Special Report: We’re superexcited


This past week has been superexciting for us here in Wisconsin. We’ve had the presidential candidates milling around the state, including here in Madison.

To give them a warm welcome, we’ve put up billboards all over the city featuring freethinkers proudly asserting our right to politically participate. 

We’ve linked this to a broader campaign around the elections pointing out the power of the secular bloc. FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor’s op-ed in the Wisconsin State Journal, the main Madison newspaper, spells it out well. “As religious groups fly their flags, we need to fly ours just as high to remind candidates that secular voters are the true voice of the Enlightenment,” she writes.

Easter duty
We did have to perform Easter duty. For the third Easter in a row, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Metropolitan Chicago chapter placed a patriotic red-white-and-blue secular display to counter a large Catholic Easter exhibition by the Thomas More Society at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. We showed them! 

On our toes
We’ve been on our toes otherwise, too. We’ve been calling attention to awful bills around the country. Legislative Bill 975, which was approved by the Judiciary Committee of the unicameral Nebraska Legislature on March 21, would legalize discrimination by foster care and adoption agencies in the name of religious freedom.

And a toxic, unconstitutional bill working its way through the Tennessee state Senate (Senate Bill 1108) would declare “The Holy Bible” the “official state book.” 

But we also won a few victories, keeping us in good spirits.

We don’t need no church graduation
A Nevada public school is no longer holding its graduation ceremonies inside a church, following a Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint. For at least the past three years, Coral Academy of Science’s eighth grade promotion and twelfth grade graduation ceremonies had been performed in The Church at South Las Vegas, and the church was scheduled to be the host again this year. FFRF urged the school to find a “more appropriate, secular location” for this year’s ceremonies. And the school took our advice. 

Teacher, leave them kids alone!
We also stopped a Ohio public school teacher from proselytizing to her students. Green Middle School language arts teacher Kelli Hunka was assigning religious projects to her students every month. FFRF asked for a guarantee from Green County Schools that this unconstitutional religious messaging in a public school would halt. And we got that pledge.

Religion is encroaching
We’re constantly busy fighting religious encroachments on public spaces. That’s why FFRF is questioning the appropriateness of creating prayer spaces for Muslims and Christians at the University of Iowa, a public institution. The organization is also concerned that the university is facilitating the discriminatory practice of gender segregation practiced in the Muslim prayer rooms. 

Religiously inappropriate congressmen
It’s not just public universities that are being religiously inappropriate. So are Congressmen. U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida is using taxpayer money for religious indoctrination. Miller’s office issues an official weekly “Miller Newsletter” that often explicitly promotes his Christian faith. It also makes erroneous claims about the separation of state and church. FFRF is calling on him to refrain

Play by the rules
And we’ve asked a religious club at a Michigan public school to play by the rules. First Priority, a religious club that meets during lunchtime at Tri County High School in Howard City, Mich., is reportedly regularly attended or led by a local pastor, while a school music teacher promotes the club in her classes, all in violation of state and church separation, as we reminded the school district. 

We’ve also objected to a Tennessee public school teacher reading the Easter story in class, a Michigan public school holding graduation ceremonies inside a church, and the Gideons handing out bibles in front of a Georgia public school (those Gideons!).

We’re fighting censorship
We got into a huge fight with Colorado’s Delta County School District on April 1st (no April Fools’ joke!). The School District complained about two FFRF pamphlets it was scheduled to display on our behalf and limited them to the local high schools. District officials missed the forest for the trees, since they could have refused our literature by limiting access to the Gideons. (We told you those Gideons are everywhere.) 

April Fools!
We did have some fun today with a press release we sent out objecting to Apple’s prayer emoji. A surprising number of folks didn’t notice it was all meant to be in jest. 

Next week, we continue our serious work.

But meanwhile, everyone have an enjoyable April Fools’ Day!

IMG 1726


Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor
Freedom From Religion Foundation

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Send this to a friend