Freethought Today · June / July 2016

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF runs 2 new ad campaigns

FFRF ran a pair of full-page newspaper ad campaigns recently on the need to vote for candidates who'll get religion out of government and on what the bible says about abortion.

The first ad campaign asked the question, "What does the bible really say about abortion?" The answer is (as the ad puts it): "There is no biblical justification for the assault on women's reproductive rights."

Those ads ran in the Austin American-Statesman, Tulsa (Okla.) World, Houston Chronicle and Wichita (Kan.) Eagle on Sunday, May 22, and earlier in the Austin American-Statesman. See the ad on the outer wrap of this issue of Freethought Today.

The ad features a compelling portrait of birth control crusader Margaret Sanger, and her quote: "No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body." It documents that the bible does not condemn abortion and, in fact, "shows an utter disregard for human life." The ad reminds the reader: "We live under a secular Constitution that wisely separates religion from government, and protects women's reproductive rights."

Lydia Todd was so excited when she saw the ad in the newspaper, she wrote to us telling about her reaction: "Thank you so much for that ad in the Tulsa World. My mother had left it on the kitchen counter for me to see. I was so thrilled by it that I woke everyone in the house yelling about it. I learned that my sister had the same reaction — complete with waking others. I must become an official member now, and so must the rest of the household. Thanks on behalf of my fellow godless Oklahomans! That ad means a lot and is truly comforting for atheists living in a backward Southern hellhole."

The ad is funded and was largely written by Brian Bolton, a retired professor and Life Member of FFRF, in memory of FFRF's principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor (1926-2015), who was propelled into freethought activism by her experiences working to legalize abortion in the late 1960s and early '70s.

FFRF warmly thanks Bolton, who lives in Texas, for his generous support and commitment. Bolton also sponsors FFRF's annual graduate student essay contest. Brian urges other members to help place ads promoting FFRF in Anne Gaylor's memory.

National ad blitz

Timed with the June 4 Reason Rally in Washington D.C., the second set of full-page ads — featured in three of the country's foremost newspapers — to promote FFRF's groundbreaking "I'm Secular and I Vote" campaign. The ad appeared in The New York Times on June 2, USA Today Weekend on June 3–5 and the Washington Post on June 5. View the ad on Page 19 in this issue.

The ad also focuses on the new lawsuit that FFRF has brought against the U.S. Congress for denying its Co-President Dan Barker a chance to give an atheist invocation.

As the ads point out, congressional prayers are extremely sectarian, with Christians comprising 96 percent of officiants, even though a quarter of the American population is nonreligious. "Shouldn't the House of Representatives be Representative?" the ads ask.

Congressional prayer also costs U.S. taxpayers a good-sized bundle. Approximately $800,000 of tax dollars maintain a staff for two Christian chaplains whose major purpose is to open the House or the Senate with a prayer.

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