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2023 PODCAST ARCHIVES

Freethought Radio -- January 26, 2023

The problem with prayer

After addressing the numerous problems with the National Prayer Breakfast, we speak with Central Florida Freethought Association director Joseph Richardson about how his secular invocation before a county board was "corrected" by a Christian prayer. Then we speak with Owosso, Mich., City Councilor Emily Olson, who received a death threat after she complained about prayers before council meetings.

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Freethought Radio -- January 19, 2023

Hindu Nationalism

After we report on national and local state/church news, FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman describes a disturbing case before the U.S. Supreme Court that will most certainly expand religious privilege. Then FFRF Co-President Dan Barker and Communication Director Amitabh Pal report on their trip to India this month to meet with brave rationalists who are battling superstition and Hindu nationalism.

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Freethought Radio -- January 12, 2023

Having fun fighting the gods

We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day and National Religious Freedom Day, “eulogize” Cardinal Pell via Tim Minchin’s song, “Come Home Cardinal Pell,” then hear irreverent Jim Hightower pillory religious entanglements in Texas.

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Freethought Radio -- January 05, 2023

Meeting of the Minds

We review secular highs and lows of the week. FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman tells us why the Catholic Church cannot run public schools in Oklahoma. Then we hear the entertaining conversation between actress/comedian Julia Sweeney and Dan Barker at FFRF's 2022 convention.

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Freethought Radio -- December 29, 2022

Ringing in the New Year

After reporting on state/church issues in December, we listen to the freethinking Frank Loesser song "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" sung by Madison jazz vocalist Susan Hofer accompanied by Dan Barker on the piano. Then, FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert wraps up the year by telling us about FFRF's significant legal challenges and victories of 2022.

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Freethought Radio -- December 22, 2022

Bible Museum

Tidings of great joy: The bipartisan bill to approve a Thomas Paine memorial in D.C. is likely to pass this session. After hearing irreverent holiday music by Roy Zimmerman and Tom Lehrer, we talk with Professor Cavan Concannon, co-author with Jill Hicks-Keeton of the new book Does Scripture Speak For Itself? The Museum of the Bible and the Politics of Interpretation.

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Freethought Radio -- December 15, 2022

Beyond Belief

We have a news-packed show this week, with congressional testimony, lawsuit updates, and state/church complaints. We celebrate Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15) and the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) by reporting "solstice/bill of rights" displays being erected around the country, and by hearing Dan Barker's seasonal song "Solstice Tribute." Then we speak with Australian reporter Elle Hardy about her new book, Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity is Taking Over the World.

Listen to the podcast here.

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Freethought Radio -- December 08, 2022

Evangelical Threat

Tis the season to report on state/church entanglements, as well as state/church victories. This week we listen to professor Anthea Butler, author of White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America and contributor to the 1619 Project, deliver her "Do Mess With Texas" speech at FFRF's 45th annual convention in San Antonio, warning us about religious threats to democracy.

Listen to the podcast here.

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Freethought Radio -- December 01, 2022

Mark on the Hill

We honor Dr. Anthony Fauci, a secular humanist who is retiring at the end of this month as the Chief Medical Advisor for the President of the United States, by hearing Dan Barker’s new song, “Thank you, Fauci.” Then FFRF’s Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann recaps our many successes fighting Christian nationalism in the 117th Congress and the challenges that await us in the upcoming 118th Congress in 2023–2024.

Listen to the podcast here.

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Freethought Radio -- November 24, 2022

Let's All Give Thanks

On our Thanksgiving show, we give thanks where thanks is due. We hear the new song “Let’s All Give Thanks,” written by Dan Barker and sung by Tahira Clayton and the Godless Gospel singers. Then FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott talks about the amicus brief FFRF has filed in the “303 Creative” Supreme Court case about a Christian business owner who wants to discriminate against LGBTQ customers.

Listen to the podcast here.

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Freethought Radio -- November 17, 2022

Phantom God

This week we talk about the novelist John Irving, Christian supremacy, and the Respect For Marriage Act. After hearing the debut of the Godless Gospel song “I Don’t Need Jesus,” we talk with scientist and author John C. Wathey about his new book, The Phantom God: What Neuroscience Reveals about the Compulsion to Believe.

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Freethought Radio -- November 10, 2022

The Unbelieving

After hearing the good news (and a little not-so-good news) after the midterm election, we listen to the freethinking Irving Berlin song “Pack Up Your Sins (And Go To The Devil in Hades)” 100 years after its 1922 debut on Broadway. Then we speak with playwright Marin Gazzaniga and qualitative researcher Linda LaScola, producers of the new off-Broadway play “The Unbelieving,” about clergy who no longer believe in God.

 

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Godless Gospel

Unconventional Convention

We hit some of the highlights of FFRF’s 45th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, including welcoming remarks by U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman(CA) and Jamie Raskin(MD). Then we listen in to the live performance at that convention of the world premiere of the Godless Gospel musical concert.

 

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Aidan Scully and Maryam Namazie

The Power of Protest

Iranian-born Maryam Namazie, with "Ex-Muslims of Britain" and "One Law For All," describes the dire situation in Iran where protesters of the patriarchal regime are being persecuted and killed; she also tells us how we can help. Then we speak with Harvard student Aidan Scully, who writes a secular bi-weekly column for the student newspaper The Harvard Crimson called "The Free Exercise Thereof" that combats Christian Nationalism and advocates for state/church separation.

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NH state Rep. Sherry Dutzy

Secular Legislators

After state/church news, we hear a sneak preview of the Godless Gospel song “You Don’t Need to Be Ashamed,” written by Andre Forbes, soloists DeAngela Morant and Rogiérs Fibby, with Godless Gospel singers in the chorus. Then we speak with New Hampshire state Rep. Sherry Dutzy, who formed the Secular Values Legislative Caucus in her state and who is on the board of the new Association of Secular Elected Officials.

 

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Minnesota State Rep. Mike Freiberg

Secular Government

New “I’m an Atheist and I Vote!” billboards are announced. After hearing the late Loretta Lynn sing the feminist song “The Pill,” we hear freethinkers Joni Mitchell and James Taylor perform “Circle of Time,” about the changing seasons. Then we speak with Minnesota state Rep. Mike Freiberg about the new “Secular Government Caucus” he co-founded in the state Legislature with the purpose of “resisting Christian nationalism and defending state/church separation.”

 

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Freethought Radio -- October 6, 2022

Know Your Rights

We announce the final victory in our lawsuit challenging the reciting of “The Lord’s Prayer” at a West Virginia city council meeting. Constitutional attorney Liz Cavell joins us to describe FFRF’s new “Know Your Rights” campaign educating students about their right to be free from government-sponsored religion. Then we hear the historic Opening Statement by Christopher Hitchens, author of god is not Great, debating mathematician John Lennox on the topic, “Is God great?"

 

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Freethought Radio -- September 29, 2022

Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime

We celebrate International Blasphemy Day by highlighting challenges to Christian Nationalism and the violation of state/church separation by senators and governors. Former Mormon Ray Matthews tells us why he agreed to appear on FFRF’s "I'm an Atheist and I Vote" billboard in Salt Lake City. Then we speak with Adrienne Martin, who testified before her Texas school board in protest of religiously motivated book banning in the public school.

 

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Marty Essen

Banned Books

 

FFRF's Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Elliott describes the new lawsuit we filed this week challenging 1.5 million dollars in the South Carolina budget to start a Christian school. Then the award-winning author, photographer and lecturer Marty Essen discusses the column against censorship he wrote for Banned Books Week: "Christian Nationalism and Book Banning."

 

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Mandisa Thomas; Jimmy Bangash

Beyond Belief

Guests: Mandisa Thomas; Jimmy Bangash

Happy Constitution Day! After unveiling FFRF’s new national "Secular Vote" campaign, we talk with Mandisa Thomas, founder and president of Black Nonbelievers, about the upcoming Women of Color Beyond Belief conference in Chicago on September 30. Then UK psychotherapist Jimmy Bangash, an ex-Muslim gay atheist, tells us how he deals with Islamic discrimination and persecution for blasphemy, apostasy and homosexuality.

 

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Ahmedur Rashid Chowdury

Free Voice

Guest: Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury. Politicking pastors and praying school districts are among the news we discuss this week. We hear a historic rendition of an irreverent 1922 song by the great American songwriter Irving Berlin called "Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil in Hades." Then we speak with the brave freethinking Bangladeshi author and publisher of Shuddhashar (Free Voice) Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury (known as "Tutul"), who was attacked with machetes and guns by religious extremists and is now living in exile.

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Freethought Radio -- September 1, 2022

Is Religion Special?

Guest: Adam B. Cohen. Former U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann falsely claims that America was based on the bible. A California prison chaplain was convicted of sexual assault against female inmates while claiming the bible justified his actions. After hearing the irreverent Yip Harburg song "Ain't It The Truth?", sung by Lena Horne, we speak with Professor Adam B. Cohen about the study he co-authored for Perspectives on Psychological Science called "Is Religion Special?"

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Freethought Radio -- August 25, 2022

Celebrate Dissent

Guest: Sami Abdallah. Christian nationalism is now proudly rearing its head in the United States. FFRF Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Elliott describes the friend-of-the-court brief we filed at the Supreme Court in the "303 Creative" case where a business owner wants to discriminate against LGBTQ customers on religious grounds. Then, we speak with Sami Abdallah, co-founder and president of Freethought Lebanon and co-organizer of the "Celebrating Dissent" conference that took place in Cologne, Germany, this month, about the challenges of being an apostate in the Muslim world.

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Freethought Radio -- August 18, 2022

Religion and the CIA

Guest: Michael Graziano. We first talk with FFRF Associate Counsel Sam Grover about his incisive recent blog on how constitutional absolutism is literally killing us. Then, FFRF Communications Director Amit Pal interviews Professor Michael Graziano regarding his fascinating new book Errand Into the Wilderness of Mirrors: Religion and the History of the CIA.

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Freethought Radio -- August 11, 2022

Threat to Democracy

Guest: Philip S. Gorski This week we listen to the moving testimony before the National Capital Memorial Advisory Committee in favor of a new monument to honor America's "forgotten founder" Thomas Paine — testimony by Rep. Jamie Raskin, Margaret Downey (president of the Thomas Paine Memorial Association), military veteran Greg Jones and Black Nonbelievers President Mandisa Thomas. Then we talk with Philip S. Gorski, co-author of The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.

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Freethought Radio -- August 4, 2022

Creationism USA

Guest: Adam Laats. FFRF attorney Chris Line tells us how FFRF is combatting religious indoctrination in Alabama schools. We parse Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's disturbing remarks denigrating nonbelievers during a Notre Dame "Religious Liberty" speech he gave in Rome last week. Then we speak with professor Adam Laats about his new book Creationism USA: Bridging the Impasse on Teaching Evolution.

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Freethought Radio -- July 28, 2022

Combatting the threats

"Christian nationalism" is being mentioned more and more in the news: Religious right-wing Christian members of Congress and candidates for public office are openly embracing the divisive concept. After hearing the very moving ad by "Mothers Against Greg Abbott" (opposing the Texas abortion ban) and the song "Heaven" set to a Rupert Brooke poem, we hear Bangladeshi-American author, activist and producer Bonya Ahmed describe how she is promoting science and freethought in Bangladesh and the rest of the world.

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Freethought Radio -- July 21, 2022

REAL Wellness

Guest: Don Ardell. The news is filled with state/church battles, politicking preachers, and religious threats to women's lives. After hearing a sneak preview of the Godless Gospel song "Life Is Good," we talk with U.S. and world triathlon and duathlon champion Don Ardell about his newest book, Freedom From Religion in 30 Days: A REAL Wellness Approach to Critical Thinking, Exuberance and Personal Freedoms.

 

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Freethought Radio -- July 14, 2022

Not a Christian nation

Speeches by Randa Black and Randall Cragun. Christian nationalists have influenced the Supreme Court and the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. To avoid public scrutiny, right-wing religious think tanks and legal groups are reclassifying themselves as "churches." Actress Randa Black explains why she gave a secular invocation rather than a prayer at a city council meeting, and Professor Randall Cragun tells us how he challenged Alabama's discriminatory voter registration law -- and won.

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Freethought Radio -- July 7, 2022

Backlash

 Guest: Kate Cohen. This week we describe some of the ways FFRF is lashing back against Christian nationalism. After hearing the sobering but optimistic song "In a Dark Time" (words by Philip Appleman, music by Dan Barker), we speak with Washington Post columnist Kate Cohen about her June 30 article: "As the court forces Christianity on America, it's time for atheists to speak out."

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Freethought Radio -- June 30, 2022

Requiem for the Supreme Court

GUEST: Linda Greenhouse. This week we focus on recent bad Supreme Court decisions attacking women's rights and the separation of church and state. FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott explains the confusing Bremerton case allowing a high-school coach to pray with students. Then we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and Supreme Court observer Linda Greenhouse about the demise of Roe (overturning the right to abortion) and her recent New York Times article “Requiem for the Supreme Court.”

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Freethought Radio -- June 23, 2022

Makin Mischief

FFRF attorney Sam Grover helps us dissect the disappointing Carson v. Makin decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that now allows public tax dollars to directly fund religious education. Then we hear from four winners of FFRF's David Hudak Memorial student essay contest for Black, Indigenous and People of Color: Galilea Baca (1st-place, pictured), Fadima Tall, Tylinn Wilson and Everett Viego. Then the new student scholar for FFRF and Secular Students of America Sami Al Asadi explains how he became an atheist and an activist.

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Freethought Radio -- June 16, 2022

Celebrating Dissent

Guest: Maryam Namazie. Abortion, politicians blaming gun violence on godlessness, secular billboards and the growth of support for state/church separation are among the news topics we discuss this week. After listening to a sneak preview of the new "Godless Gospel" songs, we speak with Iranian-born ex-Muslim activist Maryam Namazie about the international "Celebrate Dissent" conference she is organizing, which will take place in August in Cologne, Germany.

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Freethought Radio -- June 9, 2022

Our Non-Christian Nation

Guest: Jay Wexler. FFRF tells San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone that it was a "grave evil" to deny Nancy Pelosi communion. There is a new freethinking miniseries on Hulu. FFRF complains about pious pandering politicians. After hearing George Hrab's song about "thoughts and prayers" titled "The Least That You Can Do," we listen to Boston Law Professor Jay Wexler talk about his book Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Pagans, and Others are Demanding Their Rightful Place in Public Life.

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Freethought Radio -- June 2, 2022

African American Freethinkers

Guest: Christopher Cameron. After mourning the tragic school massacre in Texas, we point out the ineffectiveness of "thoughts and prayers" and denounce politicians who blame the violence on godlessness. We hear singer/songwriter Roy Zimmerman satirize “thoughts and prayers” in his song “To the Victims of This Tragedy." Then professor and author Christopher Cameron describes the rich history of African American Freethought.

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Freethought Radio -- May 26, 2022

Does God Exist?

Guests: Amit Pal and Dan Barker. With FFRF Communications Director Amit Pal as the substitute host, we discuss the dismal news on the reproductive rights front, including the draconian Oklahoma abortion ban. We highlight our last TV show of the season — a special on-site visit with freethinking sculptor Zenos Frudakis — and spotlight our national convention to be held in San Antonio in late October. We listen to a blasphemous Irving Berlin song. And then we hear FFRF Co-President Dan Barker debate a Christian apologist on the compelling question: “Does God Exist?”

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Freethought Radio -- May 19, 2022

The Flag and the Cross

Guest: Samuel L. Perry. We announce two victories in federal lawsuits this week stopping city council prayer and religious instruction in West Virginia schools. We talk about Alito’s leaked abortion decision. The popular actor Jon Huertas tells us why he is a nontheist. In light of the tragic massacre in Buffalo, we speak with Professor Samuel L. Perry about his new book (with co-author Philip Gorski), The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.

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Freethought Radio -- May 12, 2022

The Wonder of Science

Guest: Sasha Sagan. It’s Mayday for women’s rights. We talk about state/church and women’s issues in Idaho, Arkansas, New Jersey and Arizona, and announce our full-page ad in the New York Times. After listening to philosopher Bertrand Russell (on the sesquicentennial of his birth) tell us why he was not a Christian, we hear Sasha Sagan, daughter of astronomer Carl Sagan and author Ann Druyan, tell us why the beauty of science is more awesome than religion.

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Freethought Radio -- May 5, 2022

Profusely Illustrated

Guest: Ed Sorel. Instead of honoring the unconstitutional National Day of Prayer, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Learn what you can do to resist the imminent religiously motivated overthrow of Roe v. Wade. Then, we speak with 93-year-old irreverent cartoonist, illustrator and caricaturist Ed Sorel — whose satiric artwork has graced magazine covers and newspapers for many decades — about his new lavish memoir Profusely Illustrated.

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Freethought Radio -- April 28, 2022

Secular Compassion

Guest: Phil Zuckerman. After reporting on victories and challenges regarding governmental prayer, we parse the Supreme Court oral arguments in the case involving a praying high-school football coach. Then we hear sociologist and author Phil Zuckerman, a pioneer in secular studies, making the case for why secular Americans, as a group, are more moral than religious Americans.

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Freethought Radio -- April 21, 2022

Rebels With a Cause

Guest: Clement Hiel. After reporting on national state/church news, we hear freethinker Barbra Streisand sing the song “Smile," written by the freethinking Charlie Chaplin. Then we speak with NASA scientist Clement Hiel about his alma mater, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels), which was founded as a direct challenge to the Catholic Church. The school's motto is "Science Conquers Darkness."

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Freethought Radio -- April 14, 2022

The Agenda

Guests: Sam Grover; Ian Millhiser. After we report on national state/church news, FFRF attorney Sam Grover joins us to talk about the oral arguments he gave last week before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in our lawsuit challenging a Texas judge who opens sessions with a prayer. Then we speak with journalist and author Ian Millhiser about his new book The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court is Reshaping America.

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Freethought Radio -- April 7, 2022

Separate Church & State

Guests: Patrick Elliott; Ryan Jayne; Barbara Alvarez. After reporting on state/church news, we talk with a trio of FFRF staff members. FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott describes our friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court about a praying high-school coach. Strategic Response Attorney Ryan Jayne tells us about the many bad state bills dealing with LGBTQ rights. And Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez updates us on the good and (mostly) bad religiously motivated state bills dealing with abortion.

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Freethought Radio -- March 31, 2022

The Cosmos

Guests: Chris Line; Ann Druyan. After we report on national and regional news, FFRF attorney Chris Line updates us on the many state/church complaints and victories he has been handling around the country. Then we hear author, educator and Emmy-winning producer of the "Cosmos" TV series Ann Druyan (along with her daughter Sasha Sagan) as she accepts FFRF's "Emperor Has No Clothes" award.

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Freethought Radio -- March 24, 2022

The bible and slavery

Guest: Jeremy Schipper. Religion at Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing. State/church complaints in Colorado, Virginia and Tennessee. Jazz musicians Tahira Clayton and Addison Frei perform freethinker Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You." Then Professor of Religion Jeremy Schipper describes how the bible was used in both sides of the slavery/anti-slavery debates in his new book, Denmark Vesey's Bible: The Thwarted Revolt that Put Slavery and Scripture on Trial.

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Freethought Radio -- March 17, 2022

Rationality

Spring is here, and state/church violations are bursting out all over. We report on violations in Ohio, Colorado, West Virginia and Indiana, and ask Idaho's governor not to sign a draconian anti-abortion bill. After hearing Audra McDonald sing the evocative "Spring is Here" by freethinking composer Richard Rodgers, we listen to Harvard Professor Steven Pinker at FFRF's convention in Boston describing his new book, Rationality: What It Is — Why It Is Scarce — Why It Matters.

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Freethought Radio -- March 10, 2022

Drunk, High and Hypnotized

FFRF attorney Sam Grover updates us on the oral arguments in our "Do mess with Texas" lawsuit before the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging Gov. Greg Abbot's censorship of our Bill of Rights nativity display at the state capitol. Then the actress and author Alice Greczyn offers a scientific explanation for ecstatic religious experiences, which she describes in her talk: "Drunk, High and Hypnotized: How Neurotheology Healed My Religious Trauma."

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Freethought Radio -- March 3, 2022

Katherine Stewart

This week, we comment on President Biden's State of the Union address as it relates to state/church separation, abortion, and LGBTQ+ rights. We hear Dan Barker's performance of the feminist anthem "Bread and Roses." Then we speak with journalist and author Katherine Stewart about her powerful cautionary column in the Sunday New York Times: "Why was a Catholic hospital willing to gamble with my life?"

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Freethought Radio -- February 24, 2022

What is Humanism?

Guest: Andrew Copson. FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott explains FFRF's newest federal lawsuit involving students who walked out of a Huntington W.Va., high school protesting religious services on campus during school time. Then we speak with the Chief Executive of Humanists UK, Andrew Copson, about the new book he co-authored with Alice Roberts called The Little Book of Humanism: Universal Lessons on Fnding Purpose, Meaning and Joy.

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Freethought Radio -- February 17, 2022

Beware of Dogma

Guest: Mark Dann. After reporting on state/church complaints and victories in Michigan, Tennessee, Florida and Indiana, we hear two versions of Dan Barker's song "Beware of Dogma": one by Dan and the other by Brazilian singer Sandra Belé. Then we speak with FFRF's Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann about his work in Washington, D.C., to lobby for a secular government, science and reason.

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