State/church victors appear on Sunday’s “Freethought Matters”

Hart Williamson

Two victorious secular plaintiffs provide a lively account of their wins on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s TV talk show this Sunday.

On the first half of “It Pays to Complain — Featuring Two State/Church Victors,” “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interview Ben Hart, a feisty octogenarian freethinker with a fun sense of humor who just won his lawsuit with FFRF in his state of Kentucky over the most famous license plate in the world. (Watch the show to find out what exactly the plate says.) And then on the second half, Barker and Gaylor talk with Florida activist David Williamson, who runs FFRF’s chapter in Central Florida and was a key plaintiff in a major case that FFRF won against county censorship of nonreligious invocations.

“I have the most expensive plate in the country,” Hart quips on the show. “The state of Kentucky had to pay for it — they paid $150,000 in attorney’s fees.”

Williamson, more seriously, explains why he fought in the courts.

“We want to educate officials and the public about who we are and why we’re members of the community alongside everyone else,” he says. “We want to normalize our participation and the diversity in the community. And we want to engage the local media.”

If you don’t live in the more than one-fourth of the country where the show broadcasts on Sunday, you can already catch the interview on FFRF’s YouTube channel.

This is the fall season’s 20th episode of “Freethought Matters,” airing in over a dozen cities on Sunday, Jan. 10.

Shows in the coming year will include interviews with a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus; Bangladeshi-American secular activist Bonya Ahmed; Public Religion Research Institute founder Robert P. Jones, author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity; and the distinguished British philosopher A.C. Grayling.

“Freethought Matters” airs in:

  • Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.
  • Houston, KUBE-IND (Ch. 57), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.
  • Minneapolis, KSTC-IND (Ch. 45), Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
  • New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.
  • Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco, KICU-IND (Ch. 36), Sundays at 10 a.m.
  • Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 8 a.m.

Previous guests from the fall season include: pundit Eleanor Clift, whose interview you can watch here, actor and FFRF After-Life Member John de Lancie of “Star Trek” “Q” fame, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Linda Greenhouse, the country’s leading analyst of the U.S. Supreme Court, and legislative stalwart and feminist and civil rights pioneer U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton. One of the most eminent public intellectuals in the world, Professor Steven Pinker, was interviewed a few episodes ago talking about his new course on rationality. Legendary TV host, actor and singer John Davidson was the guest in early December. And recently the show featured Ann Druyan, the co-creator of “Cosmos,” possibly the most acclaimed TV series of all time.

Watch previous seasons here, including interviews with Ron Reagan, Julia Sweeney and Ed Asner, as well as U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman and Jamie Raskin, co-chairs of the Congressional Freethought Caucus.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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