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

Letterbox (March 2019)

Vol. 36 No. 02 March 2019

FFRF’s ‘After-Life’ pin is worn with pride

Thank you so much for my new “After-Life Member” pin! I am so happy to have this beautiful pin that I will wear it with pride.

I am such a proud member of FFRF and sing your praises every chance I get. Thanks for all you do.

Susie York
New Hampshire


Crankmail writers suffer from Dunning-Kruger

I wonder how the people who write these pieces in Crankmail would feel if they knew some 32,000 people were reading their words and laughing at them. I recently heard about a malady known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Basically, it is being too stupid to appreciate how stupid you are. Seems to apply to the Crankmail authors.

Jack M. Pedigo
Washington


Thanks for stopping prayer at Chino Valley

Thank you for stopping the Chino Valley School Board in promoting church and religion. I strongly believe that the citizens of Chino deserve school board members who are open-minded and whose best interest is to provide a quality education to all students without the influence of religious beliefs.

Ben Aguirre
California


Plenty of unanswered questions about abortion

The column by Brian Bolton (“Who is history’s greatest abortionist?”) comes tantalizing close to some trenchant questions which I never hear publicly aired. They deserve greater attention:

How many of us are aborted by God? It’s well over half of fertilizations. The observable miscarriage rate is 10-20 percent, but most spontaneous abortions occur too early to be noticed. Whatever the fate of the unborn soul, it’s the fate of far more than half of us ever created. One may choose to include the very high infant/early childhood mortality rates that God imposes.

What is the fate of the unborn soul? A dilemma (assuming the life of the soul begins at conception). Perhaps they go straight to heaven; a free ride without running the gauntlet of life and risking hell. Presumably one must be born to get to hell. Why is abortion not a sacrament? 

Or perhaps for some reason (God’s whim), these innocents are denied heaven. If so, why does anyone worship this guy?

Does the aborted soul care who kills it, be it God or someone else?

God’s scriptural admissions to mass abortion are illuminating, but, as usual, verifiable observations are more instructive.

One may quip, “If I’d been aborted, wouldn’t I be in heaven right now instead of going to hell?”

John Wolff
Washington


I’m joyfully upgrading to ‘After-Life’ status

I would like to take this opportunity to joyfully upgrade my membership to After-Life status. Your organization has been life-changing. Prior to joining FFRF, I literally had no idea that there were so many of us “Nones” out there.

Unfortunately, my schedule does not allow time to join a local group, so Freethought Today is my lifeline to what is going on. What wonderful news each issue brings! Like it is for so many, Crankmail is a guilty pleasure — though I worry about your safety at times, I just end up laughing anyway. What dimwits!

Finally, at long last, I have decided I can no longer read about all the wonderful presentations and fun at the annual convention, so have penciled in this year’s event on my calendar. I truly look forward to rubbing shoulders with the freethought Illuminati.

Chuck Bingham
Wisconsin


Which will she choose? Bible or morality?

Second Lady Karen Pence is teaching at a fundamentalist school with absolute bible beliefs. This raises disturbing questions:

The bible says clearly that gay lovers must be killed (Lev. 20:13).

The bible says clearly that brides who aren’t virgins must be stoned to death on their fathers’ doorsteps (Deut. 22).

The bible says clearly that people who work on the Sabbath must be executed (Ex. 31:15).

The bible gives explicit instructions on how to buy and sell slaves (Lev. 25:44) — including advice about selling a daughter (Ex. 21:7).

Will Mrs. Pence tell students to obey these sacred bible commands, or will she tell them to ignore God’s instructions?

James A. Haught
West Virginia


We should all place stickers on hotel bibles

I was actually happy to find a Gideon bible in my hotel room at the convention in San Francisco. I promptly placed one of FFRF’s “Gideon Exposed” stickers on the cover. It gave me pleasure to know that future occupants of that room would be exposed to the brutal murderous history of Gideon. 

When traveling, I never leave home without an adequate supply of the “Gideon Exposed” stickers. In late July, on a drive from Texas to North Carolina, I placed six stickers on bibles. Assuming a 50 percent occupancy rate (two adults occupy the room 182 days a year), then on an annual basis about 2,000 people would be exposed to the stickers.

Now, if each of the 30,000-plus FFRF members spent one night a year in a hotel and placed a sticker on the bible, millions of people would be exposed to the message.

I’m just being a Johnny Appleseed, planting seeds of doubt and reason.

Howard Bostock
Texas

Editor’s note: The “Gideon Exposed” stickers and bible warning labels can be found at shop.ffrf.org by clicking on the “Sharables/Gifts” tab.


Don’t bash believers, get them to join us

Many of our articles and letters bash religions and faith; yet that same faith brings relief and comfort to millions, especially in times of duress. Thus, we will always have religions.

Our best hope to prevail is to convince the people of faith to join our cause. The bashing only alienates them.

George Gjelfriend
North Carolina


Thanks to FFRF for the Chino Valley victory

I love the good news that the newly elected school board members of the Chino Valley School District voted 3 to 2 to discontinue the appeal of your case. Thank you for this long-fought victory. The community and the plaintiffs worked long and hard, but FFRF got them through.

You might be interested to know that one of the troublesome board members ended the evening with a warning about the dangers of vaccination and its connection to autism. No end of fake facts in Chino. I’m proud of your work and the hard work of the citizens. Whew. Elections matter.

Joanne Dallas
California


Donate Stardust books to your local library

I was so impressed by reading Bailey Harris’ speech in the December 2018 issue that I purchased five copies of My Name is Stardust and donated them to my local public library. In the future, I hope to do the same with Stardust Explores the Solar System and Stardust Explores Earth’s Wonders.

I suggest that each FFRF member purchase at least one copy of My Name is Stardust and donate it to their local public library. This would be a great way to promote freethought and science.

John Dunn
California


Missed convention to become Life Member

I’ve wanted to become a Life Member for a long time, but needed to wait until this year.

Thanks for Andrew Seidel’s terrific, thought-provoking article, “Climate change is a state/church matter,” in the December issue.

As a Californian, I was pleased that San Francisco was chosen as the site of the 2018 convention. I chose not to attend, however, because I felt that a Life Membership was a better use of my limited resources.

On another topic, the usage of the terms “atheist” and “atheism” is troubling to me because they are still related to theism. Opposing something still keeps one attached to it. I’ve always found “humanism” to be far more embraceable. I’m an atheist, yes, but a humanist first.

Bill Fritch
California


Venomous tone over FFRF’s case in Ozark

The devil prompted me to send you this note regarding the cross in Ozark, Mo., on city property. I am extremely fortunate to be able to vacation there in the winters. I watched the TV news and read the local paper regarding the cross issue. The venom of the tone of the TV report and the language of the newspaper made it sound like you guys are from a different galaxy and are minions of Ming the Merciless!

Keep up the good work!

David Mishkin
Texas 


I don’t believe in God, but Robert Mueller, yes!

I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in Robert Mueller III. Although I just turned 90, I very much hope that Mr. Mueller will deposit me in heaven before I die!

Willys Silvers
Pennsylvania


Column provided great examples of God’s wrath   

I just want to say how much I’m enjoying being a Sponsoring Member of FFRF. I’m proud of the work you do, I appreciate the email updates, and I especially like Freethought Today, which is a breath of fresh air. All elements of it are fun to read, but I was prompted to write because of how much I particularly enjoyed Brian Bolton’s article “Who is history’s greatest abortionist?” It’s fascinating when someone distills all the little bits of evidence in the bible that paints yet another vivid example of what an incorrigible character God really is. Thanks, Brian, and thanks, FFRF!

Ross Meisner
Minnesota


Based on 1990 comments, Trump not a Christian

The “Freethought of the Day” of Jan. 27 noted that: “Mozart refused to ask for a priest when dying. His wife sent for one anyway, who refused to attend. Mozart was buried in a pauper’s grave without a religious service. Referring to the orthodoxy of his youth, he [Mozart] said: ‘That is all over, and will never come back.’”

Contrast Mozart’s words with the answer given by Donald Trump to the “Life or death” question posed to him during his interview in Playboy magazine (March 1990).

Trump’s response: “Both. We’re here and we live our 60, 70 or 80 years and we’re gone. You win, you win, and in the end, it doesn’t mean a hell of a lot. But it is something to do, to keep you interested.”

Both Mozart and Trump provided us with the opportunity to form our own opinions about their supposed religiosity — or, more importantly, their lack thereof. However, it should be noted: Without a belief in an afterlife (with Jesus, who Trump never mentioned) one cannot be a Christian. Such “heaven-deniers” can claim to be Christians, but according to all Christian denominations, they most certainly are not.

As Napoleon Bonaparte noted, more than 200 years ago, (and what Donald Trump is obviously capitalizing on today): “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

William Dusenberry
Arizona


Why do churches get to pollute our air?

I was distressed to hear Christian hymns being banged out on the St. Rita Church’s bell tower on Dec. 25. I was inside my home with all the windows and doors shut and the curtains drawn, and I could still hear the religious assault on my ears very clearly. There is nothing I can do to get away from the proselytizing when the town sanctions it being broadcast in this very invasive manner. Not every taxpayer in Fairfax is a Christian. Not everyone wants to be oppressed by Christian ideology in their own homes. Some of us are even traumatized by what Christianity has done to us. I strongly urge the town to stop sanctioning Christian content being broadcast into our homes, our ears, and our minds in this inescapably invasive manner. Please do not allow St. Rita or any other religious organization to pollute our air with their religious hymns.

Stacey Anderson
California


Keep focus of cases on constitutionality

I often see in articles about church/state separation cases that the objection to crosses and monuments that favor Christianity over any other religion or no religion is because these make others feel left out or inferior. This buys into the Christian view that we nonbelievers are just sinners complaining about being preached to.

So, let’s get to the heart to the matter, which is that these are unconstitutional, which is reason enough. But, also, our founders made respect for churches unconstitutional because they promote myth and superstition, and no one in government should be given the authority to decide what is myth and superstition and what is not! This is very important. And it is time we attack these violations with the true reason for the First Amendment, which was the desire to avoid the terrors of religious conflict and persecution that once plagued Europe and still plagues the Middle East.

With this approach, we will also have great opportunities to remind everyone that religion is based on myth and superstition, which no one in all honesty can deny.

Ron Herman
New Mexico


Thanks for intervening in state-church issues

I just want to express my gratitude to FFRF staff for having intervened in a few local concerns of mine regarding violations of state/church separation. Living in a small isolated remote west Texas city on the U.S.-Mexico border, it is hard to get help in righting wrongs involving local government, even if one has the funds to hire an attorney. Some local attorneys won’t take on cases that are not politically correct because doing so might scare off future business. Many residents do object to violations but do not know how to take on such things or are concerned about retaliation for having spoken out.

As far as the press goes, we really don’t have much, but what we do have isn’t really inclined to take on such issues. Del Rio really is a nice place to live but, like anywhere else, it is not perfect. This is where I find that FFRF is very helpful to the community overall. Please keep up the good work you do!

Richard d’Avy
Texas


December issue was particularly good!

The December 2018 issue was a particularly good one. Kudos to all!

I loved the repurposed churches, the kidney donor story, the Kirschman memorial, the Bailey Harris convention speech (props to her!) and the account by Steven Lowe to get bibles out of hotel rooms (yes!).

And then, on the back page, I saw the wonderful piece by James Wiseman about the “loneliness” of being a racial minority in the secular community. The column was directly above the photo of the woefully-not-diverse FFRF team. Sigh. I know it’s Madison and the demographic there is not very diverse.

I salute everyone at FFRF nonetheless. All over the globe, things are getting better year by year. Wiseman’s piece is a clarion call and an eloquent upper. Thanks to everyone!

Lane Browning
Oregon


First Amendment defense a thankless task

It is with considerable pleasure that I am able to contribute to you again this year. I realize the defense of the First Amendment is an endless, and seemingly thankless, task. I am honored to be able to stand with you in it.

James Wood Bailey
New Jersey


Hierarchy of Church is all about power

I finally figured out that my bias is not against Catholics nor Catholicism. My bias is against the hierarchy of the institutional church, which I consider a bunch of geriatric, misogynist, sexually perverted, totalitarian men. It took me years to realize I could separate people I dearly liked from religious tenets I thought were superstitious nonsense from priests who were the instruments of psychological damage and extreme unhappiness.

I had friends when I was first married who were afraid to use birth control. I danced off to Planned Parenthood or my ob/gyn, had two children and a very good married life. These poor women may have gone to Catholic heaven, but their married life was hell on Earth in many ways.

As I got older, I met a lot of lapsed Catholics. These people were much happier by and large than my newly wedded friends who confessed to a priest who gave women absolution for using the rhythm method! I couldn’t find anything in the bible that actually forbade birth control. All their explanations sounded pretty modern and controlling: “It’s not natural.” Well, neither is surgery, mass transportation, communication or modern agriculture.  But I have never heard any criticism of these scientific unnatural practices.

The hierarchy is all about power. If I were wealthy, I’d found a home for women of any faith who want to escape. 

Thank you for doing what you do.

Marjorie Holden
California


Constitution is supreme law of the land

I frequently hear people, Judge Roy Moore included, quote the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” They then claim that they haven’t established a religion.

But people forget that the First Amendment is written within the context that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Whenever a conflict arises between the Constitution and an establishment of religion, the Constitution is supreme.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Matthew P. Howley
Ohio