Letterbox (December 2017)

Taking your bumper sticker to the next level

Your bumper stickers have inspired me to take it to the next level. I had a graphics shop print up some colorful “poop” emojis to get people’s attention and then I put some thought-provoking sayings on my back window that get changed out monthly! Keep up the good work at FFRF!
Dan Vogel
Wisconsin

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A secular invocation for FFRF members

Here is a variation on your fine idea of secular invocations. This isn’t for the general public or your Nothing Fails Like Prayer competition, but for us, the members of FFRF.

Nonbelievers Invocation

“Let us bow our heads today to no gods or goddesses. Instead, let us look to ourselves and each other for the courage to continue advocating for the cause of reason in this world, where oppression and intolerance still hold sway over the fearful and superstitious. Let us also be kind in our efforts to educate and lighten, and not succumb to the misguided practices of the Religious Right. For though the price of intellectual liberty, to echo Jefferson, may be eternal vigilance, it needn’t be righteous or rude. And finally, whatever the outcome of our efforts, know that our work will be taken up tomorrow by those we reached today.”

John Pidgeon, Wisconsin

 

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Freethought Today like an amazing dinner party

I love you guys! Reading the paper is like going to an amazing dinner party, making friends, making discoveries. Good on you!

Dierdre Petree, Washington

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Nonbelief Relief gives aid without expectation

I am donating $1,000 to FFRF’s Nonbelief Relief fund.

I’m glad to hear that the aid is given without any expectations from the organization — secular giving makes sense. “Quid pro quo” gifts don’t pass the test of “gift.”

Wayne Varner, Minnesota

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FFRF must press ahead with defense of freedom

The possible ascension of Roy Moore to the Senate is a bellwether of things to come. His avowed aim to reform society by coercion is well known; and impeachment of the five Supreme Court justices who made same-sex marriage legal is high on his to-do list.

My purpose here is to encourage your continued zealous defense of church-state separation. In these times, it is destined to fail, but that effort must be driven forward, and to alert as many people as possible to the crucial issue. Other groups like the ACLU, Americans United and Interfaith Alliance have only a sense of the magnitude of the disaster at hand. They are confident in their ability to stem the tide of the assault on liberty facing us. But reason is a weak weapon in the face of inflamed passions. Even if its opponents have no real argument, it doesn’t get a hearing.

The disrupter-in-chief, and others like Steve Bannon or Richard Spencer, will foment such disorder. The time for pussy-footing is rapidly disappearing. We need not fear the future, but must press ahead with the defense of freedom.

Richard Burns, Tennessee

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Geese are proof of being good without God

It was nice to read the student essays on the subject of “Being Good Without God” in the October issue. But I have conclusive proof that one can indeed be good without God. My home is on a large corner lot at an intersection. Often, flocks of geese fly over the neighborhood. One morning, as I looked out my patio doors, I saw a large flock of geese flying over the area. Suddenly, one goose dropped from the flock and onto my front yard, and lay dead on the lawn. In a couple minutes, the entire flock landed on my yard and formed a large circle around the dead goose. Why had they done that? Obviously, they wanted to protect their fallen partner who had collapsed on the lawn. Now that was one of the kindest and best acts I had seen, but I am sure there was no God in their goose brains that urged them to land and perform that act. Isn’t that conclusive evidence that one can be good without God?

Ted Utchen, Illinois

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I’m taking a knee next time prayer is given

I’m taking a knee, thanks to Colin Kaepernick and all those who bravely kneel during the national anthem to protest injustice. I now have a wonderful alternative to standing mute at holiday family dinners and special occasions when prayer is launched. In some cases, it’s often not as much about summoning God as it is about humiliating me.

From now on, I’m following suit and will take a knee on behalf of all those suffering injustice in the name of religion. And should I ever get the opportunity to lead the ritual, here it is: Dear God, we give thanks this day for giving us brains, which, when applied, we find that you are a myth, amen.

Dennis Coyier, Wisconsin

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Movie gives false impression of Vatican II

The movie “Novitiate” got great reviews and one side of my family line is Catholic, so I went to see it.

The acting, scripting, directing and photography are all top notch, but the movie tells a great lie when it presents The Vatican II manifesto as a change toward tolerance of other religions and human behavior.

In real life, the Catholic Church teaches that if Catholics do not marry Catholics, their children will be nothing.

In Ontario, the Catholic separate school system, which is subsidized with government money, was deemed unfair in an official United Nations report.

Everywhere I have worked, the Catholic Church has run employment subscriptions lists and manipulated law enforcement agencies.

In practice, the Vatican II manifesto is really an edict for hiding the old ways, while continuing to practice them with better public relations and more unsuspecting victims.

Charlie McKay, Ontario, Canada

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Convention was great; CD a fun companion   

Thanks for a wonderful convention. I have been to four national conventions of atheists, but this was the best of all. I loved hearing the stories of your victories against people who put up religious symbols in public places. I love your headquarters, too!

Thanks to all the staff of FFRF.

To Dan Barker: We have your CD, “Beware of Dogma,” of songs that make sense and the War Prayer by Mark Twain and the so-true song by Philip Appleman about how ridiculous the story of Noah’s ark is. We have it in our car and listen to it two or three times a month while stuck in traffic.

Ann Morris-Cockrell, Colorado

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Texas GOP’s manifesto full of ignorance, hate

It is incumbent to confront ignorance, intolerance and dishonesty. The following 12 claims and proposals are taken directly from the Texas Republican manifesto:

• The U.S. Constitution is based on the bible.

• Separation of church and state is a constitutional myth.

• There is a God-given right to carry a firearm.

• Religious liberty laws should overrule public accommodation laws.

• Implementation of foreign law should be prohibited.

• Only Christian observances should be public holidays.

• Climate change is a political agenda promoted to control Americans’ lives.

• There is a right to produce and sell raw milk.

• Homosexual couples do not constitute a family.

• Bathroom use should correspond to biological sex.

• Texas should refuse to enforce all laws that permit abortion.

• Women who have abortions should be criminally prosecuted.

Each of these dozen assertions is false, irresponsible, illegal, prejudicial, hateful or laughable. They represent Republican “alternative facts” and “post-truth.”

Brian Bolton, Texas

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We should all work to normalize word ‘atheist’

John Morgan’s letter urging us to reject the word “atheist” and define ourselves as rationalists or naturalists is too politically correct.

“Atheist” only means that we have no theology. The “negative light” comes from those who think that their own theology has some kind of lock on morality.

To surrender “atheist” to that opinion is to accept their claim that theology is necessary for morality.

Theists have no qualms about engaging in in-your-face evangelism. I have no qualms about letting them know, in equally blunt terms, that I am an atheist, and will not be persuaded by anything less than credible, objective evidence.

Instead of hiding from the word “atheist,” we should be working toward normalizing it.

Lee Helms, Michigan