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

Overheard (November 2018)

Vol. 35 No. 9 November 2018

Until they allow professional investigators inside the secret archives, there will be no real transparency. They are incapable of handling this internally.

Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota lawyer who has handled many sex-abuse lawsuits, commenting on plans announced by U.S. Catholic bishops, which notably don’t include stopping their lobbying against expansion of statutes of limitation laws.

Associated Press, 9-19-18


The bottom-line is that while church and state are formally separated, religious legislators are still driven by their religious beliefs when voting in the Senate on all issue areas. This mechanism circumvents the formal separation of church and state and brings religion into politics through the back door.

Daniel Arnon, Emory University professor, who did a study called “The Enduring Influence of Religion on Senators’ Legislative Behavior.”

PsyPost, 9-26-18


The extremists have shown what frightens them the most — a girl with a book.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, after 12 schools were burned to the ground in Pakistan in early August.

Twitter, 9-19-18


What is really at stake here is less about the identity of these petitioners and more about curtailing the grand jury act and protecting powerful institutions like the Catholic Church.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, speaking about the lawsuit in the state Supreme Court to make public the names of those who had their names redacted from the grand jury report.

Washington Post, 10-7-18


There are a lot of ways to express gratitude and appreciation for the country and its citizens. This is how I plan to do that.

Stevon Cook, new president of the San Francisco School Board, after beginning the board meeting with a quote from Maya Angelou rather than reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Cook said he plans to select quotes from a range of inspirational Americans to begin future meetings.

The Hill, 10-11-18


The damage done [by abuse] is so deep and so devastating, and a survivor so desperately needs refuge and security. The question an abuse survivor is asking is “Am I safe?” and “Do I matter?” And when those in authority mishandle this conversation, it sends a message of no to both questions.

Rachael Denhollander, after telling her church leaders that former SGC president C.J. Mahaney’s return to ministry was inappropriate because he had covered up sexual abuse within the church in the past. (Denhollander was also the first to go public with accusations against Larry Nassar of Michigan State University, who was sentenced for molesting hundreds of girls.)

Washington Post, 10-11-18


There is no God. No one directs the universe. For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God. I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, in his posthumous book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions.

CNN, 10-16-18


There’s a public face of this government, which is very protective of religious liberty, and then the real work they’re doing is only protecting the religious liberty rights of those who are religious conservatives, not of religious progressives.

Katherine Franke, director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law School, following the arrest of Scott Warren, a U.S. citizen, for harboring two Central Americans. Warren said his faith compels him to offer assistance to people in dire need.

NPR, 10-18-18