Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Letterbox (January/February 2018)

Vol. 35 No. 01 January/February 2018
Steve Petersen and Shirley Moll are shown at the foot of the Robert Ingersoll statue.                                                                                                                                                                         

Thanks for restoring Ingersoll statue

Here is a photo of us from our visit to the restored Robert G. Ingersoll statute in Peoria, Ill. Thank you to FFRF for spearheading the restoration of freethinker Ingersoll and keeping his proud heritage alive and remembered.

Minnesota


Washington Post guilty of Christmas overkill

I know it was the Christmas season, but the Washington Post was guilty of dismal overkill on the subject, including treacly sermons from pundits such as E.J. Dionne (“The radical Christmas miracle”) and Michael Gerson (“A season of hope, even in a time of grief”).  Plus, there was stuff in the paper about evangelicals who were gaga over a trip to the Bible Museum, and budding journalists from an evangelical school who think it’s OK to twist reality and facts to suit their bible-based beliefs.

This is not a Christian nation. Some, like myself, believe religions bear much responsibility for the bigotry and hate in the world. (Evangelicals are taught to despise LGBT people, for example. Why do we take their ugly beliefs seriously?) How about greater respect for reason and less for superstition?

How about an interview with a scientist, atheist or humanist? How about a story about somebody who finds meaning in leading a good life without an imaginary friend called God? Our rational voices should be heard, too.

Carolyn D. Lewis

Delaware


FFRF desperately needed in our country now

Once again, please accept the enclosed $1,000 check as an unrestricted gift to help further the courageous, principled work of FFRF.

I thought our country had reached a low point in 2016, but we have sunk even lower, and our nation even more desperately needs FFRF. As a Life Member, I remain extremely grateful to FFRF leadership, management and staff members for their dedication and perseverance.

Scribner Messenger

Maryland


No more worthy cause than being a Life Member

Thank you for all you do each and every day to protect our democracy and work to maintain the separation of state and church. Words cannot express my profound gratitude and appreciation. I am proud to be a member of this awesome organization!

Becoming a Life Member of FFRF is something I’ve been considering and wanting to do for a while. But then life happens, I get busy and just put it off. Not this year. Now, perhaps more than ever in our nation’s history, I need to become a Life Member. I can’t conceive of a more worthy cause.

Kathy Johnson

California


Young freethinker ran away from nightmares

I was pleased to see Ron Reagan’s TV ad. It has now been many months and several editions of Freethought Today later. You have my thanks.

I actually became aware of my freethinker self 50 years ago, when I was in first grade. I was agnostic before I knew what it meant.

I’ve read testimonials, such as Jackie Brown’s article in the December issue. I can empathize with her. Adults can place guilt and doubt inside a kid’s head. I have a narrative of my own.

When I was young, I attended Sabbath School. One morning, the teacher tested me.

“Do you love Jesus?” she asked. “Yes, I love Jesus,” I answered. She asked if I love my mom and dad. “Yes, I love my mom and dad.” Then she asked if I love Jesus more than mom and dad. I said, “No. I love my mom.”

She then told me if I didn’t change my ways and put Jesus before everyone, including my mom, I was on my way to perdition. Guilt. That’s a heavy load to put on a 6-year-old.

I started having a recurring dream. A booming voice would come down and say, “Rodney, I’m watching you!” I was scared.

In first grade, I got my first pair of tennis shoes. I could run so fast the wind would blow back my hair. The dream came again that night. “Rodney, I’m watching you!” I remember I took off running. I yelled back over my shoulder, “Oh, yeah? Try and catch me!”

Brave words for a first-grader. I never had the nightmare again.

Rod Lewis

Oregon


Anne Nicol Gaylor quote a rebuttal to Newton’s 

Here is the letter to the editor I wrote that appeared in the Concord Monitor:

“Atheism is so senseless . . . this did not happen by chance,” says Sir Isaac Newton, implying the existence of a divine planner. Trouble is, as great a scientist as he was, science has marched on and we need not rely on the supernatural to explain the operation of our solar system. Physics and astronomy do that quite nicely. Please allow a rebuttal to his dubious insight about atheists with a quote from a freethinker. “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” — Anne Nicol Gaylor, Freedom from Religion Foundation. I would dearly like to see this quote posted as prominently as Sir Isaac’s. I can provide more quotes from modern and historical freethinkers, if the Monitor is so inclined, to provide a challenge to religious thinking.

Jack Shields

New Hampshire


Here’s a meaningful gift for FFRF and my love

As a Lifetime Member and proud sponsor of a paving stone at your headquarters, I would like to sponsor a Lifetime Membership for my best friend, love of my life and wife (all one person!) who I was very fortunate to meet in this one and only life.

Thank you for all that you do legally and for your monthly publication. Both are greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately, imaginary friends and imaginary lines are the greatest threat that we can, hopefully, survive.

As Carl Sagan said, make it meaningful.

Matthew J. Koch

Illinois


FFRF provides light in revolting times

What a year! As we drown in the undertow of relentless greed, corruption, deception, privatization of all things public and spikes in hate crimes, we find ourselves incredulous that the perverse tax reform legislation will widen inequality gaps and redistribute wealth up to the top 1 percent.

And yet, in the midst of relentless political and (un)natural disasters, we have been so inspired by the 98 percent of black women in Alabama who saved democracy (again) and the courage of women across the country to stand up and speak out against sexual violence in Hollywood, Congress and the media. We honor the DACA youth, indigenous leaders and (un)documented immigrants who collectively resist. We so respect Colin Kaepernick and those athletes who took a knee and we support queer and trans youth who demand dignity and bathrooms. We stand in solidarity with #blacklivesmatter and #metoo, galvanizing a nation in resistance.

And on our list of thanks, we are so grateful that your organization continues to carve a vibrant, loving corner for peace, justice and imagination in deeply contentious times.

The Fine Family Foundation has meager resources, but boundless appreciation for what you do. In that spirit, we send you a small contribution to honor the light you keep lit even during these “revolting” times.

Thank you for the sweet slice of justice you create.

Board Members

Fine Family Foundation

New York


FFRF gives me support I had been missing

I’m a new member to FFRF as of March 2017. I want to thank you for all that y’all do up there in Wisconsin, as we say here in Arkansas. It’s quite challenging at times living here among all the evangelical Christians, but you make it much easier.

I felt at first that I had no support (as in “support group”) from people, but now I feel like I have a specific support system when watching “Ask an Atheist,” listening to Freethought Radio, and reading Freethought Today. I‘m quite thankful.

Richard M. Thomas

Arkansas


Donation will help hold up wall of separation

Kindly accept my donation of $5,000 for 2017. This past year has been, and I do not doubt that future years are going to be, profoundly challenging for American nonbelievers. I hope my donation will serve as an adequate expression of my confidence in you as defenders of the wall of separation of state and church and will materially help you in that regard.

James Wood Bailey

New Jersey


Are we not drawn onward to new era?

I have charitable donation money burning a hole in my pocket this year and I thought of you. Thanks for all you do.

One of my hobbies is palindromes, and I hereby volunteer to be your official palindromist whenever the “spirit” arises.

This one is about a guy who slangily tells his religious friend that there is one important issue to be aware of: There is no all-seeing all-knowing deity and the Freedom From Religion Foundation opens up one’s mind to see this clearly:

Dog, one to note: No seer. FFRF frees one to note no god.

Hope this brought a smile to your face.

Win Emmons

Texas