Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org
40th anniversary: Timeline of FFRF’s history
Vol. 35 No. 03 April 2018 - 40th anniversary section
- ‘Pray on your own time.’ FFRF starts a regional group to combat governmental prayer (Dane County, Wis.).
- First FFRF lawsuit: Feds order USPS nationwide to stop issuing religious-themed cancellations.
- Annie Laurie Gaylor stops 122-year commence-ment prayer abuse at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- ‘Angels off public payroll.’ FFRF ends school funding of nativity pageant at Wisconsin Capitol.
- John Sontarck, FFRF’s original third founding member, dies.
- FFRF goes national!
- Convention speakers: Supreme Court victors Vashti McCollum, Roy Torcaso.
- FFRF pickets Catholic Church.
- First paid employee (part-time): Sheila Thompson.
- First student essay contest established.
- FFRF removes cross from Terry Andrae (Wis.) State Park.
- Anne and Annie Laurie Gaylor appear on NBC’s ‘Tom Snyder Show.’
- FFRF publishes first bible warning label.
- FFRF publishes first book: The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible, by Ruth Hurmence Green.
- ‘Phooey on Falwell’ FFRF picket.
- First FFRF T-shirt!
- First FFRF film: ‘A Second Look at Religion.’
- FFRF rents first office.
- Anne Gaylor joins paid staff.
- July 7, Ruth Green dies. Writes: ‘Freedom depends upon freethinkers.’
- FFRF’s second book: Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So, by Annie Laurie Gaylor.
- Gaylor v. Reagan lawsuit filed against ‘Year of the Bible.’ Judge James Doyle rips Congress over Year of Bible, won’t enjoin it.
- FFRF’s airs its first TV show, ‘Freethought Forum.’
- FFRF publishes third book: Lead Us Not Into Penn Station, by Anne Gaylor.
- Intro issue, Freethought Today, debuts in September.
- Anne choked by anti-abortion woman after TV show in Philadelphia.
- Four-city TV tour over Year of Bible.
- Anne Gaylor on CNN’s ‘Crossfire.
- FFRF puts up first bus ads: ‘The bible: A grim fairy tale.’
- FFRF sues and wins over UW-Madison religious recruiting.
- Launches ‘Christians Anonymous’ hotline.
- Newspaper headline: ‘Anne Gaylor, Lightning Rod.’
- Oprah Winfrey features FFRF on TV show with guests Anne, Annie Laurie, Dan Barker & Rita Bell.
- FFRF solstice signs on city buses.
- Dan Barker’s first of 130 debates for FFRF takes place in Nashville.
- Wisconsin state Senate (briefly) drops paid prayers after FFRF requests equal time.
- FFRF moves to more spacious office.
- FFRF sues over La Crosse Ten Commandments, Part I.
- First ex-clergy panel at FFRF’s Minneapolis convention.
- Isaac Asimov speaks at N.J. Chapter event.
- FFRF sues to halt Illinois State Chapel suggested by Pat Robertson.
- Wisconsin attorney general rules against pre-game prayer.
- FFRF’s first TV commercial, starring Sheila (Thompson) Jensen.
- Butterfly McQueen becomes 22nd FFRF Lifetime Member.
- FFRF’s second TV commercial featuring Dan Barker airs in Honolulu, Madison, Wis., and Jefferson City, Mo. Censored elsewhere.
- Dan’s ‘Stay Away Pope Polka’ airs in all U.S. cities pope visits.
- Media includes ‘Sally Jessy Raphael,’ Boston People Are Talking, Detroit’s ‘Kelly & Co.’
- Second FFRF film, ‘Champions of the First Amendment,’ debuts.
- FFRF publishes Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children by Dan Barker.
- FFRF publishes Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children by Annie Laurie Gaylor.
- Media: ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘700 Club,’ ‘Donahue.’
- Anne Gaylor wins Gaylor v. Hanaway lawsuit.
- Bible-free hotel room request gets international coverage.
- Butterfly McQueen at FFRF’s convention in Atlanta.
- FFRF sues over Ten Commandments at Colorado state Capitol.
- FFRF complaint closes infamous Baptist home for children.
- Alabama FFRF chapter protests Cheaha State Park Chapel.
- FFRF moves into Freethought Hall, a two-story building in Madison, Wis., thanks to kind donors. (See painting, above.)
- Jack Kevorkian speaks at annual convention.
- FFRF sues over Waunakee, Wis., crèche.
- FFRF mentioned in Tom Robbins’ novel, Skinny Legs and All.
- ‘Portrait of an Atheist’ about Catherine Fahringer in San Antonio Express-News.
- Probable cause found, FFRF’s ethics complaint over Alabama Gov. H. Guy Hunt.
- FFRF asks Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl for ‘equal time’ invocation. No go.
- FFRF publishes Dan Barker’s Losing Faith in Faith.
- July 4: Lake Hypatia Freethought Hall Grand Opening.
- FFRF proclaims Oct. 12 ‘Freethought Day.’
- Catherine Fahringer flies FFRF banners over San Antonio.
- FFRF asks Sen. Russ Feingold to permit Barker invocation. No go.
- FFRF wins suit: Denver mayor enjoined from proclaiming day of prayer.
- ‘Religion is the problem’ banner flies during pope’s visit in Colorado.
- FFRF reissues One Woman’s Fight by Vashti McCollum.
- FFRF stops federal money for Our Lady of the Rockies.
- FFRF challenges ‘In God We Trust’ motto.
- FFRF holds ‘Good without God’ event for schoolkids.
- FFRF’s Alabama chapter sues Roy Moore.
- Butterfly McQueen dies Dec. 22.
- Supreme Court refuses FFRF appeal over ‘In God We Trust’ suit.
- FFRF lawsuit overturns Good Friday holiday.
- First-ever atheist sign goes up in Wisconsin state Capitol.
- FFRF publishes first anthology of women freethinkers, edited by Annie Laurie Gaylor.
- FFRF wins second Wisconsin Good Friday suit.
- FFRF sues over papal shrine in Cherry Creek Park, Colorado.
- FFRF files suit challenging Wisconsin subsidy to Catholic schools.
- Partial victory by FFRF over Marshfield (Wis.) Jesus shrine.
- FFRF’s World Famous Atheist Cookbook debuts.
- First Atheists in Foxholes Award was dedicated on July 4 at Lake Hypatia. Grand opening of new auditorium.
- Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg receives the first Emperor Has No Clothes Award.
- FFRF prevails in Marshfield, Wis., shrine case; shrine may not stay on public land.
- FFRF lawsuit with minister stops public funding to assist clergy to develop marriage standards.
- ‘Friendly Neighborhood Atheist’ music CD released by FFRF.
- FFRF wins before appeals court, stopping direct internet subsidy to parochial schools.
- FFRF gets city of Milwaukee to remove first Eagles Ten Commandments monument placed on public property (see photo at right).
- FFRF wins first court victory in nation against faith-based funding (Faith Works of Milwaukee).
- ‘Scopes II’ FFRF victory halts illegal bible instruction in Rhea County, Tenn.
- FFRF sues Montana over merger with faith health co-op. First of 10 victorious court cases against the faith-based initiative handled by outside counsel Rich Bolton.
- FFRF prevails in second challenge of La Crosse Ten Commandments. (Final win, 2005.)
- FFRF wins lawsuit against faith-based funding in Montana health co-op case.
- FFRF wins first court victory halting funding in progress under faith-based initiative, Mentorkids USA (Ariz.).
- Barker represents atheism at World Religions Conference.
- Media include ‘The O’Reilly Factor’, CNN, national CBS.
- Dr. Oliver Sacks receives 2005 Emperor Has No Clothes Award.
- FFRF’s winning challenge of Faith-based Office at White House, Cabinets appealed to Supreme Court.
- Julia Sweeney performs ‘Letting Go of God’ at annual convention.
- FFRF publishes Rhymes for the Irreverent by Yip Harburg with Yip Harburg Foundation.
- Freethought Radio, which debuted in 2006, goes national, on 30 stations over Air America.
- Media includes national AP, USA Today, ‘CBS Evening News,’ C-Span, CNN, ‘ABC World News,’ Chronicle of Philanthropy.
- Plurality opinion in Hein v. FFRF denies FFRF right to sue over Cabinet faith-based offices.
- FFRF places first billboards after 3 decades of censorship.
- FFRF accepted for Combined Federal Campaign.
- Ron Reagan, Janeane Garafalo, Julia Sweeney record radio ads for FFRF.
- FFRF, with kind donor help, places first ad in New York Times.
- FFRF places billboards in 13 states!
- FFRF hires first attorney, Rebecca (Kratz) Markert, who writes 200 complaint letters.
- FFRF has eight staffers.
- FFRF Darwin billboard goes up, covered by Rachel Maddow.
- FFRF runs first bus signs in 20 years: ‘Sleep in on Sundays.’
- Media includes CNN, Colbert’s ‘The Word’ segment, Canalplus French TV.
- 20th anniversary 4th of July celebration at Lake Hypatia Freethought Hall.
- Honorary Board starts.
- FFRF has 10 full-time staff, including two attorneys, who sent 300 complaint letters.
- FFRF wins first round of National Day of Prayer challenge. FFRF runs many ads capitalizing on the victory.
- 700 attend convention headlined by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
- Billboard blitz includes over 100 billboards.
- Third essay contest, for grad students, funded by Brian Bolton.
- FFRF has 13 full-time staff.
- FFRF sues over Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s proclaimed ‘day of fasting and prayer.’
- 90+ state/church victories, 495 letters of complaint.
- ‘Out of the Closet’ billboard campaigns take place in North Carolina, Arizona.
- Richard Dawkins gets the Emperor Has No Clothes Award.
- FFRF speaks at Reason Rally, Global Atheist Conference in Australia.
- FFRF issues third music CD by Barker, ‘Adrift on a Star.’
- FFRF places first national TV ads on ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ and ‘CBS Evening News.’
- JFK ad & ad with Julia Sweeney against Catholic bishops runs 1,000 times.
- Grace Quiroz wins billboard contest.
- FFRF has 14 full-time employees, including five attorneys.
- Steven Pinker, one of ‘100 most influential people in world’ (TIME), becomes FFRF’s first honorary president.
- Groundbreaking for expanded Freethought Hall.
- FFRF and Sacramento chapter place 55 ‘Out of the Closet’ billboards!
- Media: Sean Hannity, Fox TV, ‘CBS This Morning’.
- Ron Reagan records TV ad for FFRF that runs on Comedy Central, censored by NBC, ABC, CBS, Discovery.
- 150 state/church victories.
- FFRF files amicus with Marci Hamilton against Hobby Lobby anti-contraception case.
- Anne Nicol Gaylor, principal founder, dies June 2015.
- 400 attend grand opening of expanded Freethought Hall.
- Media include CNN, ‘CBS This Morning.’
- FFRF starts fourth essay contest, for students of color.
- FFRF Board creates Nonbelief Relief charity.
- Attorneys send 1,186 formal complaint letters, have 241 victories.
- FFRF refurbishes statue to Great Agnostic Robert Ingersoll in Peoria park, with help from Zenos Frudakis.
- Attorneys write 1,050 complaint letters, earn 230 victories.
- FFRF’s PR campaign: ‘I’m an atheist and I vote.’
- FFRF wins inaugural Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award.
- FFRF has 24 staffers.
- FFRF starts Educate Congress campaign (thanks to Stephen Uhl)
- FFRF Commissions, creates Clarence Darrow statue by Zenos Frudakis, for lawn of ‘Monkey Trial’ courthouse in Rhea Co., Tenn., to balance the historical record.
- FFRF reaches 32,000 members, 25 staffers.
- ‘Freethought Matters’ TV show debuts.
- Freethought Today also goes mobile friendly, online.
- Co-creates Avijit Roy Memorial Award.