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Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

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Amid the nasty anti-abortion moves that have been occurring globally, there is some good news that the Freedom From Religion Foundation is cheering.

On Sept. 8, Mexico’s high court delivered a unanimous ruling stating that it is unconstitutional to criminalize abortion in the country. This is significant because it nullifies criminalization laws for abortion in Coahuila, a Mexican state on the Texas border. The court president, Arturo Zaldívar, announced: “From now on you will not be able to, without violating the court’s criteria and the Constitution, charge any woman who aborts under the circumstances this court has ruled as valid.”

This is groundbreaking for women in Mexico, since 28 states currently penalize abortion with some exceptions and only four states allow abortion in most circumstances. Additionally, there are 4,600 open investigations to imprison women for abortions. FFRF applauds this ruling and hopes that Mexico will continue to prioritize women’s health care.

The country is heavily Roman Catholic. While there is no official religion, 80 percent of the population identifies as Catholic and many Mexicans see Catholicism as a fundamental part of their identity. The Catholic Church is a stalwart opponent of abortion rights and has repeatedly maneuvered to get abortion outlawed in Mexico. For example, in 2007, the Catholic Church in Mexico City gathered 32,000 signatures in the hopes of banning abortion. Additionally, the Church has threatened to excommunicate abortion-rights legislators.

Consequently, public approval for abortion rights in Mexico is only 48 percent, although this has steadily climbed. Indeed, many people were seen praying outside the Supreme Court when it handed down its pro-women judgment. Nevertheless, the work of Mexican women’s rights groups — as well as science and secular values — has prevailed with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Meanwhile, right across the border in Texas, abortion has been outlawed after six weeks of gestation and people can be paid $10,000 for successfully suing providers and individuals who help women obtain an abortion. As secular voters in the United States, we can look to Mexico as a source of inspiration. We need to ask our legislators to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would render the Texas abortion ban (as well as any other medically unnecessary abortion restriction in the United States), illegal.

The pushback against anti-abortion and anti-women tendencies needs to spread further into North America.

Photo via Shutterstock by Alejandro_Munoz

Keep State & Church Separate

Ron Reagan

If you're as alarmed as "unabashed atheist" Ron Reagan by the intrusion of religion into our secular government please join the Freedom From Religion Foundation. FFRF is the nation’s largest and most effective association of atheists and agnostics, working to keep state and church separate, just like our Founders intended.

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Ron Reagan New Ad

A fresh version of an iconic Freedom From Religion Foundation ad featuring Ron Reagan is set to premier on Rachel Maddow’s and Stephen Colbert’s highly watched shows.

The updated spot, in which the “unabashed atheist” is still notably “not afraid of burning in hell,” will debut on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.” The ad is slated to run six times, starting Tuesday, Sept. 7, through Thursday, Sept. 9, and then from Tuesday, Sept. 14, through Thursday, Sept. 16.

The new 30-second spot will also appear six times on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” on CBS nationally, from Tuesday, Sept. 20, through Thursday, Sept. 22, and the week after from Tuesday, Sept. 28, through Thursday, Sept. 30.

This year is the first year that the CBS national network has accepted the ad.

In the updated TV spot, Reagan, a former ballet dancer, is still seated on stage in an empty auditorium — but the new ad is more colorful, with added technical pizzaz and a few minor modifications. Reagan’s memorable lines still sing:

Hi, I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I’m alarmed, as you may be, by the intrusion of religion into our secular government. That's why I’m asking you to join the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation’s largest and most effective association of atheists and agnostics, working to keep state and church separate, just like our Founders intended. Please join the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.

Ron also recorded a more intimate 50-second digital spot reflecting on what’s changed since he first recorded the spot in 2014. Watch here.

Reagan, who is the son of President Reagan and Nancy Reagan, has spoken on FFRF’s “Freethought Matters” TV show about why he stopped attending church as a 12-year-old and what happened when he told his father. He has received FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award for his outspoken, life-long identification as an atheist and advocate of the separation between religion and government.

After FFRF aired the ad during several Democratic presidential debates carried by CNN in 2019, Reagan was credited with “winning” and becoming the top trending search on Google.

“We are so grateful to Ron for continuing to lend his celebrity to the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Everywhere we go, including in Congress, the public now recognizes FFRF, thanks to Ron, and realizes there are many atheists and freethinkers in America, including the son of a conservative president.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 35,000 members across the country. FFRF protects the constitutional separation between state and church and educates about nontheism. FFRF advertising is made possible by kind contributions from members. Donations to FFRF are deductible for income-tax purposes.

Ed Asner

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Freethought Matters” TV show launches its new season this Sunday with delightful clips from the best past interviews on the program.

You will watch engaging exchanges with an impressive array of names, including philosopher Daniel Dennett, entertainer John Davidson, women’s rights fighter Cecile Richards, atheist icon Ron Reagan, performer Julia Sweeney, U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman and Eleanor Holmes Norton and, above all, the late Ed “Lou Grant” Asner, who is seen serenading FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

If you don’t live in the quarter-plus of the nation where the show broadcasts on Sunday, you can already catch the interview on the “Freethought Matters” playlist on FFRF’s YouTube Channel.  New shows go up every Thursday. You can also receive notifications when we post new episodes of "Freethought Matters" by subscribing to FFRF's YouTube channel. The episode will be airing in over a dozen cities on Sunday, Sept. 5.

Coming shows this season include interviews with Richard Dawkins, The Nation’s Katha Pollitt, Professor Ryan Burge — a leading expert in the rise of the “Nones” — Jay Rosenstein, the maker of a Peabody Award-winning documentary on the Supreme Court’s first public school religion case, and Candace R.M. Gorham, author of the upcoming book, On Death, Dying, and Disbelief.

“Freethought Matters” airs in:

  • Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.
  • Houston, KIAH-CW (Ch. 39), Sundays at 11 a.m.
  • Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.
  • Minneapolis, KSTC-IND (Ch. 45), Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
  • New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.
  • Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco, KICU-IND (Ch. 36), Sundays at 10 a.m.
  • Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50 or Ch. 23 or Ch. 3), Sundays at 8 a.m.

“Freethought Matters” had an array of impressive guests last season. These included: pundit Eleanor Clift, actor and FFRF After-Life Member John de Lancie of “Star Trek” “Q” fame, Professor Steven Pinker, one of the most eminent global public intellectuals, and A.C. Grayling, a prominent British philosopher and the author of about 30 books, who grappled on the show with philosophy and the pandemic.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers!