FFRF Sunday TV show spotlights religious child abuse

Janet Heimlich and Terri Daniel

Watch the teaser here.

This Sunday on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Freethought Matters” TV show, two experts shed light on the crucial but little-discussed subject of religious child abuse.

The show talks about scriptural instructions that promote child abuse, about how toxic theology affects children, about sexual abuse by churches or religious institutions and about conversion therapy laws that give religion a pass — all of this compounded by the pandemic. The guests on “Freethought Matters” know these issues very well. Janet Heimlich (daughter of the surgeon who invented the Heimlich manuever) is the author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment. Terri Daniel is a grief counselor and a nonreligious hospice chaplain. She’s a certified clinical trauma specialist who specializes in bereavement and trauma support and is also an end of life adviser.

“Toxic theology presents this idea of a god watching over you who judges everything you do so that children grow up being afraid to just be children,” Daniel dissects the notion for “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. “And then, of course, the big one is the protector-punisher image of God, where on one hand you’re raising children to think that God is this wonderful, loving, protective parent. And on the other hand that God is going to beat the crap out of you the minute you do the slightest thing wrong.”

If you don’t live in the quarter-plus of the nation where the show broadcasts on Sunday, you can already catch the interview on the “Freethought Matters” playlist on FFRF’s YouTube channel. New shows go up every Thursday. You can also receive notifications when we post new episodes of “Freethought Matters” by subscribing to FFRF’s YouTube channel.

Upcoming guests on the show include feminist legend Gloria Steinem, FFRF Strategic Response Director Andrew Seidel speaking about Christian nationalism at the Jan. 6 insurrection, and two members of Congress who are part of the Congressional Freethought Caucus.

“Freethought Matters” airs in:

  • Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.
  • Houston, KIAH-CW (Ch. 39), Sundays at 11 a.m.
  • Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.
  • Minneapolis, KSTC-IND (Ch. 45, Digital Channel 5.5), Sundays at 9:30 a.m. (Digital channel 5.2 has been dropped.)
  • New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.
  • Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco, KICU-IND (Ch. 36), Sundays at 10 a.m.
  • Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50 or Ch. 23 or Ch. 3), Sundays at 8 a.m.

The show launched its fall season in early September with clips from the best past interviews on the program. Subsequently, it featured an interview with famed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. The program has focused on a landmark Supreme Court case against religious indoctrination in public schools, has offered answers on how nonreligious people should deal with death, has spotlighted the secular lobby in Washington, D.C,  has argued for the expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court and has chronicled how Ireland is breaking free from Catholicism’s shackles. A few weeks ago, the interview was with FFRF Honorary Director Katha Pollitt, the noted writer, freethinker and feminist. After that, the show interviewed distinguished evolutionary psychologist and renowned author Harvard Professor Steven Pinker. Recently, the show paid homage to the departed acting legend Ed “Lou Grant” Asner. And the only openly nonbelieving member of Congress, Rep. Jared Huffman, has honored the show with a return visit.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers!

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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