Freethought Today · April 2015

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Theocrat group awards FFRF ‘blue ribbon’ by Andrew L. Seidel

By Andrew L. Seidel
FFRF Staff Attorney

The Liberty Institute, a Texas-based theocratic legal group founded in 1972 as the Free Market Foundation. released its annual "Survey of Hostility to Religion in America." Ironically titled "Undeniable," it's full of misinformation, twisted facts and erroneous conclusions.

My friend Rob Boston at Americans United helped debunk several of the stories that the institute has used previously, but I don't want to focus on the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of factual errors in their ponderous 400-page cut-and-paste job. Instead, I'll just point out that its fearmongering shows what and who scares them. Liberty Institute is terrified of, and perhaps a bit obsessed with, FFRF and the great work we do.

The timorous survey mentions FFRF 420 times in 393 pages. On top of those 420 mentions, it references our website 185 times. Thanks for all the hits! Our friends at the American Civil Liberties Union come in second with 260 mentions.

The survey came on the heels of an institute release listing its top "five foes": FFRF, Americans United, American Atheists, the American Humanist Association and the ACLU. Then the American Family Association — the $30 million hate group — released its "Bigotry Map" and rudely left our hardworking friends at the Center For Inquiry off the map. The map had to be puffed up to scare AFA's donors, so the group included FFRF and AU chapters and even college atheist groups.
You have to hand it to them, they really know how to name things. "Liberty" Institute, "Undeniable" and the Survey of "Hostility to Religion" in America. They simply choose the word that best represents the opposite of their intent. Big Brother and the Ministry of Love would have been so proud. Only in the warped mind of an evangelical Christian law firm does upholding the separation of state and church amount to hostility. They need to feel persecuted, even if they aren't.
And because Christians are (for now) the majority in this country, vastly overrepresented in government and used to exercising their privilege without being challenged, the institute scraped together this glorified Internet search. It's clear that they envy FFRF's effectiveness.

If you look at their website, they claim to have won 90% of their cases against secular groups. However, Liberty Institute has gone up against FFRF precisely once in court. That was the case of the Jesus portrait in the public school in Jackson, Ohio. FFRF and the ACLU won, and the school district, which unfortunately made the mistake of listening to religious demagogues, ended up paying nearly $100,000 in legal fees.

So, at least against FFRF, they've lost 100% of their cases. But why let facts get in the way of mythology?

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