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

Overheard (May 2019)

Vol. 36 No. 04 May 2019

State lawmakers need to start adequately funding [public school] needs and bring per-pupil public school funding and teacher salaries up to respectable levels, rather than creating new ways to divert taxpayer money to private and religious schools.

Newspaper editorial, “Don’t divert state money to private schools.”

Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, 4-9-19


I come here for a public meeting. I don’t come here for prayer. I go to church for prayer.

Mary FitzGerald Ozog, member of the DuPage County (Ill.) Board, after it voted 11-6 to continue to include invocations prior to the start of meetings.

Daily Herald, 3-26-19


There was no major social upheaval or loss of divine guidance reported in Dorval and Pierrefonds when they were forced by the Supreme Court ruling to stop reciting a prayer before holding their public council meetings.

Albert Kramberger, in his op-ed, “Removal of a crucifix isn’t the same as erasing heritage.”

Montreal Gazette, 3-28-19


A morally perfect being would never get enjoyment from causing pain to others. Therefore, God doesn’t know what it is like to be human. In that case, he doesn’t know what we know. But if God doesn’t know what we know, God is not all knowing, and the concept of God is contradictory. God cannot be both omniscient and morally perfect. Hence, God could not exist.

Philosophy professor Peter Atterton, in his op-ed, “A God problem.”

The New York Times, 3-25-19


Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale. Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state’s goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, on how Michigan will no longer allow state-funded faith-based adoption service providers to discriminate against LGBTQ couples or individuals.

Religion News Service, 3-22-19


Our public health and children’s lives are at risk because so many parents, community leaders and policymakers lack the science literacy and critical-thinking skills to decipher fact from fiction . . . From vaccine skepticism to climate-change denial, ignoring proven science could have life-threatening or even catastrophic results.

Maya Ajmera, president  of the Society for Science & the Public and the publisher of Science News, in a letter to the editor.

The New York Times, 4-16-19


We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of mistrust and progressive delegitimization.

Lucetta Scaraffia, founder of the Vatican monthly publication “Women Church World,” in a letter to the pope describing why she and most of the all-female staff are stepping down.

Washington Post, 3-26-19


This morning, on a very important day, on a day where we’re swearing in a new member, the first woman Muslim serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in history, there was a prayer that was not meant to inspire us. There was a prayer that was not meant to bring us together.

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, responding to Rep. Stephanie Borowicz’s Christian prayer — which included, “Jesus, you are our only hope.” — that she gave to open the session.

PennLive.com, 3-25-19


There seems to be some serious constitutional issues involved here. . . . You’re not supposed to change the content of what public school teaching is in order to conform with a particular religious denomination’s beliefs. Any student at one of those schools or the parents of any of the students at any one of those schools would have standing to challenge it under the First Amendment.

Steve Mulroy, a University of Memphis constitutional law professor, on Compass Community Schools in Memphis, which is leasing six campuses from the Catholic Diocese of Memphis. The leases contain a “morality clause” that says the schools cannot “directly advocate, promote, teach or support a position considered gravely immoral by the Roman Catholic Church at the premises as determined by the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.”

WMC5 News, 3-30-19


Trump’s perception of religious liberty as freedom only for the faiths he prefers is a potential threat to every religious group. . . . Religious freedom is either rigorously equal, or it becomes an instrument of those in power to favor or disfavor religions of their choice. And those believers who are currently in favor may someday discover what disfavor is like.

Columnist Michael Gerson in the article, “The real threat to religious freedom is Trump.”

Washington Post, 4-15-19