FFRF requests apology from Dane County board supervisor for anti-atheist comments

Dane County Board

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national association of atheists and agnostics based in Madison, Wis., is requesting an apology from local Dane County Board Supervisor Jeff Weigand for recent unprovoked attacks against the nonbelieving community. FFRF asks Weigand to stop maligning the 40 percent of Dane County residents who identify as atheists, agnostics or nothing in particular.

Weigand this week went on Fox TV issuing a gratuitous public diatribe against “anti-God people” in response to a naked bike ride that was not organized by or had any connection to nonreligious groups, also conflating nonbelief with threats to children:

I think unfortunately… there’s a lot of people that resent God, and they’re trying to stick their nose and just stick their finger in His face. And they’re doing things that they know are wrong. And it’s in direct opposition to Him, which is really unfortunate. … We need to protect our children. Our fundamental role as a government entity is to punish evil and reward good.

FFRF takes issue with Weigand using the event as a pretext to launch a tirade against constituents who are not religious, and is requesting that he avoid in the future defaming the many freethinkers he represents in Dane County.

“In terms of your remarks regarding the role of our government, its purpose is not to stand in per se for some vengeful deity to ‘punish evil and reward good,’” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor writes to Weigand. “General welfare, justice, domestic tranquility and the blessings of liberty are not served when local elected officials scapegoat or target a segment of the population based solely on their reviews about religion. Such an attack is demeaning, undeserved and profoundly un-American.”

Despite the resurgence of Christian nationalism across the country, citizens are still accorded equal treatment under the law and the First Amendment guarantees freedom of conscience, FFRF emphasizes. Citizens are free to believe or disbelieve and the government is not free to take sides.

The percentage of religiously unaffiliated adults, known as “Nones,” in Dane County is significantly higher than the 29 percent nationwide who have no religion.

You can read the full FFRF letter here.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members across the country, including more than 1,700 members in Wisconsin and its national headquarters in Dane County in the state. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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