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2022 PODCAST ARCHIVES

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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Freethought Radio -- February 10, 2022

Secular Reparations

Guests: Cynthia McDonald and Andrew Seidel. FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel announces the new major report by FFRF and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty called "Christian Nationalism and the January 6, 2021, Insurrection." Then activist and podcaster Cynthia McDonald tells us about her comprehensive article about the secular case for reparations: "Black economic justice from an atheist’s view."

 

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Freethought Radio -- February 3, 2022

Battling the Virus of Bad Thinking

Guest: Larry Shapiro. President Biden should not have attended today's divisive National Prayer Breakfast. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin tells us why it is important to memorialize America's "forgotten Founder" Thomas Paine. Then we speak with philosopher Lawrence Shapiro about his new book (co-written with Steven Nadler): When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us From Ourselves.

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Freethought Radio -- January 27, 2022

Forgotten Founder

Guests: Margaret Downey and Gary Berton. We talk about the need to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Breyer with a proponent of state/church separation. After hearing Dan Barker's tribute to Thomas Paine, "The World Is My Country," we talk with two Paine experts: Margaret Downey, president of the new Thomas Paine Memorial Association, and Gary Berton, president of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, about the drive to erect a statue to the "forgotten Founder" in Washington, D.C.

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Freethought Radio -- January 20, 2022

Francesca Stavrakopoulou

 The Supreme Court has recently taken a number of troubling cases dealing with religion. FFRF's Legal Director Rebecca Markert joins us to talk about the Supreme Court oral arguments in a case about the city of Boston being forced to fly the Christian flag. Then we speak with atheist bible Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou about her new book God: An Anatomy.

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Freethought Radio -- January 13, 2022

Cheesecake, anyone?

After reporting on national and local state/church news, we hear singer/songwriter Shelley Segal's feminist song "Eve" from her Atheist Album. Then we listen to Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist and Supreme-Court observer Linda Greenhouse's "Cheesecake, anyone?" remarks as she accepts FFRF's "Clarence Darrow" award recognizing excellence in journalism about state/church separation.

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Freethought Radio -- January 6, 2022

Horrendous Suffering

We mark the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection by hearing FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel describe the Christian Nationalism of the rioters. Representative Don Beyer (VA) explains why he is a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus and we hear Representative Jamie Raskin (MD) stressing the need to talk about fascism. Then we talk with former evangelical minister and Christian apologist, John W. Loftus, about his new anthology God and Horrendous Suffering.

 

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Freethought Radio -- December 30, 2021

Happy New Year 2022

We listen to part of the interview that Annie Laurie Gaylor did with Gloria Steinem at FFRF's Boston convention. We see out the old year by remembering and honoring freethinkers who have left us in 2021. Then we welcome the new year by listening to some freethought songs that respond to the events of last year—some irreverent, some funny, some cautionary, and some optimistic songs that hope for better days in 2022.

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Freethought Radio -- December 23, 2021

Heathen's Greetings!

After news about "ominous omicron," secular Solstice displays and a state/church victory, we celebrate the real reason for the season — the Winter Solstice — by hearing some fun irreverent Christmas songs by Tom Lehrer, Roy Zimmerman, Addison Frei, Tahira Clayton, Ken Lonnquist, and Susan Hofer, ending with Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun."

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Freethought Radio -- December 16, 2021

The Trouble With Christmas

FFRF's Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez tells us why abortion is a state/church issue that should concern all freethinkers. We remember Tom Flynn of the Council for Secular Humanism, who died this year, by hearing the 2006 interview he did for us about his book The Trouble With Christmas. Then we listen to Winter Solstice songs by Dan Barker and Kristin Lems.

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Freethought Radio -- December 9, 2021

Highlights and Lowlights

FFRF's Legal Fellow Karen Heineman, an attorney and a veterinarian, tells us why Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is wrong to claim he was “immunized” when he took ivermectin, a medication commonly used as an animal dewormer. She also explains herd immunity. Then Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor parse the highlights and lowlights (and religious implications) of the recent Supreme Court oral arguments in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization about the Mississippi law that bans abortion.

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Freethought Radio -- December 2, 2021

From Saved to Sane

We talk about the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Mississippi abortion law case, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s eloquent plea for women over religious doctrine. Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez reads the poignant letter she has written to Sotomayor. Then we speak with Willie O. Cartwright about his new book, From Saved to Sane: My Journey Away from Christianity and Why Christianity Has Been Detrimental to the African American Community.

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Freethought Radio -- November 25, 2021

Atheists Do Have Songs

The comedian Steve Martin has said: "Atheists don't got no songs." That is funny, but untrue. As a change of pace this Thanksgiving week, FFRF's audio engineer and announcer Buzz Kemper hosts and DJs a show of historic and contemporary freethought songs from the three albums produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation: "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist," "Beware of Dogma" and "Adrift on a Star."

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Freethought Radio -- November 18, 2021

“Blacktino” Atheist

Two Freethought Radio audio engineers, Buzz Kemper and Grant Blaschka, play sound-tag as we interview each of them in turn about how and why they left (respectively) Catholicism and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Then we hear actress, comedian and atheist Julia Sweeney interview actor and "blacktino" atheist Jon Huertas in their entertaining contribution to the 2021 Secular Day of the Dead celebration.

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Freethought Radio -- November 11, 2021

Why We Believe

Religious governors, judges, members of Congress and high-school coaches are running roughshod over the Constitution. We complain about the nefarious National Prayer Breakfast by hearing Dan Barker's song "Nothing Fails Like Prayer." Then we talk with Princeton anthropologist and primatologist Agustín Fuentes, author of Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being.

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Freethought Radio -- November 4, 2021

American Ethics

FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel describes the letter written by the Congressional Freethought Caucus to the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection complaining about the deceptive and dangerous Health Care Sharing Ministries. Then we speak with Bart Worden, executive director of the American Ethical Union, about the nontheistic religion of Ethical Culture Societies.

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Freethought Radio -- October 28, 2021

Justice On The Brink

A lot of "scary” news for Halloween. FFRF fights state/church violations and educates Christian nationalists around the country. FFRF attorney Liz Cavell describes FFRF's new report about Florida, “Casting Light: The Sunshine State's Problem of Religion in Public Schools.” Then we speak with Pulitzer-Prize-winning court reporter Linda Greenhouse about her new book, Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court.

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Freethought Radio -- October 21, 2021

Pack the Court

The ultra-conservative Roberts Supreme Court is a serious threat to equality, fairness, and the rights of women, LGBTQ and non-Christians. To discuss how we can preserve state/church separation and advance progressive views, we speak with law Professor Stephen M. Feldman about his book Pack the Court! A Defense of Supreme Court Expansion.

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Freethought Radio -- October 14, 2021

Secular America

We need a vaccine to keep religion from infecting government. After reporting FFRF victories and complaints, we call for putting our trust in science and for vaccine mandates. We hear Roy Zimmerman's irreverent song, "I Want a Marriage Like They Had in the Bible." Then we speak with Debbie Allen, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, which lobbies to keep state and church separate.

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