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Lead Us Not Into Penn Station:Provocative Pieces

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October 7-9, 2016

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Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

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The Catholic League is busy harassing the Freedom From Religion Foundation. 

The ultraconservative religious organization has sent out a dispatch to its members deriding us and our work. It has asked its members to “try educating FFRF.” 

As a result, our office has been inundated with hostile calls and emails. (More on these later.) 

“Secularists are not necessarily anti-Christmas, but the radicals in their ranks are,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue writes to the membership. “At the top of the list is FFRF.” 

We’re glad to be so honored. 

Donohue then makes a weird interpretation of FFRF’s tactics, giving the whole thing a twist guaranteed to rile up the base. 

It seems the Catholic League has been paying real close attention to our activities lately. Donohue’s communiqué makes reference to our triumphant long campaign to get an official nativity scene taken down in Menominee, Mich. (For the facts, read here.) It also mentions our efforts to get a similar exhibit removed from an Ohio town and the nontheistic display our Chicago chapter recently unfurled in the city’s main plaza.

The missive utilizes contorted logic to try to prove why it is OK for Christmas to be an exclusionary holiday. (Trust us, you don’t want to be bothered with the details.) 

“Three cheers for exclusion!” the note triumphantly concludes. 

This is the sort of reasoning you can expect from Donohue. He has engaged in some truly bizarre pronouncements in the past. 

“The Catholic League president thinks condoms contribute to the AIDS epidemic in Africa (by ‘diverting attention and resources’),” our Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote in a blog in July. “He blames the Charlie Hebdo victims for being murdered.”

Then, as Seidel pointed out, Donohue topped himself in an attempt to defend the Catholic Church. In an effort to run down the Child Victims Act (a restitution proposal for victims of the Church), Donohue said it was “a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.” 

Not surprisingly, much of the vituperation that Donohue directed our way has been similarly over the top. 

“I think the recent election has resulted with a bunch of you to be neutered yourselves over the next few years,” one Catholic League member emailed us. 

Another wrote: “Miserable, malicious malcontents. I'd also call you a bunch of evil f---s — which you certainly are — but that would be descending toward your level.” 

Not quite, sir. We’ll attempt to maintain some decorum. 

“If the Catholic League has nothing better to do than to sic its members on us, it is welcome to indulge itself,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “As frequent recipients of harassment, we will not demean ourselves by responding in kind.” 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nontheistic organization — with more than 24,000 members nationwide — that is pleased to take on the Catholic League as part of its mission to keep the constitutional wall of separation of state and church intact.

1heathenssdIt's the first day of December, which means the annual "War on State/Church Separation" has begun, surely more so now with the Religious Right bolstered by its recent electoral triumph. Below you'll find FFRF's handy guide to surviving the holidays.

HOW TO KEEP RELIGION OFF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY

1foundersnativityThe public square gets very cluttered around Christmas/Hanukkah. FFRF can help you counteract devotional displays on governmental property. By creating a little controversy, FFRF's goal is to persuade governmental bodies to end public forums for religion in December, or any time. FFRF just enjoyed a satisfying victory in Franklin County, Ind., ending a so-called public forum after six years, two lawsuits and one vandalized banner! Hip hip hooray!

But even when equal-time displays don't end such forums, they do ensure that nonbelievers are represented, and that atheists and agnostics aren't turned into outsiders at the seat of our own governments during the holiday season.

If you're interested in countering religious displays on government property in your area, or just want to know more about the constitutional questions, read FFRF's Guide to Balancing Religion on Public Property. FFRF is delighted to supply you with free displays and banners in your quest to provide some secular balance. We have plenty of our charming new aluminum Bill of Rights "Nativity" displays, suitable for indoor or outdoor use and easy to erect. These honor the Dec. 15 anniversary of the Bill of Rights while countering ubiquitous Christian nativities.

Activists, please step up! 

EDUCATING ON THE "REAL REASON FOR THE SEASON" — THE WINTER SOLSTICE

For the scoop on the natural event known as the Winter Solstice, we're offering a short-term online version of FFRF's handy nontract, "Heathen's Greetings: The True Meaning of the Season."

Educate friends and family by including a copy of this nontract when you mail your winter solstice greeting cards or correspondence. FFRF "nontracts" (designed to counter religious tracts) are advantageously sized and priced (and are copyrighted, so please don't photocopy; order from us).

WINTER SOLSTICE CARDS — YOUR CHOICE: JUST PRETTY OR WITH AN ATTITUDE

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There's still time to order and send out Winter Solstice or New Year greeting cards. It's your choice whether to inject a little irreverence or just keep it secularly seasonal. FFRF offers 17 options! View more or order at ffrf.org/shop

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IRREVERENT MUSIC

If your nerves are already frayed by 24/7 Christmas devotionals in stores and on the radio, FFRF has an antidote: free downloads of "Merry Fricken Christmas" (a PG version of the South Park satiric song recorded by Dan Barker) and "Solstice Tribute," in which Dan rewrites "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

Every social movement needs music. Check out FFRF's three music CDs to enjoy a wealth of songs and styles old and new.

GIFTS FOR THE DISCERNING FREETHINKER

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FFRF's Shop offers something for every skeptic on your list including classic books and new works. FFRF's own published books are on sale through Dec. 31, so now's the time to read more about Robert Ingersoll ("American Infidel" by Orvin Larson), what's wrong with the bible or about those courageous "Women Without Superstition."

FFRF offers many cute shirtstote bagscapsmagnetslapel pins and witty bumper stickers. For the cook in your house, we even offer an apron saying "In Chef We Trust." View more at ffrf.org/shop

RESURRECTION FUND TO COMBAT VANDALISM

On a more serious note, if you want to combat religion in government, a battle that will become more intense with the new national leadership, another way to assist is to donate to FFRF's legal fund (help us fight Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's censorship of FFRF's Bill of Rights display, for example). Or you can pledge to donate each time an FFRF Winter Solstice display is vandalized or stolen (unfortunately a frequent occurrence). Your donation will be used to help replace signs and discourage tampering. Here's how to help

 

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