Freethought Radio -- February 25, 2021

Ideas & ideologies

Colorado is getting tough on molesting clergy, Congress is passing the Equality Act to protect the LGBTQ community against Christian nationalists, and taxes are being appropriated to pay for a Kentucky church. FFRF intern and blogger Barbara Alvarez tells us about the bad South Carolina abortion law and about how members of Congress are being shunned by their evangelical families for voting to certify the President. Then we talk with Professor James Lull about his book Evolutionary Communication: An Introduction, linking the development of ideas and ideology.

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Freethought Radio -- February 18, 2021

Anointed with Oil

From Black History to Black Gold. We listen to the voice of the freethinking NAACP founder W.E.B. Du Bois and the music of nonreligious African-American composers. After we hear Lena Horne sing the irreverent Yip Harburg song "Ain't It The Truth?", FFRF's Director of Communications Amit Pal joins as a co-host to interview Professor Darren Dochuk, author of the illuminating book, Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America.

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Freethought Radio -- February 11, 2021

Natural Born Rebel

Christian nationalism and Roman Catholic greed are the themes for the first half of the show. We talk about Jeep's religiously divisive Super Bowl ad and the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, accused of inciting Christian Nationalists to carry out the Jan. 6 insurrection. We hear talk show host Bill Maher's takedown of the religious extremists who stormed the Capitol. Then we speak with British author Rachel Holmes about her new biography of the early 20th-century feminist, atheist, activist and reformer, Sylvia Pankhurst: Natural Born Rebel.

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- February 4, 2021

Investigate the Church

We call on the Wisconsin attorney general to launch an investigation into the widespread sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church. FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne tells us the tragic story of an abuse victim who recently committed suicide when the church abandoned him. Then we hear the humorous and irreverent "Noah" by poet and Darwin scholar Philip Appleman, read by Philip and his wife Marjorie.

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Freethought Radio -- January 28, 2021

Secular Rituals

Christian Nationalists were among the insurrectionists on Jan. 6, but they were also among dozens of members of Congress who voted against certification. Mandisa Thomas of Black Nonbelievers tells us why her group is opposing Rep. James Clyburn's proposal for a National Hymn. Then we speak with Sasha Sagan, daughter of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, about her book For Small Creatures Such As We: Rituals For Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World.

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Freethought Radio -- January 21, 2021

This Land Is Our Land

We talk about the three "I" words in the news: insurrection, impeachment and inauguration. We hear part of Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem, "The Hill I Climb," freethinker John Legend's Inauguration-Day performance of "Feeling Good," and Sharon Jones' rendition of "This Land Is Your Land." FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott describes our newest lawsuit challenging a discriminatory Trump administration regulation. Then U.S. Representative Jared Huffman, co-founder of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, joins us to describe his experience during the insurrection, the impeachment of Trump and the Inauguration of President Biden.

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Freethought Radio -- January 14, 2021

Humanism for Kids

Religion played a huge part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at our national Capitol. We denounce Christian Nationalist members of government who participated in the riot, and hear Congressional Freethought Caucus Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Jared Huffman, D-Calif., give impassioned remarks at the impeachment hearings. Then we speak with 10-yr-old Elle Harris, author of the charming new book, Elle The Humanist.

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Freethought Radio -- January 7, 2021

Optimism for 2021

After discussing the Christian Nationalist roots of the insurrection at the national Capitol on Jan. 6, and calling for President Trump's impeachment, we listen to Rep. Jamie Raskin's eloquent plea for the passage of Resolution 512 calling for an end to blasphemy laws. Then we speak with FFRF's Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann, who explains why there is optimism for the freethought, science, equality and state/church agendas with the incoming administration and new Congress.

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Freethought Radio -- December 31, 2020

Happy 2021!

We celebrate the new year by saying farewell to the disastrous 2020. We play some comfort music and protest music by freethinking songwriters, performed (mostly) by freethinking singers. We hear Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Yip Harburg, Jerome Kern, Stephen Sondheim, and more — performed by Tom Lehrer, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Nina Simone, Elton John, James Taylor, Cher, Dan Barker and Shelley Segal.

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- December 24, 2020

Solstice Cheer

This week we present a musical medley of irreverent and celebratory secular holiday songs by Tom Lehrer, Tim Minchin, Roy Zimmerman, Dan Barker, Tahira Clayton, Addison Frei, Brent Michael Davids, Steven Phelps, Ken Lonnquist, and the London Humanist Choir; and we hear agnostic orator Robert Ingersoll's 1897 recitation of "What I Want For Christmas."

Listen to the podcast here.  

Freethought Radio -- December 17, 2020

Winter Solstice 2020

FFRF attorney Liz Cavell describes FFRF's alarming new report: "Religious liberty under threat: The Christian Nationalist capture of the federal judiciary." After we hear Kristin Lems' seasonal song "Solstice Time" and Dan Barker's ballad "Solstice Tribute," Michigan activist Doug Marshall tells us about the equal-time "Keep Saturn in Saturnalia" banner in Warren, Mich., that was vandalized and stolen.

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Freethought Radio -- December 10, 2020

Grievance Conservatives

We talk about Beethoven's 250th, nonbelieving legislators, blasphemy and December displays. After we hear Roy Zimmerman's irreverent seasonal song "Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka-Dona-Kwanzaa,” New York Times Supreme Court columnist and Yale scholar Linda Greenhouse describes what she calls “grievance conservatism” in her recent article, "Justice Amy Coney Barrett's choice."

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Freethought Radio -- December 3, 2020

Public Places

This week we talk about SCOTUS, churches and COVID-19; Kansas schools and proselytizing Franklin Graham; praying Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and non-praying Hollywood celebrity John Davidson. Then we talk with former church music director Steven Phelps who is now an atheist songwriter and performer in Nashville. We hear his moving ballad "After The Last Amen" and his state/church song "Public Places."

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Freethought Radio -- November 26, 2020

A Year of Challenge

Happy Thanksgiving! Co-presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker host a series of exciting 2020 reports from FFRF staff led by Legal Director Rebecca Markert and Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel. Actor Ed Asner accepts FFRF's "Clarence Darrow Award," activist Ben Hart accepts FFRF's "Freethinker of the Year" award . . . and more from a very busy staff!

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Freethought Radio -- November 19, 2020

They are here to stay

FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel dissects the shocking speech U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito delivered to the Religious Right Federalist Society last week. Then journalist Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers, talks about her recent New York Times article, "Trump or no Trump, religious authoritarianism is here to stay."

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Freethought Radio -- November 12, 2020

Reality Denial

Many Christian Nationalists are denying the reality of the U.S. election results. FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson describes the amicus brief we filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding religious groups challenging COVID-19 school closure orders. Then we speak with Nandini Archer of Open Democracy about the group's report, “Revealed: $280 million of ‘dark money’ spent by US Christian Right groups globally,” implicating Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.

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Freethought Radio -- November 5, 2020

Power to the People

We start this election week with John Lennon's "Power to the People." FFRF attorney Sam Grover describes two state/church amicus briefs FFRF has filed in federal court: one in Maine (a victory), and another in Pennsylvania (currently before the U.S. Supreme Court). After hearing Dan's song "We, The People," we talk with historian Kimberly A. Hamlin about her new book that focuses on the woman most responsible for ushering in the 19th Amendment giving "power to women voters": Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener

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Freethought Radio -- October 29, 2020

Humanists in the Hood

This Halloween week, it is a scary time for state/church separation, women's rights, and public health. FFRF Legal Fellow Joseph McDonald explains how we got a Missouri public high-school coach to stop leading students in prayer. Then author, educator and activist Sikivu Hutchinson tells us about the challenges facing nontheistic African-American women, explained in her book Humanists in the Hood: Unapologetically Black, Feminist, and Heretical.

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Freethought Radio -- October 22, 2020

Disenfranchised

We honor the life and legacy of "The Amazing" James Randi, who died this week at age 92, by listening to his entertaining 2008 interview on Freethought Radio. Then we speak with assistant professor of economics Randall Cragun, the lead plaintiff in FFRF's newest lawsuit challenging the disenfranchisement of atheists in Alabama. When Cragun was trying to register to vote, he could not sign the form containing the oath "so help me, God" because he does not believe in God.

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Freethought Radio -- October 15, 2020

Black Freethinkers

The Senate hearing for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court is the topic of the first half of the show. We discuss why her views on state and church and her membership in a patriarchal cult are alarming. Then we talk with professor Christopher Cameron about his book Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism.

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Freethought Radio -- October 8, 2020

Acts Against God

A new national survey of 12,000 nonreligious individuals conducted by FFRF reveals that secular voters are "values voters." After describing the new state/church billboard in Knoxville, Tenn., that was erected by FFRF and its East Tennessee chapter, we announce the winners of the first essay contest for secular students in Puerto Rico. Then we speak with Oxford professor David Nash about his new book, Acts Against God: A Brief History of Blasphemy.

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Freethought Radio -- October 1, 2020

Dogmatic Justice

FFRF's Senior Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott tells us about the lawsuit we filed today challenging the required "So help me, God" oath on Alabama's voter registration forms. Then author, scholar and essayist Susan Jacoby joins us to explain the dangerous religiously dogmatic views of Amy Coney Barrett, the nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Freethought Radio -- September 24, 2020

Fighting Ruthlessly

We memorialize the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of equality and state/church separation. FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel explains how we can fight for what is at stake. The Director of Black Nonbelievers of DC, Rogiérs, talks about how he went from worship leader to atheist activist and explains the speaker series "Legacy: The Story of Dissent Through the Years," acknowledging the contribution of black freethinkers. Then Margaret Downey, founder and president of the Freethought Society, announces the "Secular Day of the Dead" celebration to be held on Nov. 1.

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Freethought Radio -- September 17, 2020

Freethought Poet Laureate

We protest the imprisonment of a 13-yr-old Nigerian for blasphemy. We explain why we reported a priest, bishop and archbishop to the IRS for unconstitutional politicking. Then we honor the life and legacy of the distinguished freethinking humanist poet, scholar and author Philip Appleman who died this year at 94 years of age, by hearing his poignant interview on PBS' "Bill Moyers Journal."

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- September 10, 2020

Act Like an Atheist

We hear from recipients of the Forward Freethought Scholarships for Black Skeptics, then we complain about a politicking priest saying "You cannot be a Catholic and vote Democratic." After listening to Tom Lehrer's "pandemic" song "I Got It From Agnes," we talk with the actor, singer, game-show host and TV personality John Davidson about his long career in show business and about why he is an outspoken atheist.

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Freethought Radio -- September 3, 2020

White Too Long

After we announce a major state/church victory in Puerto Rico, described by Eva Quiñones, Nigerian activist Leo Igwe tells us about the alarming arrest of humanist leader Mubarak Bala, allegedly for blasphemy. FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson describes state/church victories in Tennessee and Texas (one involving a school "prayer locker"). Then we talk with the founder and CEO of Public Religion Research Institute Robert P. Jones about his new book: White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity.

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Freethought Radio -- August 27, 2020

Excellent Adventures

For Women's Equality Day, we talk with author and feminist activist Coline Jenkins, great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, about the new women's statue she helped create and install in Central Park this week. Then we chat with author and screenwriter Chris Matheson, who co-wrote the movie "Bill and Ted Face The Music" which is released this week, and about his new irreverent book The Buddha's Story.

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- August 20, 2020

Friend of the Court

FFRF is winning state/church victories in many states. We celebrate Women's Equality Day on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by hearing Judy Collins sing the suffragist anthem "Bread and Roses." Then, FFRF Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Elliott describes the friend-of-the-court brief we submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting Philadelphia's right to deny public funding to contractors who discriminate on religious grounds.

Listen to the podcast here. 

Freethought Radio -- August 13, 2020

COVID and Christian Nationalism

Dallas megapastor Robert Jeffress attacks FFRF on Fox. Nancy Pelosi calls for prayer. Ventura, Calif., proposes removing religious bigot Junipero Serra from its seal. After hearing James Taylor's freethinking song "Up From Your Life," we talk with Andrew Whitehead, co-author of the book (with Samuel Perry) Taking America Back For God, about how Christian Nationalists react differently to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Freethought Radio -- August 6, 2020

Fighting Religious Nationalism

FFRF's Director of Communications Amit Pal updates us on Indian Prime Minister Modi's attempt to turn secular India into an officially Hindu nation. After hearing the "comfort music" song "Don't Fence Me In," by atheist songwriter Cole Porter, we talk with FFRF's Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann about what it's like to be a D.C. lobbyist during the pandemic, and what accomplishments FFRF has garnered on Capitol Hill with the Congressional Freethought Caucus and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

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Freethought Radio -- July 30, 2020

Fundamentalist Pandemics

Dallas megapastor Robert Jeffress improperly politicked from the pulpit on "Freedom Sunday." After hearing the parody "Hang On, Ruthie" (about Ruth Bader Ginsburg), we talk with Skyler Hutto, the South Carolina attorney who is suing his governor for distributing millions of dollars of COVID relief to private (mostly religious) schools. Then we chat with historian, author and commentator Juan Cole about his article, "Fundamentalist pandemics: What Evangelicals could learn from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam."

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Freethought Radio -- July 23, 2020

Unalienable Rights

Religion is a major cause of the spread of COVID. The NO BAN Act passed the U.S. House this week, undoing President Trump’s restrictions on travel and immigration from several Muslim countries. FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott tells us about a church-owned property that will now have to pay taxes. We protest an evangelical-owned coffeeshop for violating mask regulations and condemn the South Carolina governor for diverting tax money to religious schools. Then we talk with U.S. Representative Jared Huffman — the only open nonbeliever in Congress — about the Congressional Freethought Caucus' scathing rebuke of the report by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights.

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Freethought Radio -- July 16, 2020

The Quiet Demise

The Catholic Church lobbies for special treatment to gain billions of PPP dollars. FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne tells us about the secret phone calls between the White House and religious groups to funnel money to Trump's preachers. Then law professors Nelson Tebbe and Micah Schwartzman discuss their powerful New York Times article, "The quiet demise of the separation of church and state."

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Freethought Radio -- July 9, 2020

White Christian Privilege

FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert explains what was so bad about two Supreme Court decisions this week dealing with religion, civil rights and women's health. FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel tells us about the billions of dollars flowing to churches (many that are evangelical favorites of President Trump) under the Paycheck Protection Program. Then we talk with professor Khyati Y. Joshi about her new book, White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America.

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Freethought Radio -- July 2, 2020

SCOTUS Right and Wrong

The Mississippi flag swaps one exclusion (Confederate symbol) for another ("In God We Trust"). FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott explains our amicus brief supporting California's social-distancing requirement for churches and tells us what was wrong with the Supreme Court's Espinoza pro-voucher decision. Then FFRF's "Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern" Barbara Alvarez tells us what was right about the Supreme Court's June Medical decision about abortion.

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Freethought Radio -- June 25, 2020

The Best Medicine

For our first broadcast of the summer, we hear actor John de Lancie (who played Q on "Star Trek: The Next Generation") deliver a very moving virtual commencement address to graduating seniors in the Secular Student Alliance. Then we speak with award-winning NYC stand-up comedian and author Leighann Lord, who comments on the bird-watching incident in Central Park, and about her thoughts on Father's Day in her "People With Parents" podcast.

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Freethought Radio -- June 18, 2020

Freedom To Be Yourself

We celebrate this week's Supreme Court Bostock decision affirming civil-rights protections to the LGBTQ community. FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott explains how that case relates to religious liberty. After hearing the song "Freedom From Religion," we talk with Jon Steingard, the former lead singer of the Christian rock band Hawk Nelson, who just announced on Instagram that he no longer believes in God.

Listen to the podcast here

Freethought Radio -- June 11, 2020

Supreme Court in the Balance

The Texas lieutenant governor and a Texas mayor are improperly mixing religion and government. We ask the Pennsylvania governor not to hand state money to churches. After hearing the freethinker Nina Simone's 1964 civil-rights protest song "Mississippi Goddam," we talk with eminent Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey R. Stone about the Supreme Court's upcoming decisions about abortion and state/church separation.

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Freethought Radio -- June 4, 2020

Religion and Racism

The President of the United States terrorizes fellow Americans in order to stage a Christian Nationalist photo-op. After hearing the protest song "No More" by Broadway composer Charles Strouse, we talk with author and filmmaker Jeremiah Camara about his movie Holy Hierarchy: The Religious Roots of Racism in America and about how we can address oppression and inequality in our country.

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Freethought Radio -- May 28, 2020

Pandemic Pandering

President Trump and public officials continue to pander to the Religious Right during the pandemic. FFRF legal fellow Dante Harootunian announces a state/church victory removing a Christian cross from a city mural in Illinois. After hearing the freethinking song "Let The Mystery Be" by Iris Dement, we talk with The Nation columnist Katha Pollitt about her recent column "Why Did the ERA Die? FX's 'Mrs. America' Has Some Answers."

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- May 21, 2020

Coronavirus Conspiracies

Churches or churchgoers in at least 19 states are hypocritically suing the government for shutting down public worship services. After hearing the Stephen Foster "comfort music" song "Hard Times Come Again No More," performed remotely by Rufus Wainwright and friends, we talk with Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and author of the new book Giving the Devil His Due, about "COVID-19 Conspiracists and Their Discontents."

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- May 14, 2020

Think!

The virus of religion is worsening the pandemic. We talk about religious favoritism at the national and local levels, from the U.S. Supreme Court to states and counties that put ideology over science. Then we speak with Bonya Ahmed and Imtiaz Shams, founders of the new THINK project that is producing quality videos about science, reason and humanism in many languages for countries (including Bangladesh) with little access to such information.

Listen to the podcast here. 

Freethought Radio -- May 7, 2020

Neighborhood Atheism

Guess what well-known person is a humanist? Today we talk about U.S. representatives calling for a National Day of Reason (not Prayer), FFRF's full-page ad in the New York Times, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's remarks on access to contraception, and a U.S. mosque broadcasting calls to prayer. Then we speak with atheist rapper Baba Brinkman and hear his songs "Stay Home!" and "Neighborhood Atheism."

Listen to the podcast here. 

Freethought Radio -- April 30, 2020

Eradicate Superstition

Are clergy "essential" workers? FFRF is complaining about favoritism to religion during the coronavirus pandemic. Our comfort music this week is "Smile," written by the freethinking Charlie Chaplin. FFRF Director of Communications Amit Pal joins us as we talk by phone from locked-down India with Avinash Patil, the courageous executive president of the Organization to Eradicate Superstition in Maharashtra, India, whose founding president Narendra Dabholkar was murdered by religious fanatics.

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Freethought Radio -- April 23, 2020

Promise of Dawn

Happy Earth Day To You! We report an FFRF state/church victory dealing with HUD and Freedom of Information. FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel describes his groundbreaking article in the Northeastern University Law Review called "Bad History, Bad Opinions." After hearing the "comfort music" song "Promise of Dawn" by Dan Barker and Juanice Charmaine, we talk with poet, essayist and author Katha Pollitt, from her NYC “epicenter" apartment, about how anti-abortionists are exploiting the pandemic to promote their ideological agenda.

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- April 16, 2020

Stay at Home!

God, government, and the coronavirus. Public officials are favoring religion during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite prayer, churches were damaged by Easter storms. After hearing "America’s Best Christian" Betty Bowers urge churchgoers to "stay the hell at home," we talk with professor Ryan Burge about his research showing that atheists and agnostics are the most politically active "religious group" in the United States.

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- April 9, 2020

The History of Philosophy

We are preserving social distancing between state and church. FFRF attorney Sam Grover describes our recent free-speech victory against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who removed our winter-solstice display from the state capitol. After hearing more comfort music — including Tom Lehrer's "Vatican Rag" — we talk with eminent British philosopher and author A.C. Grayling about his new books, The History of Philosophy and The Good State.

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- April 2, 2020

Comic Relief

For our first show produced remotely, we cover abuses of state/church separation during the pandemic. After celebrating the birthday of irreverent lyricist ("Over the Rainbow") Yip Harburg by hearing "The Begats" and “Ain't It The Truth?", we talk with freethinking actress, playwright and former SNL comic Julia Sweeney, who is "sheltering at home" in Hollywood, about her co-starring roles in "Shrill" (Hulu), "Work in Progress" (Showtime), and the upcoming season of "American Gods" (Starz, Fall 2020).

Listen to the podcast here. 

Freethought Radio -- March 26, 2020

The Virus of Faith

FFRF Complains: President Trump wants to "pack the pews" of churches by Easter. Vice President Pence encourages believers to continue tithing. Governors, mayors and lawmakers promote prayer as a response to the pandemic. After hearing the Philip Appleman song "In A Dark Time," we talk by phone with journalist and author Susan Jacoby, from her New York City apartment where she is sheltering in place in the coronavirus epicenter, about battling the virus of faith.

Listen to the podcast here

Freethought Radio -- March 19, 2020

Secret Fundamentalism

FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne tells us what is wrong with President Trump and local officials using prayer to fight the coronavirus. Then we hear journalist and author Jeff Sharlet talk about his powerful exposé, a book which is now a Netflix series, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Taking the cue of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, we end the show with some "comfort music" for these troubling times: "Love Walked In," by George and Ira Gershwin.

Listen to the podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- March 12, 2020

Power Worshippers

There is more to beware of this week than the Ides of March. Can the Corona Virus be cured by prayer? FFRF's Andrew Seidel tells us about how Vice President Pence is (unsuccessfully) trying just that. After reporting state/church news and listening to the optimistic Yip Harburg/Earl Robinson song "One Sweet Morning," we talk with journalist and author Katherine Stewart about her cautionary new book, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.

Listen to the Podcast here.

Freethought Radio -- March 5, 2020

Pregnancy Center Crisis

We filed our first lawsuit in Puerto Rico, with the Humanistas Seculares as plaintiffs. FFRF attorney Sam Grover explains that the public schools in Puerto Rico have been forcing Christian prayer on all students. Then we talk with investigative journalist Nandini Archer about her Open Democracy expose, "Trump-linked religious 'extremists' target women with disinformation worldwide," proving that American anti-abortion evangelicals are funding dishonest crisis pregnancy centers all over the world.

Listen to the podcast here. 

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