Letterbox (Dec. 2022)
Freethought Today gets space at library
As a proud Lifetime Member of FFRF, I was delighted to find when we moved to the Sacramento area almost five years ago that our community was so well represented by our local FFRF chapter and its president, Judy Saint.
We live in a 55-plus community of mostly retirees, a very diverse group. In our community lodge, we have a volunteer library of donated books and publications. On its shelves are The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, People and National Geographic, among others.
Several months ago, I started leaving my well-read copies of Freethought Today among the donated magazines. I was apprehensive, since I wasn’t sure who was curating the collection and if they would agree to display Freethought Today. I realize not everyone here is open-minded. Indeed, we have our share of very conservative folks.
To my delight, my newspaper donations are now being displayed among publications of all sorts, such as The National Review and the far-right Epoch Times (affiliated with the Falun Gong religious movement)!
When I thanked her, our volunteer community librarian responded:
“I want to thank you for your donations. It is essen
tial that a variety of thoughts and information are provided to our community to peruse. My vision for our library is a space that supports most everyone’s needs and provides displays that are interesting in an environment which is welcoming and neat.”
I couldn’t agree more! In my opinion, Freethought Today should be a part of every community library. Thanks for all you do.
Religions are built upon sexual harassment
Indoctrinating people into believing that sexual behaviors are a sin is sexual harassment. Making contraception and abortion illegal is sexual harassment. Taking action against non-straight people is sexual harassment. Treating women like slaves and indoctrinating them into thinking their role is to be a slave and have a slave mentality is sexual harassment. A large part of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism is built upon sexual harassment.
Conversation between Barker, Sweeney was great
I really enjoyed the San Antonio convention, especially Dan Barker’s interview with Julia Sweeney. They seemed like old friends relaxing and chatting in their living room!
FFRF legal team’s report revealed its excellence
What a wonderful convention! In particular, I wish to comment on the Legal/Legislative/Lobbying Reports session. FFRF’s attorneys gave the best overall report on all of the legal activities I have ever seen. Every presenter provided a clear picture of their accomplishments and demonstrated the breadth and depth of the work of the entire legal team. Hearing all aspects of the FFRF legal team in one session strongly demonstrates the excellence and importance of its work. Thank you!
Highway sign dampened on our great mood
My spouse and I just returned from a trip to North Carolina to visit her 92-year-old father. It was our first visit. The weather was chilly and sunny, and the fall colors were absolutely spectacular. North Carolina must certainly rival any state in the union with the beauty and density of its trees as one travels the very well-maintained highways.
As we were driving along one particularly lovely stretch of road, remarking on nature’s colorful palette, a sign appeared, informing us that we were on the Billy Graham Freeway.
What a buzzkill.
FFRF’s college essayists do us all proud
The essays in the 2022 college student contest are a sight to behold!
The 11 winners and 13 honorable mentions made me so proud. I do not envy the judges’ jobs as all of the essays are winners. They are full of courage and sharp intelligence and they give us hope for the future, which is badly needed.
And FFRF, we are depending on you and we gain from your strength, so keep up this valuable work as if your very life depends on it, as it truly does, for without clean air and water, without health care and education for all, without a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive decisions, without separation of state and church, how can future generations survive?
Thank you to all FFRF staff and volunteers who work with dedication and courage.
Joanie Barker Nichols
Empowered by writing a letter to the editor
I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper, the Independent Record, urging a “no” vote on a bill known as the “Medical Care Requirements for Born-Alive Infants Measure.” I did this as a direct result of FFRF’s informative email on the subject.
This was my first attempt at publicly expressing my views about abortion issues. I hesitated because I was worried about negative repercussions. I need not have worried, however, and I feel empowered by the experience.
This is just one gift FFRF has bestowed upon me.
More members should come out as nonbelievers
Wow! What a convention. Kudos to everyone involved in making for an absolutely splendid experience! My husband and I attended from Decorah, Iowa. We last attended in San Francisco in 2018. It was grand to “Mess with Texas” and San Antonio is a beautiful city.
Thank you to Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, the attorney team, “Godless Gospel,” each speaker, presenter, award recipient, old and young, the FACT organization in San Antonio, the police officers present to secure our safety, Hyatt Regency’s hospitality staff, all the far-flung members and attendees. Truly a spectacular event.
What a treat to retreat for a short respite, and to learn more about so many state/church separation matters, as well as the new and inventive ways that radical Christians come up with to indoctrinate the unwary young.
We had the chance to meet several FFRF members during the convention. One thing that stood out for me was that, for a variety of reasons, only a tiny percentage of the people I met there were “out” as atheists or humanists or nonbelievers in their local communities or families or friendships! The reasons varied, but all were based in fear of the stigma of being nonbelievers. And these were, to a person, educated, reasonably well off, mostly former professionals now retired.
If we expect society to continue improving toward greater acceptance and less belief, it is essential that we humanists, of whatever stripe we claim, make the effort, however difficult, to come out. Look at what the gay community has made possible! Who’d have ever imagined when I came out in 1992 that we’d one day have same-sex marriage?
Thank you FFRF leaders, staff and everyone else listed above for a truly excellent experience!
San Antonio convention was educational and fun
My wife and I just attended the FFRF convention in San Antonio and had a great time. We just wanted to let you know that we thought it was super. It was well organized, educational and fun! I was pleasantly surprised to hear it was FFRF’s 45th conference. Fantastic!
My wife won a “clean money” $5 bill in the raffle, which made the conference even more fun. Thank you so much for doing such important work. We fully support FFRF and hope to be able to support many years into the future.
John “Ben” Caldwell
Everybody hides behind their version of Jesus
Jesus shmesus. Everybody hides behind Jesus.
Adolph Hitler used him to kill 6 million Jews. President Trump used him to get the evangelical vote. President George W. Bush used him to invade Iraq. Vladimir Putin used him to invade Ukraine. The pope used him to unleash the Crusades. The Catholic Church uses him to keep women from becoming priests. Christians use him to send unbelievers to hell.
Heretics and witches were put to the torch in his name. Jesus is used to burn books. Jesus is used to repress gay people. Jesus was used to justify slavery. Jesus is used as an excuse to not get vaccinated. People running for office with little silver crosses around their necks use him to spread their racism, bigotry and xenophobia. The NRA uses Jesus to sell guns. TV preachers make money off Jesus to buy mansions and private jets to fly around the world in. Steve Bannon has a picture of Jesus behind him as he spews his hatred and madness on the internet. Jesus is used to force little girls raped by their fathers to have their babies.
And on and on.
Donation is in memory of my wife Connie
I became a Lifetime Member of FFRF after my wife Connie’s death and my own cancer situation.
We were married for 45 years, and Connie was a registered nurse for 40 years, working mostly oncology.
We came to our atheism in different ways: Me through reading and Connie through seeing what her patients had to go through. Connie was a breast cancer patient twice — once when she was 35 and again at 61.
People who knew how we felt about religion thought we would start praying and asking for a minister. We did not. Connie had hospice here at our home and I took care of her until the end.
Before she became too sick, I asked her to write letters to her siblings and our son to tell them what we wanted to have done when she died. This was to stop them from pressuring me to do what they thought would be right.
Connie did not want a funeral service, no showing and no celebration of life. She wanted to be cremated and interred at the National Cemetery.
I am a Vietnam veteran (U.S. Marine Corps) and when I go, I’ll have the same.
I am donating $1,000 in memory of Connie, who I miss every day. She kept me level.
Quitting religion is good for your health
Good things that happened to me when I stopped believing in “religion.”
I quit smoking because I didn’t want to be an addict. My thinking and daily behavior revolved around getting my “fix.” It’s a lot like religion.
What are the good things that happen to people while/after tapering off “religion — the God drug”? Freedom from religion is a breath of fresh air, a sigh of relief. Religion contaminates and pollutes the mind, our humanity, our country, the future. Like the zodiac, religion’s myths, the superstitious fairy tales, the theater of the mind, the mental masturbation, the three dimensional “Dungeons and Dragons” are “for entertainment only.”
Will the radical religious tell us to leave?
I just wanted to thank you for the work you do to keep this nation free. Years ago, a friend of mine told me that this country went bad after they took Judeo-Christian prayer out of schools. I asked what prayers would they be? What if there was a Jewish or a Hindu child present and did not want to say a Christian prayer? He quickly said, “They can leave the room.” That comment made me look at him in a different way. What he said actually scared me. I am scared now with all the radical religious people running for political power. Are these people going to tell us to “leave the room”? You can count on my continued support.
High school essays made me feel hopeful
I just read the high school student essays in the November issue and was thoroughly impressed and hopeful about the future.