FFRF’s ‘Quit the Catholic Church’ ad in weekend USA Today

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s signature full-page ad, “It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church,” is in today’s USA Today (Money Section), which stays on the newsstands all weekend. The ad by FFRF, a state/church watchdog and the nation’s largest atheist/agnostic association with over 18,000 members, urges liberal and nominal Roman Catholics to “quit” their church over its war against contraception.

FFRF warns Catholics that their church is “launching a ruthless political Inquisition in your name.”

“We are placing this open letter in a national newspaper in response to the Catholic hierarchy’s legal assault against the contraceptive mandate last week,” said Dan Barker, FFRF co-president.

More than 40 Roman Catholic institutions around the country filed suit against the Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate on May 21. The Catholic Church vows to spend multimillions in an anti-contraceptive PR campaign leading up to July 4. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is directing weekly lobbying drives via its Sunday pulpits seeking to organize Catholics — 98 percent of whom ignore the church’s injunction against contraception — to help the Bishops deny workers, Catholic or not, contraceptive insurance coverage.

FFRF doesn’t have multimillions to spend, but is challenging its members and members of the public who oppose clerical interference against civil liberties, to contribute to FFRF’s timely response. Already, in one week, $30,000 has come in, covering the USA Today ad ($26,690). FFRF next will be launching radio and TV spots featuring celebrated ex-Catholic Julia Sweeney, “Saturday Night Live” alum and playwright (“Letting Go of God”).

“Concern about the danger of churches forcing their dogma into our laws is why we started FFRF,” added Annie Laurie Gaylor, a co-founder and co-president. “This religiously motivated war against reproductive freedom is a colossal power play by the Catholic Church to dictate through law its doctrine, which almost the entire U.S. population — including Catholics, reject — that contraception is a ‘sin.’ ”

The provocative ad jokes that “Life begins after excommunication” and urges nominal Catholics to “Join those of us who put humanity above dogma.”

“Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or Bishops and their wrongs?”

Today’s ad is similar to the full-page ad that appeared in The New York Times in March, and in The Washington Post in May, both of which are still creating shockwaves among conservative religionists.

“As a member of the ‘flock’ of an avowedly antidemocratic Old Boys Club, isn’t it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en Mass,” requests the ad.

On behalf of FFRF, Gaylor and Barker warmly thank the many FFRF members who have responded so far to counter the well-heeled campaign by Catholic Bishops to permit dogma to trump civil liberties and personal conscience.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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