Letterbox (May 2023)
Reagan ad should air on ‘GMA3’s ‘Faith Friday’
I had the TV on in the background while CBS’ “GMA3” show was airing with it weekly “Faith Friday” guest. It drives me absolutely insane every week to hear a major network promote this religious garbage.
I would love to see FFRF’s Ron Reagan commercial run during this segment!
FFRF mug makes daily tea time a pleasure
I find great pleasure daily when sipping my tea from the “Not Afraid of Burning in Hell” mug. I love the design of this special mug and it is so well made.
Thank you for all your never-ending work and dedication.
Mom and I kept it secret about our nonbelief
I was raised Catholic in the 1950s-1960s and my large family attended church almost every Sunday. My dad was only second generation from Ireland and it was important to him that we be raised Catholic. At first, Mass was said in Latin, which added a kind of surreal beauty and mystery to the whole thing. The incense, the music, the pageantry. Then, in the early 1960s, it switched to English. It totally lost its allure to me. “Sanguis Christi” repeated over and over was so much more beautiful than “Blood of Christ.” I cannot say that I really ever was into the whole thing at any point, but hearing what had been said in English really got me thinking. The realist in my little self just kept asking: “How can any of this be real?”
As I sat through Mass one Sunday, trying not to pet the fur collar on the woman in the pew in front of me, I began to really question the whole religion/God thing. I thought to myself, “Is this like Santa and the Easter Bunny, and when I’m older, Mom will tell me it’s fake?” When we got outside after the service and were headed to the car, I asked her. She shushed me and grabbed my hand. She told me that she agreed, but we could not talk about it here with Dad so close.
A few days later at home, we talked. She told me that she didn’t believe it all either, but went along because it was important to Dad (whom she adored). She said that some of it was just moral lessons that weren’t bad — like the 10 Commandments. It was just common-sense stuff about being a good person, which was always top on Mom’s list of stuff we needed to learn or be. The rest were just old dusty stories. She told me it could be our little secret and not to discuss this with my siblings.
I loved that she accepted my lack of belief and did not try to convince me to think otherwise. My parents both taught us to always learn and to question what we were told. They taught us to be independent thinkers and their lessons have served me well.
FFRF’s ad in Florida papers is appreciated
I want to applaud FFRF for its ad placement in the Tallahassee Democrat and the Miami Herald, calling out our pompous governor, Ron DeSantis. We are falling into a bad way here in Florida with sordid politics sweeping the state. I can’t thank you enough for your message and your willingness to tackle this highly volatile topic.
Freethought Today changed my life for the better
As a child growing up in in Catholic school/church, I remember being told that if we missed Mass on Sunday or a “holy day” without a good reason, we would go to hell unless we went to confession and confessed our “sin.” That is one of many stupid things the Catholic church teaches.
I got to wondering why other religions didn’t have these same “rules”? Would they go to hell, too? And, if there is only one god, why are there so many different churches? Shouldn’t all their rules be the same?
I will never forget the day I received a copy of Freethought Today in the mail. When I opened it, I dropped it on the floor, as I thought I would go to hell if I read it. Later, I did read it . . . and that was a moment that changed my life forever. That was about 30 years ago and I am a new person. I no longer go to church or pray. Instead, I try to just be a good person and be kind to everyone.
Thank you to whomever mailed that first FFRF newspaper to me!
Do libraries order more religious-themed books?
If any of my fellow FFRF members are looking for an interesting research topic that would further the cause of freedom from religion, here it is.
Every week, Tulsa County Libraries emails its card holders with the names of the books, tapes, etc., that it recently purchased. It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the excessive degree of religiosity of the stereotypical Oklahoman that Tulsa County Libraries order more religious-themed materials than any other category.
It’s no wonder why the sale of Christian books is, perhaps, one of the most profitable business ventures ever.
My hypothesis is that what’s happening within the Tulsa library system is also happening all over the country — just waiting for someone to document it.
This would make a great Ph.D. dissertation, a Master’s thesis, or just an alarming book about how Christian zealots are milking our tax dollars from what should be public funds.
‘Iranization’ of the U.S. gets closer every day
At 92, I’ve watched a lot of human history and I’ve seen stunning contrasts in governing cultures across the world. I wondered how I was so lucky to be born in this U.S.A. republic, back in 1930, in the heart of the beginning of the Great Depression, which ended by WWII.
Some of those previous global contrasts are now melding into alignment as our fragile democracy begins to look like an autocracy with the attempted coup d’etat on Jan 6, 2021. And it begins to look like a theocracy as I read the news about the poisoning of young schoolgirls in Iran, and think this disrespect and suppression of women has gained roots here in our nation in Christian nationalism and with the overturning of Roe.
I suggest we coin a new verb for this new culture shift in our nation: Iranization. I gift the term freely to all who wish to use it. Iran has both autocracy and theocracy. With Trump’s Supreme Court picks, we now have both.
Questioning hopefully led Witnesses to think
Not long ago, I encountered some Jehovah’s Witnesses, who were passing out literature. I asked them: “Do you believe in the biblical flood tale?”
“Yes,” they responded.
“Then can you explain how llamas in Peru, bison in North America, pandas in China and koalas in Australia all managed to get from where the ark supposedly landed, over thousands of miles of hostile territory and open ocean, to the places where they are found today?”
They could not.
“You have some homework to do,” I said.
I didn’t even get into the question of the validity of the theory of evolution. It appears that at least I got them to do some thinking. It’s a start.
As long as we can go more than one step forward for every step back, we can eventually prevail.
‘Cathedral’ lyrics were true then, true now
With the sad death of David Crosby, I listened again to all his records, including the 1977 Crosby, Stills and Nash album “CSN,” which had the song “Cathedral” (written by Graham Nash).
The key lyrics are: “Open up the gates of the church and let me out of here! Too many people have lied in the name of Christ for anyone to heed the call. So many people have died in the name of Christ that I can’t believe it all.”
Please keep airing the Ron Reagan ad
I just wanted to tell you that I love the Ron Reagan ad you’ve been running on TV — and I’m a lifelong Christian. Please, please, keep airing it (and, if possible, new ones), more often, as Franklin Graham is airing his opposing version regularly during the evening news: “Pray this prayer with me!” No thank you, Franklin! Let’s double our efforts to keep the church out of the state! Thank you!
Ex-Catholics should read Prisoner of the Vatican
I just finished reading a book by David I. Kertzer called Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes’ Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State. I recommend it to every ex-Catholic. It is truly an eye-opener, explaining how the pope came to be “infallible” and how two popes over 50 years tried to convince European leaders to invade Italy, break it up, and take the papal states back to give to the pope. It is interesting, fast-paced, and hard to put down.
FFRF, thank you for all you do for us “heathens.”
Let’s get religion out of the public sphere
When my father shed his blood in the fields of France during World War II, “under God” was NOT in the Pledge of Allegiance. President Eisenhower had it put in, which I believe was to appease Joe McCarthy. Isn’t it time that we fight the Christian right and remove it? And we have a U.S. Supreme Court that claims that Christmas is NOT a religious holiday. I am Jewish, and believe that there may be a God, but I believe that we must return to a nonreligious country if it ever was one. So, I just joined FFRF and made an additional contribution.
There’s more than one set of commandments
I was listening to Freethought Radio, where they spoke of the contentious posting of the Ten Commandments in public locations (courthouses, specifically), and I obviously agree.
But there was something I didn’t know until I took the FFRF quiz (ffrf.org/biblequiz). That is the fact of there being three separate sets of Ten Commandments. This really resonated with me. While I agree that any religious document shouldn’t be posted or promoted, it seems to me that very few people know this.
The first question regarding the commandments should be: “Which set?” This not only challenges the posting, but also would educate that there is more than one. How many times I’ve heard people fall back on, “What about just following the Ten Commandments?” To throw in that there is more than an “original” set might make people think again.
Joy Berry’s comments reflected my mother’s
Congratulations on your Sunday morning TV show “Freethought Matters.” I record them and watch them later with family and friends. They are all wonderful.
However, a recent program (April 2) was especially wonderful because it closely reflected my deceased mother’s wise words and counsel when I was a boy!
Guest Joy Berry commented (paraphrasing): “We must not teach young children WHAT to think, but rather HOW to think. It is critical that we teach these marvelous young minds to evaluate what they are learning as opposed to just blindly accepting what they are being taught!”
I almost jumped out of my chair when I hear her say that! When Joy talked about raising children, I could hear my mother’s words. Joy was so correct.
Thanks you all for your fine work in teaching us all that “freethought matters”!
Future is bleak, but kids will pull us through
Religion at its core is based upon the terror of death, although human hubris enters into the formula, also. We must develop courage to fight our timidity in the face of our mortality. As far as pride is concerned, remember what Bertrand Russell wrote: “Man is a feeble speck.” In this context, our future looks bleak.
But let’s not forget our children! I think our brave and gifted kids will pull us through and that one day we will have a great civilization, until the sun finally closes the curtain on our little play.
Christians should accept transgender children
To accept transgender children in our society should be considered as nothing more than common decency.
Most Americans profess to be Christian, and Mark 10:13-16 is a cherished passage in their holy scriptures, in which Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me.”
Isn’t what he said very clear? Yes, Jesus welcomed all children. He didn’t exclude any child from his presence or deny them his love for any reason. May I suggest that those who identify as Christians but shun trans children, ask themselves: “Since my savior loves all children and allows them to be near him, isn’t it my duty to imitate him?”
FFRF is the light at end of the tunnel
From all my walks in this cosmic laboratory, one regret I’ve had is that I wouldn’t live to see a cure for imbecility. With FFRF, now I can see a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Now, my one regret is that I didn’t find FFRF 50 years sooner!
Keep up the good work!
Editor’s note: Thanks, Paul, but FFRF has only been around for 45 years, so you haven’t missed out on 50!
Judge pushes religious doctrine onto all of us
Greer Donley, an associate law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who specializes in abortion policy, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying the Texas decision on the FDA’s longstanding approval of the abortion pill mifepristone is very concerning because “it’s opening the door to a world in which people can try to get safe and effective products removed from the market for political reasons.”
In fact, the impetus behind the opposition to abortion rights (and gay rights) is primarily religious, not political, although it’s certainly true that the Republican Party often uses religious belief as a basis for its political actions. That said, the judge in the Texas ruling is undoubtedly highly religious, and the basis for his ruling is his religion and its doctrinaire teachings on the subject of terminating pregnancies, rather than the FDA’s scientifically based evaluations. He gives himself away with the use of a term such as “unborn child,” rather than the appropriate medical terminology of “fetus.”
It is the continuing push by many in the Republican Party to inflict religious doctrine on our nation of laws and its secular government that is the most dangerous threat to democracy.
FFRF’s work helps bring sanity to the world
Thank you for doing so much great work in bringing some sanity to the world. I especially like your quote: “Organized religion always has been and remains the greatest enemy of women’s rights.”