Election heartening for FFRF’s work
For the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the results of the U.S. presidential election mean the Christian Nationalist takeover of the federal government should end. The Joe Biden/Kamala Harris administration will mean a renewed chance to advocate for secularism and a return to rational debate.
“We the People” have spoken. Unfortunately, the Senate is unlikely to flip (barring two positive outcomes inGeorgia seats up for runoff elections), which will complicate recovery from a Christian Nationalist executive. However, the results overall look like a victory for science over faith, for reproductive and individual rights over theology, and for reason over ideology.
After years of playing defense, FFRF can now push forward. It appears there is a path cleared to achieving gains for FFRF’s movement to keep religion out of government and public policy.
Donald Trump was carried into office on a crest of Christian Nationalism four years ago, a wave that was hostile to everything FFRF works for. We trust the relentless religious assault we’ve been beating back for four years will diminish — and we’ll do everything in our power to ensure that.
FFRF is poised for the opportunities ahead. Our team of attorneys and 30-some staff, and our 33,000 members, are the watchers on the wall separating state and church. We’re the largest U.S. association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics) and the third-largest association of nonbelievers in the world. We’ve added a strategic response campaign, a D.C. lobbyist, and our educational efforts have played a major role in the secular surge. We’ll continue to fight and remain vigilant no matter which party is in the White House or controls Congress.
FFRF has been working with our allies to develop a common secular agenda that Congress and the new administration can quickly implement. We look forward to repairing damage inflicted on secularism and its values. This will entail repealing many Trumpian executive orders, regulations and extrajudicial bodies (such as the Religious Liberty Task Force), but must also include major judicial reform.
Unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate blocked President Obama not only from nominating Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, but also from filling more than 100 seats on the federal bench. The Trump administration has since packed the courts with more than 200 individuals handpicked by the Federalist Society, including unqualified zealots who do not reflect the American people, trampling Senate rules and norms along the way. An illegitimate process allowed Trump to make his third Supreme Court appointment in the midst of the national election — an appointment that clearly endangers abortion and LGBTQ rights, as well as decades of First Amendment precedent separating religion from government.
FFRF has a talented legal team, and it believes that any legal defense of the First Amendment — of the cherished American principle of the separation of state and church — must necessarily mean reforming our federal courts. We face a hostile federal judiciary, more dedicated to Christian Nationalism than the rule of law.
Regardless of the Supreme Court, we’re gaining in the court of public opinion — reflected in the increasingly secular U.S. demographics. But we can’t let theocratic court-packing jeopardize civil rights, the Establishment Clause and our nation’s future. Even with the election results, it is clear that for reason, humanistic values and our secular Constitution to prevail, our nation will need to unpack, correct and rebalance the judiciary.
With your help, we’ll get to work.