FFRF Complaints June July 2011

FFRF: Iowa church discount in error

The Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Class A Midwest League baseball team in Iowa affiliated with the Los Angeles Angels, promotes Sunday games as “Faith Day” and discounts tickets by $2.50 for people with a church bulletin. That violates the U.S. and Iowa Civil Rights Acts, FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt told the team’s general manager in a May 26 letter.

“As a place of ‘public accommodation,’ it is illegal for Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball to discriminate, or show favoritism, on the basis of religion,” Schmitt wrote.

Texas governor wraps himself in prayer

On behalf of its 700 Texas members, FFRF called on Gov. Rick Perry to disassociate from a prayer conclave at Reliant Stadium in Houston and to rescind his prayer proclamation calling Aug. 6 a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation’s Challenges.”

“The Response: A Call to Prayer for a National in Crisis,” although privately sponsored, was initiated by Perry.

Perry has invited the 49 other governors and other public officials to participate in this “non-denominational Christian prayer and fasting” event to deal with “financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters.”

The event, described as “a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting,” has adopted the homophobic American Family Association’s statement of faith. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in June that he intended to attend.

FFRF called on Perry remove himself as an endorser of the event. The Houston Clergy Council in mid-June issued a statement condemning Perry’s proclamation of prayer and fasting, noting the American Family Association’s anti-gay and anti-Muslim record, and saying, “We ask that Rick Perry leave the ministry to us and refocus his energy on the work of governing our state.”

Contact Gov. Rick Perry:
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Phone: (512) 463-2000
FAX: (512) 463-1849

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 241S
Topeka KS 66612-1590
Phone: 785-296-3232
Email: [email protected]

FFRF calls for Rapture fraud probe

In a May 31 letter, FFRF called for California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate how many innocent people may have suffered financially, emotionally and physically due to Pastor Harold Camping’s $100 million campaign predicting Armageddon on May 21.

FFRF noted numerous calls for apologies by victims of Camping’s “Rapture” crusade and concerns for the untold numbers of people he and his organization duped.

“Our organization seeks to hold Camping accountable in a more tangible way,” said the letter from FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker. “We ask you to investigate Camping’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Family Stations Inc., for fraud and deceit.”

Family Stations is an umbrella for Camping’s religious projects.

“We understand that Family Stations Inc. maintains that the primary source of the $100 million was the liquidation of property owned by the nonprofit, whose reported donations totaled more than $18 million in 2009 — well before his Rapture campaign reached its zenith. It is not unreasonable to believe that at least that amount comprised part of the total advertising budget in 2010 and 2011.

“There are media reports of dozens of Camping’s followers who liquidated their own assets to contribute tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to Camping’s organization, convinced (by Camping) that they would have no need for the money or material goods after May 21 and that they were needed by Family Stations Inc., in order to advertise for the proclaimed Rapture. Others incurred thousands of dollars in debt through extravagant purchases and family vacations, allegedly convinced (by Camping) that they should enjoy the world before its impending destruction. Some quit their jobs, sold or abandoned their homes, packed their families and moved to prepare for the ‘end of the world.’ ”

The formal complaint provided evidence that the actions of Camping and Family Stations “seem to show that they neither behaved nor conducted business as if they sincerely believed the world would end on May 21, and they contined to solicit donations up to, on, and after that date.”

To read FFRF letters, and news releases in full, visit ffrf.org/news/. To read current Action Alerts, visit ffrf.org/news/action. You may sign up to get on FFRF’s e-lists.

Freedom From Religion Foundation