Before I’m gone to Golden Pond . . . By Bill Dunn

The higher-ups insist that I write something about stepping down as editor, even though I’m more of a word processor than a writer. Annie Laurie claims I have a distinctive voice. “Otherwise, they’ll think you absconded.” Dan agrees, after a fashion, that “His bark is worse than his bite.”

In the beginning, the genesis of all this, was a dozen or 15 years ago when Annie Laurie wrote a letter on my family’s behalf to the school district. My daughter’s middle school teacher had handed back tests while commenting (paraphrase), “Don’t worry if you didn’t do that well. There’s only been one perfect person in the history of the world and he died on the cross.”

Faster than you can say “no one died for Kaitlin’s sins,” the principal wrote back that he’d told the teacher to keep her religious beliefs to herself in school. That’s when I became a true believer in FFRF’s efficacy.

I needn’t remind you how badly outnumbered this “little organization that could” is, but will anyway. We have fewer than 20 staffers. One example from the other side of the state-church divide is the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, also based in Madison, Wis. Evangelical and interdenominational, InterVarsity boasts that it has 1,137 staff members and 985 chapters on 649 U.S. college campuses. Income last year was $102 million.

That’s just one of hundreds of religious advocacy/legal groups (and how many tens of thousands of places of worship?) blanketing America with myth and superstition. Bonus stats: The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, with 1,200 ministry personnel, had a presence in 2013 on 9,000 school campuses, including junior high and youth sports levels. The Child Evangelism Fellowship oversees more than 3,000 Christian Good News Clubs in public elementary schools. How about they keep their good news to themselves for a change?

The claim about Christians being persecuted in the U.S. is pitiful and laughable. Muslims are also starting to get a foothold in public buildings, with space set aside for their seemingly incessant daily prayer. “If a woman is sure that no non-Mahram (marriageable man) will enter the place where she prays, then there will be no wrong in praying without wearing socks.” Not to mention (sorry, I am) that courts claim Jewish ritual enclosures called eruvin are secular in nature and thus permissible in public spaces.

FFRF and like-minded groups need freethinkers’ activism and support to level the playing field as best we can in the face of overwhelming odds, but we’re slowly gaining. Slow and steady wins the race.

I can’t say enough good about FFRF’s many steadfast supporters, who pay the freight and have provided us with this beautiful new building in which to ply our trade. The pleasure is all ours. And to my fellow tradeswomen and men, you’re a total hoot and so astute!

My first Social Security contribution ($193 for the year) was in 1966. Fifty years seems like long enough of the daily grind. Sleep in on Sundays and Mondays. From here on in, only dog is my co-pilot.

— Bill Dunn

Freedom From Religion Foundation