediately.

 
 
 
 

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- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/action/item/20865-ask-congress-to-counter-supreme-court-s-hobby-lobby-ruling#sthash.b22CJfKs.74qPIuyW.dpuf
Please immediately call, email and write:

CONTACT

Please immediately call, email and write:

Your U.S. Senators 

Your district Representative

Demand that your representatives in Congress uphold women's rights over religious wrongs, and restore some semblance of fairness to our corporate system, by repealing RFRA now.

TALKING POINTS

Use your own words if possible, or cut and paste any of the wording below. Always identify yourself as a constituent. (Also see FFRF's statement on the Hobby Lobby ruling for more arguments.)

I am writing as your constituent to urge you to take action in the wake of the Supreme Court's unprecedented decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Please take action to repeal the misguided Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been used to decide that a corporation trumps the civil and reproductive rights of women workers to choose their own form of contraception.

I'm dismayed and frightened by the implications of this decision, which puts the personal religious views of corporate executives above the rights of tens of thousands of employees. Corporations are not people and a corporation cannot practice religion. Yet the Supreme Court has ruled that the access to contraceptive coverage granted by the Affordable Care Act creates a significant burden on a corporation's free exercise of religion. The decision is completely divorced from reality!

The main justification for this outlandish decision is the Supreme Court's holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects Hobby Lobby from the generally applicable rules of the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of Congress's original intent, RFRA has become an untenable law. It carves out vast exceptions to neutral laws that only certain religious sects can claim. In the corporate context, this provides an unfair competitive advantage to any corporation willing to claim that it has a religious objection to a regulation.

Employers should not have a right to deny fundamental rights to employees in the name of "religious liberty." Please introduce or sign onto a bill to repeal RFRA immediately.

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/action/item/20865-ask-congress-to-counter-supreme-court-s-hobby-lobby-ruling#sthash.b22CJfKs.74qPIuyW.dpuf
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Wisconsin Vouchers

What is the current Wisconsin voucher system like?

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

 

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FFRF is a member of Atheist Alliance International.