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

Meet a staffer: FFRF legal fellow fights for what is right

Vol. 37 No. 01 Jan/Feb 2020
Brendan Johnson (Photo by Chris Line)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Where and when I was born: Helena, Mont., in 1987.

Education: University of Idaho (Bachelor of Music in guitar performance), Southern Methodist University (Master of Music in guitar performance), University of Minnesota (juris doctorate).

Family: Father Jeff, mother Beth and stepdad Ed.

How I came to work at FFRF: Constitutional law, particularly First Amendment, was what drew me to the law in the first place. I wanted to answer the big questions and contend with the toughest arguments. I don’t recall the exact moment when I read FFRF’s job listing, but I now fondly imagine that I dropped my iPhone due to the passion with which I clicked “apply.”

What I do here: I’m the Robert G. Ingersoll Legal Fellow. I write whatever type of document the moment requires to protect the increasingly blurred line between religious practice and the state’s coercive power of taxation, as implied by the U.S. Constitution and its amendments.

What I like best about it: I love fighting for what I think is right while bathing in the ire of our opponents.

What gets old about it: Everything should be on the first floor. Y’all can’t seriously expect me to be walking up this many stairs.

I spend a lot of time thinking about: Whether my beliefs — and their supporting arguments — have holes in them.

I spend little if any time thinking about: Curling.

My religious upbringing was: Fantastic.

My doubts about religion started: When I was fairly young. There was no animus towards religion, but neither was there was there any evidence in favor of its truth claims.

Things I like: Music, rock climbing, stand-up comedy, back-country hiking, learning I was wrong about something (and why I was wrong).

Things I smite: Poorly thought-out cultural taboos.

In my golden years: Bionic legs had better be a thing.