A weekly show by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Slightly irreverent views, news, music and interviews.
info_outline Sex and the Constitution 01/17/2019
Sex and the Constitution FFRF and other secular groups are protesting the Attorney General nomination of William Barr, a religious extremist who disrespects secularists and state/church separation. During this anniversary week of Roe v Wade (January 22, 1973), we celebrate the life of Margaret Sanger by hearing Dan Barker's song "No Gods, No Masters." Then we talk with University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone about his book Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century.
info_outline Standing up, speaking out 01/10/2019
Standing up, speaking out We recap FFRF’s impressive legal statistics for 2018 (1,060 formal complaint letters to erring government officials ending 315 state/church violations!). FFRF’s Robert G. Ingersoll Legal Fellow Colin McNamara briefly joins us to recap the ruckus his complaint over religious displays is creating in Camden, Mo. The rest of the program is devoted to a never-before-broadcast interview of the fascinating, freethinking, feminist and feisty Cecile Richards, formerly head of Planned Parenthood, before an audience of 1,000 freethinkers. Tune in to hear what it was like growing up in Texas as the daughter of Ann Richards, Cecile’s first state/church protest in sixth grade, how Jarred Kushner tried to “bribe” Planned Parenthood to stop providing abortions and why Cecile thinks patriarchy might be in its last gasp. P.S. As a bonus, we play a bit of “Sandan Shuffle,” by saxophonist Virginia Mayhew, granddaughter of Ansel Adams and daughter of longtime FFRF member Anne Helms.
info_outline Nonbelief in Nigeria 01/03/2019
Nonbelief in Nigeria FFRF’s lead attorney Rebecca Markert tells us about our recent victory by the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, who refused to rehear their decision declaring unconstitutional the practice of the Chino Hills (California) School Board opening sessions with prayer. After hearing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declare that Christians should fight marriage equality "until the Rapture," we listen to folksinger Malvina Reynolds perform "This World." Then we speak with Nigerian activist and scholar Leo Igwe, who tells us about next week's humanism convention in Abuja, "Leaving Religion: Risks, Challenges and Opportunities," and the dangers nonbelievers face in that country.
info_outline Looking For Lorraine 12/27/2018
Looking For Lorraine Princeton professor Imani Perry tells us about her new biography, Looking For Lorraine: The Radiant Life of Lorraine Hansberry, about the artist/activist/freethinking author of the play and movie Raisin In The Sun, who was the first Black woman to have a play on Broadway. We celebrate the New Year on a relaxing but irreverent note by hearing some songs written by Eric Idle of Monty Python, and a beautiful rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” performed by Scottish balladeer Jim Malcolm.
info_outline Solstice Tribute 12/20/2018
Solstice Tribute During this week of the Winter Solstice, we rejoice in a federal court victory. FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott tells us about the positive decision in our legal challenge to bible classes in West Virginia public elementary schools. After hearing some "holiday humor," Christmas jokes, and irreverent seasonal songs (including Tom Lehrer's "A Christmas Song" and Roy Zimmerman's "Christmas is Pain"), we explain the real reason for the season and listen to Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun" and Dan Barker's "Solstice Tribute."
info_outline Losing Our Religion 12/13/2018
Losing Our Religion We celebrate the December 15 “Bill of Rights” Day. FFRF Legal Assistant Whitney Steffen tells us about the many “Winter Solstice” and “Bill of Rights” displays that FFRF members are erecting around the county to counter the Christian nativity scenes on public property. Then we talk with Leslea Mair, co-director, producer, and writer of the beautiful new documentary “Losing Our Religion,” about ministers who have lost their faith.
info_outline If it quacks like a . . . 12/06/2018
If it quacks like a . . . This week’s guest is feminist-topical singer/songwriter Kristin Lems, who will perform one of her classic songs and a new song about Trump (“Like a Duck”). Tune in to learn more about a surprising First Amendment violation halted speedily in Illinois by FFRF constitutional attorney Ryan Jayne. The show includes a first-hand report on the International Conference on Sharia, Segregation & Secularism, a comment about Einstein’s “ungodly” auctioned letter, and a recap of FFRF’s irreverent Winter Solstice displays countering Christian nativity scenes in public forums around the U.S. Outro music includes a selection of songs with lyrics written by the thoroughly secular Ira Gershwin, in honor of his Dec. 6 birthday.
info_outline The Value of Telling The Truth 11/27/2018
The Value of Telling The Truth Twelve-year-old author Bailey Harris, who started writing her first book when she was eight, speaks at FFRF's annual convention in San Francisco on November 2, telling us how she came to write the freethought children's book My Name Is Stardust. Then we hear the actor, director and producer John de Lancie (who played "Q" on Star Trek: The Next Generation) explain to our convention audience "The value of telling the truth."
info_outline Give Thanks Where Thanks is Due 11/21/2018
Give Thanks Where Thanks is Due We have a victory to report in Colorado and a victory to defend in Florida. After hearing 19th-century Robert G. Ingersoll's 1897 "Thanksgiving Sermon,” the 21st-century comedian Leighann Lord gives us "Six things to argue about at Thanksgiving other than politics." Then we talk with the first winner of FFRF's new "Avijit Roy Courage Award," Rasel Ahmed, co-editor of Bangladesh's first and only LGBTQ magazine who had to leave the country to seek asylum in the United States because of threats to his life.
info_outline Escape From Pentecostalism 11/15/2018
Escape From Pentecostalism We announce a new lawsuit challenging the creation of a Christian chaplaincy in Wisconsin's Department of Justice. After exposing the dangerous Christian nationalism of the acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (appointed by Trump to replace Sessions), we talk with FFRF's new Editorial Assistant Bailey Nachreiner-Mackesey about the Trump administration's latest assault on women's healthcare. Then we interview former Pentecostal Jessica Wilbanks about her poignant new memoir, When I Spoke in Tongues: A Story of Faith and Its Loss.
info_outline Secular Invasion 11/08/2018
Secular Invasion Just returning from our national convention in San Francisco, we hear the Moment of Bedlam at the annual Nonprayer Breakfast and hear parts of speeches by actor John de Lancie, Secular Coalition for America director Larry Decker, U.S. Representative (Ca.) Jared Huffman, and comedian Leighann Lord. After hearing Dan Barker's song "The Freethought Blues," we talk with Maryam Namazie, who is organizing the "International Sharia, Segregation & Secularism" conference in London this month.
info_outline Heresy Trial 11/01/2018
Heresy Trial FFRF lead attorney Rebecca Markert, celebrating 10 years at FFRF, updates us on the legal department's past year of litigation and non-litigation victories for state/church separation. After hearing Joni Mitchell sing "Big Yellow Taxi" and Dan Barker sing "Bread & Roses" (in honor of Annie Laurie's birthday), we talk with United Church of Canada pastor Gretta Vosper, an open atheist and author of With Or Without God, who is undergoing a "heresy trial" even though her congregation wants her to remain in the pulpit.
info_outline Make Trouble 10/25/2018
Make Trouble This week we discuss the oral arguments in two federal cases by FFRF: Barker v. Conroy, in DC Circuit Court of Appeals, dealing with discrimination by the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Gaylor v. Mnuchin, in Chicago's 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, dealing with FFRF's challenge of the IRS code that allows ministers to exclude their "housing allowance" from income. Then we talk with Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood, about her new book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead--My Life Story.
info_outline Cleaning Up After Dogma 10/18/2018
Cleaning Up After Dogma "Cleaning up after dogma" is the theme of this week's program. After celebrating the births, lives and irreverence of the late Tom Petty and Ursula K. LeGuin, we'll play an outrageous clip of evangelist Pat Robertson, whitewashing Saudi Arabian abuses. We'll report on two nationally significant FFRF court challenges and other FFRF news. In honor of the upcoming referendum in next week's Irish election to remove blasphemy laws from the Irish Constitution, we'll listen to Dan Barker's song "Beware of Dogma." Then we'll talk with Michael Nugent and Jane Donnelly of Atheist Ireland about their work to remove the archaic and ridiculous blasphemy law from the Irish Constitution.
info_outline Creating Change 10/11/2018
Creating Change “Don't mourn — organize!" Those are fitting words by freethinking labor organizer Joe Hill for discouraged secularists after another right-wing justice has joined the Supreme Court. FFRF legal fellow Colin McNamara tells us about the educational letter he helped us send to Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, who has officially encouraged all children to "bring your Bible to school." Then we talk with Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association and author of the book Creating Change Through Humanism.
info_outline Supreme Danger 10/04/2018
Supreme Danger More FFRF state/church victories and school-prayer challenges to report in Georgia and Alabama. After hearing the Joe Hill song "The Preacher and the Slave" (sung by Dan Barker and Kristin Lems), we talk with FFRF attorneys Patrick Elliott and Ryan Jayne, who listened to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's entire initial testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and conclude that his confirmation would be a disaster for the separation of state and church.
info_outline Born Criminal 09/27/2018
Born Criminal The 2018 evangelical "Values Voter Summit" shows that the religious right has abandoned all pretense of values. FFRF attorney Chris Line tells us about some of his recent state/church victories in Utah, Georgia, and Alabama. Then we talk with biographer Angelica Shirley Carpenter about her new book, the long-overdue first biography of a 19th-century freethinking feminist (who, as L. Frank Baum's mother-in-law, was dubbed "The Mother of Oz"): Born Criminal: Matilda Joslyn Gage, Radical Suffragist.
info_outline Godless Citizens 09/20/2018
Godless Citizens FFRF urges the IRS to investigate President Trump’s “spiritual adviser” Paula White over illegal church politicking. Annie Laurie explains how Judge Kavanaugh’s alleged attempted rape mirrors biblical teachings. FFRF urges investigation into Catholic Church sexual crimes against children. After talking with FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne about a New Jersey county petitioning the Supreme Court to overturn our federal victory prohibiting tax dollars from repairing churches, we interview Cornell scholar R. Laurence Moore about the new book he co-authored with Isaac Kramnick called Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic: Atheists in American Public Life.
info_outline Freethought Caucus 09/13/2018
Freethought Caucus We have two state/church victories to report. FFRF lead attorney Rebecca Markert tells us about our recent win in federal appeals court, ruling that a tall Christian cross in a public park in Pensacola, Florida, is unconstitutional, and we hear a news story about FFRF's successful letter to a West Virginia school district which prompted them to stop Christian prayers over the loudspeakers at high-school football games. Then we speak with Congressman Jared Huffman (of California) who founded the historic Freethought Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.
info_outline Keep An Open Mind 09/06/2018
Keep An Open Mind FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel has been watching the Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court and concludes that he is "a wrecking ball aimed at the wall of separation between church and state." After listening to Dan Barker's song for children, "Keep An Open Mind," we talk with former Adventist pastor Ryan Bell, who is now National Organizing Manager for the Secular Student Alliance, promoting freethought on college and high-school campuses.
info_outline Etched in Stone 08/30/2018
Etched in Stone After analyzing the erroneous remarks President Trump delivered before evangelicals at the White House this week, we describe FFRF's new ad in the New York Times: "It's Time to Consider Quitting the Catholic Church." We hear a clip of comedian Julia Sweeney as she was interviewed on FFRF's Freethought Matters TV show. Then we talk with William C. Stone, the lead attorney in the historic 1980 Supreme Court case Stone v. Graham, which declared the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools to be unconstitutional.
info_outline The Atheist Minority 08/23/2018
The Atheist Minority Educator and author Sikivu Hutchinson, founder of Black Skeptics of Los Angeles (BSLA), describes the four new winners of FFRF's and BSLA's "Catherine Fahringer Memorial Student Scholarships" for students of color. After hearing the "freethought" lyrics of "Dancing In The Dark," we time-travel back to 2006, during Freethought Radio's first year of broadcast, to listen to our first interview with Ron Reagan, the atheist son of President Ronald Reagan.
info_outline Out of God’s Closet 08/16/2018
Out of God’s Closet The Pennsylvania Catholic Church scandal is the horrible news of the week, involving hundreds of pedophile priests and thousands of victims. After hearing the song "Check It Out," which Dan wrote when he was transitioning out of the ministry more than 30 years ago, we talk with former Catholic priest Stephen Uhl, a long-time generous FFRF member, about why he left the priesthood and what he is doing to bolster secular public education.The Pennsylvania Catholic Church scandal is the horrible news of the week, involving hundreds of pedophile priests and thousands of victims. After hearing the song "Check It Out," which Dan wrote when he was transitioning out of the ministry more than 30 years ago, we talk with former Catholic priest Stephen Uhl, a long-time generous FFRF member, about why he left the priesthood and what he is doing to bolster secular public education.
info_outline Friend of the Court 08/09/2018
Friend of the Court We have another public school state/church victory to report in Indiana, and a school prayer complaint in Mississippi. We celebrate the birthday of the famous 19th-century agnostic orator Robert Green Ingersoll. Then we talk with Adam Chodorow, professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, about the powerful friend-of-the-court brief he wrote (signed by 22 law professors) for the federal appeal of FFRF's challenge to the IRS Clergy Housing Allowance that gives a huge tax break to ministers.
info_outline At The End of the World 08/02/2018
At The End of the World After criticizing Attorney General Jeff Session's new (so-called) Religious Freedom Taskforce, FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott tells us about our newest lawsuit, challenging the "Lord's Prayer" at Parkersburg, West Virginia, city council meetings. We celebrate the magician James Randi’s 90th birthday by hearing him describe how he was “never religious.” Then we talk with Arctic explorer Lawrence Millman about the senseless 1941 religiously motivated murders in Hudson Bay, described in his new book, At The End Of The World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic.
info_outline Freedom of Religion and Belief 07/26/2018
Freedom of Religion and Belief After listening to national coverage on "Megan Kelly Today" of FFRF's complaint about a Christian lip-sync video by a Texas police department, we talk with victorious litigation attorney David Kaloyanides, who handled FFRF's federal lawsuit against a California school board whose meetings include Christian prayer and preaching, resulting in a resounding unanimous decision in our favor this week from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Then we talk with Daniel Mach, Director of ACLU's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, about the precarious status of state/church separation in the country today.
info_outline Don’t Tear Down That Wall 07/19/2018
Don’t Tear Down That Wall Cardinal McCarrick is sacked for sexual molestation. FFRF complains about a Texas police department worship video and about Tennessee's law requiring the posting of "In God We Trust" in classrooms. After discussing the Russian connection to the National Prayer Breakfast, we hear part of Samantha Bee's "Goodbye Roe v. Wade" monologue. The we talk with author Susan Jacoby, whose article “The White House is Tearing Down the Wall Between Church and State” ran this month in the New York Times.
info_outline Supreme Court: Danger & Hope 07/12/2018
Supreme Court: Danger & Hope FFRF Strategic Response attorneys Ryan Jayne and Andrew Seidel describe the dangers to state/church separation and to civil rights of Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Then we talk with author and The Nation columnist Katha Pollitt about her essay in today's New York Times, "Roe Isn't Going Down Without a Fight," which details exactly what we can do to preserve women's rights and true religious liberty.
info_outline No Health Care For You 07/05/2018
No Health Care For You FFRF's Program Assistant Kristina Daleiden tells us about the new "Secular America" campaign to register voters and how some FFRF chapters are already involved. After listening to Representative Jared Huffman (CA) interview Representative Jamie Raskin (MD) and FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel on his "Off the Cuff" podcast, we talk with author and sociologist Abby Scher about her recent article in The Progressive: "No Health Care For You: The Trump team wants to make it easier for health providers to refuse care because of their religious beliefs."
info_outline The Trouble With God 06/28/2018
The Trouble With God Nonbelief Relief announces charitable grants to combat hunger, oppression, and discrimination around the world. After lamenting the resignation of Supreme Court justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and the recent bad anti-Muslim and anti-abortion Supreme Court decisions, FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott describes our new lawsuit challenging the Ten Commandments at the Arkansas capitol. Then we talk with screenwriter Chris Matheson (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) about his new book, The Trouble With God: A Divine Comedy About Judgment (and Misjudgment).