By Annie Laurie Gaylor & Dan Barker
Freedom From Religion Foundation
The Freedom From Religion Foundation's digital marquee today at Freethought Hall reads: "When the night is darkest, light shines brightest."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is not a partisan office or group. But we are realists. Those who care about the separation between religion and government, as well as religion's continuing grip on social policy in the United States, must be cognizant that Nov. 8 was a game-changer — and not a positive one for our essential work to buttress the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
That's because President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal the Johnson Amendment that governs church politicking. That law properly prohibits 501(c)(3) nonprofits from abusing their privilege by electioneering in tax-free institutions with tax-deductible donations.
What looked like a phony election-year promise now has now changed into a bona fide threat. If "stained glass money" turns into "dark money," political churches could function as unaccountable political money laundering machines and religious denominations would become PACs. Our secular republic would be imperiled.
Even more distressing is losing the chance — seemingly just within grasp — to swing the Supreme Court back to the secular side. It's not just that the next president will choose Scalia's replacement and break the 4-4 tie, but potentially will be given the opportunity to replace sympathetic justices, including the Divine RBG, age 83, Stephen Breyer, 78, and the reputed "swinger," Anthony Kennedy, age 80.
One bright piece of election news comes out of Oklahoma, where voters soundly rejected a referendum to rewrite the state constitution to allow direct government subsidy of religion.
Our second rotating marquee message today promises: "We're going to fight like hell for your rights." Our work has never been more important.
Freedom depends on freethinkers. Thank you for your support.