The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion.
In modern times, the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.
WHAT IS FFRF'S PURPOSE?
The purposes of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., as stated in its bylaws, are to promote the constitutional separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.
Incorporated in 1978 in Wisconsin, FFRF is a national membership association of more than 23,000 freethinkers: atheists, agnostics and skeptics of any pedigree. FFRF is a non-profit, tax exempt, educational organization under Internal Revenue Code 501 (c)(3). All dues and contributions are deductible for income tax purposes.
WHY IS FFRF CONCERNED WITH STATE/CHURCH ENTANGLEMENTS?
First Amendment violations are accelerating. The religious right is campaigning to raid the public till and advance religion at taxpayer expense, attacking our secular public schools, the rights of non-believers and the Establishment Clause.
FFRF recognizes that the United States was first among nations to adopt a secular Constitution. The founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution wanted citizens to be free to support the church of their choice, or no religion at all. Our Constitution was very purposefully written as a godless document, whose only references to religion are exclusionary.
It is vital to buttress the Jeffersonian "wall of separation between church and state" which has served our nation so well.
WHAT ARE FFRF'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
FFRF and its growing legal department act on countless state/church entanglements on behalf of its members and the public, ending hundreds of violations each year through education and persuasion, such as: Prayers and proselytizing in public schools and events, public funding for religious purposes and religious symbols on public property.
FFRF keeps several challenges in the courts at all times, and has ended a variety of violations of the First Amendment including: Removing a devotional Jesus painting from a public middle school (Ohio), ending a city chaplaincy and prayers (Pismo Beach, Calif.), removing a Ten Commandments display from schools (Virginia, Pennsylvania), halting a school Child Evangelism subsidy and removing a nativity scene from a city hall entrance (both Wisconsin). Other victories include:
- Winning the first federal case challenging "faith-based funding" of a pervasively sectarian social agency.
- Winning the first court order to a U.S. Cabinet revoking federal funds to a pervasively sectarian agency.
- Halting federal funds to a bible school offering no academic classes.
- Ending "Parish nursing" faith/health entanglements at two state universities.
- Halting a government chaplaincy to minister to state workers.
OTHER VICTORIES INCLUDE:
- Winning a legal challenge ending 51 years of illegal bible instruction in Rhea County (Dayton, Tennessee) public schools.
- Winning a federal court decision overturning a law declaring Good Friday a state holiday.
- Barring direct subsidy to religious schools, in a federal lawsuit upheld by an appeals court.
- Declaring unconstitutional the creation of a state post to "assist clergy" to save marriages.
- Stopping public financing of an annual nativity pageant at a state capitol.
- Ending commencement prayers at a Top Ten university.
- Halting religious postal cancellations.
WHAT ELSE DOES FFRF DO?
- Publishes the only freethought newspaper in the United States, Freethought Today.
- Sponsors annual high school, college and grad student essay competitions with cash awards.
- Funds a separate Nonbelief Relief charity.
- Conducts annual national conventions, honoring state/church, student and freethought activism.
- Sponsors an online forum for members.
- Bestows "The Emperor Has No Clothes" Award to public figures for "plain-speaking on religion."
- Promotes freedom from religion with educational books, literature and music CDs.
- Provides speakers for events and debates.
- Maintains a website at ffrf.org.
- Broadcasts Freethought Radio.
- Places freethought billboards and bus signs.
HOW CAN I JOIN FFRF?
FFRF's modest membership dues (single $40; household $50) include 10 issues annually of the newspaper Freethought Today and the biannual "Private Line," which reports financial and organizational information.
Help strengthen the freethought movement and maintain the treasured wall of separation between state and church. Join us!