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

Overheard (March 2019)

Vol. 36 No. 02 March 2019

The doctrine of fetal personhood represents a sharp break from the great traditions of Western law that, at their philosophical core, seek to preserve space for the individual to live free from the tremendous power of the state. . . . That this doctrine is acquiring the force of law within the United States should deeply concern Americans — men and women — who value their freedoms.

Editorial, “The Future of Personhood Nation.”

The New York Times, 1-10-19


You shouldn’t need a bible to tell you to protect our planet, but it does anyway.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, responding to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who dismissed Ocasio-Cortez’ push for the Trump administration to take action on climate change.

Twitter, 1-23-19


Whether they’re atheist, Opus Dei, Buddhist or Muslim should have no bearing on our assessment of their fitness for office. Yet I can’t help but feel anxious that both of Donald Trump’s main global envoys, [Mike] Pompeo and [Mike] Pence, have a conflict between their private beliefs and what they publicly claim to be doing.

Financial Times journalist Edward Luce.

Raw Story, 1-15-19


I think the number of women fleeing from the Saudi administration and abuse will increase, especially since there is no system to stop them. I’m sure that there will be a lot more women running away. I hope my story encourages other women to be brave and free.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, the Saudi woman who fled from her country and family and was given asylum in Canada, in her first TV interview.

NPR, 1-15-19


It isn’t too late to wipe outdated laws off the books and make the procedure more accessible to low-income women and more available to everyone. And it is certainly high time to make abortion rights a voting issue in elections.

Editorial, “Roe v. Wade is at risk. Here’s how to prepare.”

The New York Times, 1-21-19


You cannot deny what happened. You cannot deny that there was significant abuse in the Catholic Church. You cannot deny that it was not handled appropriately. And you can’t deny that people were hurt.

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, flanked by survivors at a press conference, after signing the Child Victims Act. The bill, extending reasonable statutes of limitation for victims of child sexual abuse, languished for 13 years, opposed by religious groups, Boy Scouts of America and, particularly, the Roman Catholic Church, which spent more than $1.8 million since 2012 lobbying against it.

The New York Times, 1-29-19


My Christian school had “Slave Day.” One day a year, each member of the junior class was auctioned off to other students to be owned for a day. The auctioneer — a teacher — sometimes held a whip. Students stood on a box while being auctioned. It was a fundraiser for our prom — real money was exchanged. Sometimes, the auction took place in the sanctuary. In 2001, it was changed — in name only — to Servant Day. I do not recall any conversations about race and white supremacy.

Laura Hagen of Minnesota, in response to The New York Times’ request for experiences with Christian schooling after hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools went viral.

The New York Times, 1-31-19


By giving legal cover for discrimination, the Trump-Pence administration is encouraging providers to deny people health care based on their own homophobia or misogyny, while worsening health care access and forcing some to forgo care altogether.

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement after the Department of Health and Human Services announced it is close to finalizing a conscience protection rule that would allow people to discriminate in health care settings.

Rewire News, 1-28-19


Hopefully in the future we can put in place some common-sense guidelines that would bar hate groups from earning money through Arizona license plates. State dollars should not be funding an organization that works to strip residents of our state of their human rights and human dignity. It’s appalling that we’ve already sent over a million dollars to this extremist hate group.

Arizona state Sen. Juan Mendez, an open atheist, who proposed a bill for the DOT to make public the names and missions of each entity receiving funds from specialty plates. Currently, $17 of every $25 from the specialty plates is sent to Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as a hate group.

The Friendly Atheist, 2-6-19