2020 Students of Color essay contest winners

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce the 16 top winners and nine honorable mentions of the 2020 David Hudak Memorial Students of Color Essay Competition for College Students.

FFRF has paid out a record total of $28,150 in award money for this contest this year.

College students of color were asked to write a personal persuasive essay about “Living and thriving without religion.” FFRF received 342 entries for this contest.

Winners, their ages, the colleges or universities they are attending and the award amounts are listed below.

FIRST PLACE

Nidhi Nair, 19, University of

Connecticut, $3,500.

SECOND PLACE (tie)

Gianna White, 20, New York University, $3,000.

Taylor Fang, 17, Harvard University, $3,000.

THIRD PLACE (tie)

Justine Vega, 19, New York University, $2,500.

Stephanie Black, 19, Rensselaer

Polytechnic Institute, $2,500.

FOURTH PLACE (tie)

Nickaela Steele, 18, Howard University, $2,000.

Leila Okorie, 19, University of

Washington, $2,000.

FIFTH PLACE (tie)

Rojina Timsina, 18, Kalamazoo

College, $1,500.

Shreyas Kallingal, 18, University of California-Berkeley, $1,500.

SIXTH PLACE (tie)

Mahum Haque, 19, University of Iowa, $1,000.

Tina Wen, Rice University, $1,000.

SEVENTH PLACE

Praneel Bonthala, 18, University of California-Los Angeles, $750.

EIGHTH PLACE (tie)

Akeima Gibbs, 18, Temple University, $500.

Aaliyah Philippe-Auguste, 18, Towson University, $500.

NINTH PLACE

Idalina Du, 18, Rice University, $400.

TENTH PLACE

Manuela Cano, 19, University of South Carolina, $300.

HONORABLE MENTIONS ($200 each)

Claire Hill, 19, Drake University.

Je-Woo Im, 18, Northwestern University.

Nicole Kye, 19, Cornell University.

Jonathan Le, 18, University of

California, Irvine.

Grace Okafor, 21, University of

Maryland College Park.

Anousha Peters, 20 Columbia University.

Aline Pham, 19, University of

California, Irvine.

Bruno Rios De La Fuente, 21,

CSU Channel Islands.

Tamanna Sheikh, 20, Virginia

Commonwealth University.

FFRF thanks Dean and Dorea Schramm of Florida for providing a $100 bonus to students who are members of a secular group, student club or the Secular Student Alliance. The total of $28,150 reflects those bonuses.

FFRF also thanks “Director of First Impressions” Lisa Treu for managing the details of this and FFRF’s other student essays competitions, with Kati Treu assisting. And we also would like to thank out “faithful faithless” volunteer and staff readers and judges, including: Don Ardell, Dan Barker, Darrell Barker, Bill Dunn, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Judi Jacobs, Linda Josheff, Dan Kettner, Katya Maes, Gloria Marquardt, Amit Pal, Dave Petrashek, Sue Schuetz, Lauryn Seering, PJ Slinger, Mandisa Thomas, David Tomayo and Karen Lee Weidig.

FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994, grad students since 2010, one geared explicitly for students of color since 2016 and a fifth contest for law students since 2019.

FFRF thanks new Lifetime, After-Life, Beyond After-Life, Immortal members

FFRF thanks and welcomes our three new Beyond After-Life members, five After-Life members, 21 Lifetime members and three Immortals. 

Diane and Steve Uhl earn a special mention as they  have become both After-Life Members and Beyond After-Life Members (on top of being Life Members)!

Alan Huber is the other new Beyond After-Life member, which is a membership category of $10,000.

The three other newest After-Life members are Dr. Douglas Kinney, Ted Nunn and Ken Zaremba. After-Life membership is a donation category of $5,000.

Our 21 newest $1,000 Lifetime Members are: Michael Adix, Scott Bender, Roni Berenson, Roland Bernier, Joseph Boetcher, Suzanne Collins, Howard Davis, Roger Fontes, David Ford, Kris R. Geier (gift from Adam Rose), Maureen Hart (in memory of her husband Gene), Tom Hunden, Elton Hurst, Fay Kramer, Terry Lee (gift from Corinne Lee), Long Long, Julie Mahoney, Lawrence Merte, Dr. David Schneider, Jonathan Smith and Matt Weinhill.

And our three new Immortals are Michael Bush, Mike Deal and William Wolmart. The Immortal category is for those who have made arrangements for FFRF in their estate planning.

States represented are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Empty the Pews editors seek writer submissions

In the essay anthology Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church, Chrissy Stroop and Lauren O’Neal sought to capture a generational portrait of people leaving North American conservative Christianity (evangelicalism, Mormonism and Catholicism). They are now seeking stories for a sequel that expands the ex-fundamentalist conversation to include former members of any high-control religious tradition or cult.

While contributions will obviously highlight the particularities of their authors’ experiences, they are looking for essays that explore the issues so many ex-fundamentalists deal with regardless of their particular background, such as difficulty forming healthy relationships, coping with shame around sex, and the ramifications of an inadequate childhood education.

While some contributors will feature examples of abuse, they aren’t looking only for shocking stories. In fact, many of the essays in Empty the Pews were successful because they examined the things the authors cherished or missed about the faith they ultimately decided to leave behind. Instead, they want compelling personal essays from a diverse group of authors, each of which looks back at what it was like to believe before breaking from a religious community.

Because they hope to encompass a diverse array of lived experience (class, race, sexuality, and former religion), they encourage writers of all backgrounds to submit.

All contributors who are selected for the anthology will receive a small payment.

Submission guidelines

• Only personal essays. No fiction.

• Word count is 2,000 to 6,000 words, but exceptions can be made for exceptional writing.

You may submit a full essay or a detailed pitch with links to writing samples.

• Send submissions to [email protected]. Attach the essay as a .docx or .pdf file.

• Include a short author bio with your pitch or submission.

• Submit your pitch or submission by Jan. 11, 2021.

FFRF to challenge religious voter test

The late Roy Torcaso, an FFRF honorary director, won a unanimous Supreme Court decision in 1961 affirming the government may not impose a religious test.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation plans to file a federal lawsuit by October to challenge a religious test to register to vote that is unique to the state of Alabama. Alabama is the only state in the country requiring voters to register on a form that mandates that they swear “so help me God.”

In all other states, voters are provided a completely secular registration form or are not required to submit an oath or affirmation at all. FFRF expects to file on behalf of at least one Alabama resident and possibly others who have encountered this religious test when trying to register to vote. The defendant will be Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill.

The primary complainant, an atheist, has sought to register to vote in Alabama since November 2019, using a mail-in form downloaded from the secretary of state’s website. The bottom of the voter declaration section warns, “Read and sign under penalty of perjury,” and adds: “If you falsely sign this statement, you can be convicted and imprisoned for up to five years.” Voters submitting this registration form in Alabama must sign the voter declaration, beginning “I solemnly swear or affirm,” and concluding with “so help me God.”

The complainant contacted the secretary of state’s office to ask about the process to register to vote without swearing an oath reading, “so help me God.” The following day, the director of elections at that office informed the complainant that there was no legal mechanism for him to register to vote: “If you cross out a portion, the board of registrars in your county will reject the application and ask you to re-submit.”

The secretary of state maintains that the registration forms are “prescribed by statute” and “that any changes would require legislative action.” FFRF’s lawsuit will point out that the secretary of state has the authority to create and amend voter registration forms.

Government officials routinely allow attorneys, jurors, witnesses and many others who must take an oath to make a secular affirmation instead when they are unable to swear “so help me God” as a matter of conscience.

FFRF Attorney Chris Line previously sent a letter to the secretary of state, noting that any requirement for religious oaths violates the First Amendment of the Constitution, which bars religious tests. In Torcaso v. Watkins, the Supreme Court held that neither a state nor the federal government may force a person to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. “The prohibition on mandatory religious oaths is a well-settled issue,” Line added.

“The secretary of state has willfully excluded nontheist citizens from registering to vote,” says FFRF Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Elliott, “and is coercing a statement of belief in a monotheistic god by requiring nontheists to swear a religious oath.”

2020 membership survey results: Who are FFRF members?

Based on FFRF’s survey, it seems most FFRF members are as excited to be members as Don Ardell was at the 2017 national convention in Madison, Wis. FFRF has a 98 percent satisfaction rate among it members! (Photo by Ingrid Laas)

We asked you, our 32,000 current members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, more about you, and you answered — more than 12,000 of you, which is an amazing response. (A standard response rate is 10-15 percent.)

Want to know more about yourselves? Here’s the scoop: The typical FFRF member is a retired, married man and self-described atheist, with a four-year college degree who left Protestantism because “religion doesn’t make sense,” and is a first-generation freethinker. The typical member has spoken out about state/church entanglements and speaks out freely about his lack of religion.

The typical FFRF’er is most likely 50 or up, with an average age of 64.7. In fact, 83 percent of FFRF members are 60 or older, with those in the 70-79 age range the most popular age bracket at 28.36 percent (compared to 28.29 percent who are 60-69). In tandem with these age brackets, 61 percent are retired or semi-retired.

Seventy percent of you are male, 29 percent female and the rest non-binary or preferred not to say. Ninety-five percent of respondents identify as white, a reason why FFRF’s board has embarked on a concerted diversity/inclusion plan. Only 10 percent have a child or children under the age of 18 in their household.

FFRF’ers are an educated bunch, with 80 percent having at least one four-year degree (compared to 34 percent of the general population), 25 percent a Master’s degree or multiple Master’s degrees (compared to 13 percent of the U.S. population), and 17 percent with a J.D., Ph.D., or M.D./VET/DDS-DMD.

Twenty-one percent are retired U.S. military, compared to 8 percent of the general population. Eighteen percent are in the teaching profession or retired from it, compared to 2 percent of the general population currently teaching.

FFRF members, when asked “Which single term best describes your nonreligious views,” chose “atheist,” with 70 percent so identifying, followed by humanist at 9 percent, freethinker at 8.9 percent and agnostic at 7 percent (with a smattering of “other”).

Three-quarters identify as a first-generation freethinker, 19 percent as second generation, and only 4 percent third-generation.

Almost 12 percent consider yourselves to be part of the LGBTQ community, compared to 4.5 percent in the general population.

Slightly more than half indicate “My spouse/companion is also a nonbeliever,” 24 percent agreed “Most of my immediate family members are also nonreligious,” and 42 percent with “Most of my child(ren) are nonbelievers.”

But your responses also told a story of the continuing lack of acceptance for nonbelievers in the United States, with more than a quarter “wary of letting others know I reject religion,” 21 percent who “feel like the only ‘infidel’ in my area,” and 22 percent experiencing social stigma or other reprisal as a nonbeliever.

The upset question was: “Do you live with a cat or dog?” Those with dogs (35.6 percent) slightly outnumbered those with cats (32 percent) but the “no pet” category won overall (39 percent). (Forty-four percent of Americans in general have a dog and 29 percent have a cat.)

The number of vegetarians or vegans continues to climb in FFRF, to almost 13 percent compared to about 4 percent of the general population. More than 33 percent of you engage in regular volunteer work, higher than the average 25 percent generally.

We found that 43 percent of you have been members for at least 2-5 years; in fact, 75 percent have been members at least that long including 20 percent for 6-10 years.

And we were very pleased that 60 percent of you rate your overall satisfaction with FFRF as “very satisfied” and 38 percent as “satisfied” (that’s a 98 percent satisfaction rate!).

We’re still going through the optional comments left by more than 4,000 of you with great interest and analyzing your responses over in-house items.

“And something that makes FFRF very proud is that 98 percent of our members are registered voters, thus confirming our slogan: We’re secular and we vote!” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president and co-founder.

Thank you, dear members, for telling us more about yourself and for completing the section on your views on the other timely matters of our day. (See story this page on secular voters.)

FFRF’s poll: ‘We are the real values voters’

What do nonreligious American voters want?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation just released a major new secular poll of nearly 12,000 registered voters who are atheists or agnostics (and members of FFRF), which provides a fascinating profile of American nonbelievers and their views on the major social issues of the day.

Major surveys consistently show that 26 percent of the adult population are either atheists, agnostics or identify as “Nones,” having no religious identification, a demographic that now outnumbers Catholics (at 20 percent), once the single-largest religious denomination.

“We Nones — religiously unaffiliated adults in America — are now the largest ‘denomination’ by religious identification,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Yet most candidates and media outlets focus their time on traditional religious groups, and ignore this major demographic. We’re releasing this voter poll so that our views will be heard, too.”

Fully 98 percent of the respondents are registered voters, 70 percent identify as atheist, 9 percent as humanist or freethinker, and 7 percent as agnostic (with 4 percent preferring another term).

The data show with startling clarity that nonbelievers embrace a humanistic social policy in vastly higher numbers than the general U.S. population, e.g., are ahead of the curve when it comes to social progress.

Their support for women’s rights, reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights is overwhelming, as well as death with dignity rights:

• 99 percent support women’s rights (compared to 79 percent of all adults).

• 98 percent or more support legal abortion and Roe v. Wade (compared to 75 percent of all Americans).

• 98 percent support marriage equality (compared to 61 percent of all Americans) as well as civil rights in general for the LGBTQ community (compared to nearly 70 percent of all Americans).

• 98 percent support the right to die with dignity (compared to 78 percent of Americans).

Nonreligious voters in far greater numbers support policies like gun control, police/prison reform, universal health care and free college:

• 95 percent support police/prison reform (compared to 69 percent of all Americans).

• 94 percent support universal health care coverage (compared to 66 percent of all Americans).

• 94 percent support “rational gun control” (compared to approximately 60 percent of all Americans).

Nontheists also show far more support than the general population for some hotly debated reform, such as:

• 84 percent support reduced or free public college tuition (with 11 percent undecided and only 6 percent opposing) compared to 58 percent of all Americans

• 70 percent support a guaranteed minimum income, while 54 percent of Americans as a whole oppose it.

• 84 percent of secular voters support universal vote by mail, compared to 69 percent of all Americans.

• Over half oppose the death penalty (with 17 percent undecided, and 15 percent supporting it) compared to 39 percent of all Americans who oppose capital punishment.

The disparities continue on the hot button topic of racial justice:

• 95 percent of secular voters believe racial and ethnic discrimination is a big problem in the United States (compared to approximately 76 percent of Americans).

• 45 percent support reparations for slavery (a plurality of seculars, with 31 percent undecided) compared to only one in five Americans overall.

One of the greatest disparities between nonbelieving Americans and Americans in general is found in the response on statehood for the District of Columbia:

• 77 percent of those in the survey support statehood for the District of Columbia (with 17 percent undecided) compared to only 29 percent of all Americans.

• A higher percentage of atheist/agnostic voters also supports statehood for Puerto Rico: 75 percent, compared to 66 percent of all Americans.

Some other results are not surprising, coming from a minority sector that is particularly supportive of the separation between state and church:

• 98 percent support public education and 94.5 percent oppose tax vouchers to public schools.

• 98 percent of secular voters believe “churches should play by the same rules as secular organization.”

• 97 percent believe humans are causing climate change (compared to 50 percent to 71 percent of all Americans, depending on polls) and 90 percent of secular voters believe religious denial is harming response to fight climate change.

• 93 percent believe asylum seekers and immigrants should not be banned based on religion (up-to-date comparison data was not available).

• 93 percent oppose churches receiving COVID-19 bailout money. (Maybe it’s surprising it wasn’t 100 percent!)

• 68 percent believe “Congress should take action, such as by enlarging the U.S. Supreme Court, to correct the blocking of Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination in 2016 (with 23 percent undecided).  (No comparison data available.)

These secular voters put their money where their mouths are, with 49 percent financially supporting civil rights and/or racial justice-equality organizations, 48 percent financially supporting reproductive rights, 52 percent supporting environmental issues and 50 percent charities to help the needy. About a third financially support women’s rights organizations, animal rights, education and the arts.

Overwhelming numbers support legislative initiatives such as the proposed Scientific Integrity Act (99 percent) and repealing or amending the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or other bills making Christians and religious Americans a favored class (96 percent). Secular voters also overwhelmingly support requiring religious organizations to follow the same financial disclosure requirements as secular organizations (99 percent), to pass the No Ban Act barring religious discrimination in immigration (93 percent), and to create secular parity in addiction recovery programs (95 percent).

More than half identify their political voting pattern as Democratic, 17 percent as progressive and 16 percent as independent (with 1 percent Libertarian, 1 percent Republican and 3 percent Socialist).

They also overwhelmingly have written and emailed their elected officials (77 percent) and more than a third have protested at a rally or picketed.

“Overall, nonbelievers are obviously caring, compassionate, involved and engaged individuals,” notes Dan Barker, FFRF co-president, “who clearly recognize that this world is what matters. Not believing in a god doesn’t mean you don’t believe in values. We are the real values voters.”

From June through August 2020, FFRF surveyed its 32,000 current members, with 12,290 total respondents participating across the nation. The social policy questions were answered by 11,904 of the overall respondents. Since the last membership survey in 2015 (with 8,000 responses), FFRF found that the numbers of registered voters in its ranks grew from 96 to 98 percent (which compares to 79 percent of all Americans).

FFRF is a nonpartisan educational nonprofit that does not endorse candidates for office.

(For documentation on general population polls, see FFRF’s online news releases and analyses about the secular voter poll at ffrf.org/news.)

In memoriam: Educator Otto Link dies at 91

Otto Link

Longtime FFRF Life Member Otto Paul Link died at his assisted living facility in Palo Alto, Calif., on May 9 at the age of 91.

Otto was born in St. Paul on June 12, 1928, to Otto Link and Julia (Pfeiffer) Link. Otto was the youngest of five children.

Otto played baseball and the trumpet and performed in small dance groups.

Otto worked several jobs as a youth, carrying ice at age 13, working in a refrigerator factory, and at Swift’s packing-house with his father. He put himself through college at the University of Minnesota by working as a mail sorter in the Minneapolis Post Office, where he met his lifelong friend Elmer Zoff. Both were avid freethinkers.

Otto graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in education and later a master’s degree in elementary reading. At the university, Otto met his future wife of 67 years, Jeanette (Weiss) Link. Otto taught fourth and fifth grade in the Minneapolis Public School system, and in summer school taught profoundly deaf children to read.

He later held positions as vice principal and principal in the Minneapolis public schools. As a vice principal in the 1970s, Otto was instrumental in the historic desegregation efforts integrating Hale and Field schools.

He retired from the Minneapolis Public School system after over 30 years of dedicated service, focusing on the importance of early literacy for children.

Otto enjoyed boating, canoeing, motorcycle riding, reading, reading to his children, dinner parties with friends, working on his home in Brooklyn Center, family trips by car and coaching baseball.

Otto was a member of the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation and the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. He enjoyed repairing almost anything, camping, current events, and debating with others.

A lifelong learner and a history buff, Otto was intrigued by words and language and always had a dictionary nearby. After Jeanette broke her hip in 2017, she and Otto left their Brooklyn Center, Minn., home of 63 years and moved to an assisted living facility in Palo Alto to be near their son.

Otto was a freethinker, humanist, feminist, educator, civil rights advocate and lovingly dedicated to his family.

Otto is survived by his wife Jeanette Frances Link, son John Otto Link, daughter Barbra Frances Link, daughter-in-law Sophia Green, son-in-law Patrick Selmi, grandson Benjamin Link Selmi and his sister Jewel Ecklund.

HUD enabling religious bigotry, FFRF contends

Benson cartoon

A proposed Housing and Urban Development rule is blatantly pandering to religious prejudice, FFRF asserts in a recent public comment.

The HUD regulation would allow shelters to “establish a policy that places and accommodates individuals on the basis of their biological sex, without regard to their gender identity,” permitting explicit discrimination against transgender individuals, FFRF contends.

“The rule does nothing other than rubber-stamp religious bigotry and jeopardize the health and well-being of transgender homeless Americans — people who already face discrimination on multiple fronts and desperately need government support,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write to HUD Secretary Ben Carson on behalf of FFRF’s 32,000-member association. “This rule disgracefully places the weight of the government in support of oppressors rather than the oppressed, allowing shelters receiving federal funds to turn away an individual simply because they are transgender, or because a shelter worker thinks they might be transgender based on their appearance.”

Religion plays a major part in anti-transgender discrimination, as it does in many such historical patterns, FFRF underscores. Indeed, the voices openly calling for the right to discriminate against transgender individuals almost invariably cite “religious freedom” as a justification. Catering to these bigoted demands not only endorses such discrimination, but also endorses a particularly vile religious belief in violation of our entirely secular Constitution’s requirement that religion and government remain separate.

There’s another glaring problem with this rule, FFRF points out: Who determines an individual’s biological sex for the purpose of this rule, and how do they do so? This would require shelters to theoretically engage in the invasive and often complicated task of determining an individual’s biological sex — and then appropriately reconciling when the indicators do not all match. Because this is impossible, not to mention unethical, shelters would be left with a “know it when I see it” standard of discrimination that is wholly unacceptable.

It becomes even more unacceptable because transgender people are at greater risk of homelessness, FFRF emphasizes. One in five transgender persons in the United States has experienced homelessness at some point in their lives due to societal bias, ignorance, family rejection, discrimination and violence. This cruel HUD rule would only further compound such bigotry.

And allowing a government-funded shelter to exclude gender identity from its sex discrimination policy seemingly conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision, Bostock v. Clayton County. That opinion holds that the Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. If a private workplace cannot discriminate against LGBTQ individuals, clearly a federally funded shelter may not do so. A federal court just last week enjoined a Department of Health and Human Services effort to remove transgender protection from its anti-discrimination rules. This proposed rule seeks to do the same and must be rescinded.

“HUD’s true purpose in floating this bigoted proposal is to allow government-supported religious shelters to deny services to those in need based on sex and gender,” adds Gaylor. “That’s heartless and that’s shameful.”

‘Freethought Matters’ is back on the air!

The pandemic is not stopping the Freedom From Religion Foundation from producing a lively fall season of its TV show, “Freethought Matters,” which resumed in 12 cities on Sept. 6. The season’s first show, with the distinguished journalist and pundit Eleanor Clift, is available to view via YouTube.

Tune in to find out what it was like for Eleanor Clift to fight for a word on “The McLaughlin Group,” on which she was a well-known panelist. Clift discusses her own “Cinderella story” as a professional writer (coming from an era when women journalists started as secretaries), then becoming Newsweek’s White House correspondent. The show focuses on Clift’s book, Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment, recounting the exciting and controversial history of the suffrage movement, in honor of the recent centennial of the anniversary of the adoption of that amendment.

Clift has appeared as herself in several movies, including “Dave,” “Independence Day, “Murder at 1600,” and the CBS show “Murphy Brown.” She has previously spoken at two FFRF conventions. Her late husband, Tom Brazaitis, also a well-known journalist, was an atheist and enthusiastic member of FFRF.

Upcoming guests and topics include the imperiled Constitution with Supreme Court expert Linda Greenhouse, who covered the court for 30 years for the New York Times, and the rise of Christian Nationalism, with Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry, authors of Taking America Back for God. The second episode of the season featured professor Khyati Y. Joshi talking about her new book, White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America.

Freethought Matters has also interviewed the distinguished D.C. delegate Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus; and will interview singer John Davidson, a ’60s and ’70s pop star, movie and TV actor who is a nonbeliever.

For a change of pace, upcoming musical guests will include the talented and nonbelieving jazz couple: pianist Addison Frei and vocalist Tahira Clayton.

Irreverent troubadour/songwriter Roy Zimmerman and freethinking songwriter and singer Shelly Segal will also be interviewed.

“Freethought Matters” airs in:

• Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.

• Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.

• Houston, KUBE-IND (Ch. 57), Sundays at 9 a.m.

• Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.

• Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.

• Minneapolis, KSTC-IND (Ch. 45), Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

• New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.

• Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.

• Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.

• Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.

• Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.

• Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 8 a.m.

“You can turn on the TV and be preached at 24/7, especially on Sunday mornings. We want to provide sympathetic programming for the ‘unmassed masses,’ and offer an alternative, so that religious programming does not win by default,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president and co-host. The intent is to introduce communities to leading freethought or secular authors, thinkers and activists in a nonthreatening and positive way, adds FFRF co-president and co-host Dan Barker.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers!

Eleanor Clift

Looking to donate to FFRF? Here’s how!

There are many ways you can donate to FFRF, including directly through our website (ffrf.org/donate).

Ways to give include the Combined Federal Campaign for federal employees, matching gifts, AmazonSmile, estate planning, stock transfer and IRA charitable rollover gifts, which apply to seniors 70½ or older.

Combined Federal Campaign

If you are a federal employee, you may make donations to FFRF through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) until January 2021. Details can be found at opm.gov/combined-federal-campaign. If you wish to help FFRF through this campaign, the CFC code to designate your contribution is 32519.

It is recommended that all CFC donors check the box to include their name and mailing address (in addition to your e-mail) with the donation. Donors will receive an acknowledgment from FFRF when we receive pledge notification (throughout the year).

FFRF has been a CFC charity since 2007. Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. appears in the listing of “National/International Independent Organizations” which is published in each local campaign charity list.

Matching grants

Matching grant donations have become a significant boost to FFRF in recent years. Many companies offer to match (fully or a percentage) their employees’ donations to charitable organizations. These matches multiply the impact of the initial donation to further the goals of the Foundation. Membership dues and donations are tax-deductible contributions and may be submitted to matching gift programs upon organization approval.

FFRF receives Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating. Donations to FFRF are deductible for income-tax purposes.

IRA charitable rollover

If you are age 70 1/2 or older, you may now donate up to $100,000 to FFRF as a qualifying 501(c)(3) charitable organization directly from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The distribution will not be treated as taxable income, provided the distribution is made directly.

To qualify, contributions must come from a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, and they must be made directly to FFRF. Additionally, the donor may not receive goods or services in exchange for the donation, and they must retain a receipt from each charity to which a donation is made.

Because it is available to taxpayers whether or not they itemize their tax returns, the rollover helps older Americans, who are more likely not to file itemized returns.

FFRF will send a “non-tax” letter receipt that documents your lovely charitable rollover gift!

Stock

If you are interested in donating stock to FFRF, please email Director of Operations Lisa Strand ([email protected]) or FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor ([email protected]) or FFRF ([email protected]

Combined Federal Campaign

) about your stock gift and we will gratefully reply with the information you need to make the transfer.

Estate planning

Leave a freethought legacy in your name that will significantly help carry forward the vital work of FFRF for generations to come.

Arrange a bequest in your will or trust, or make the Freedom From Religion Foundation the beneficiary of an insurance policy, bank account or your IRA. It’s easy to do.

For related information or to request a bequest brochure, please email Annie Laurie Gaylor or Lisa Strand or leave a message at 608-256-8900.

AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same prices, selection and shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. Visit the AmazonSmile donation designation page and select the Freedom From Religion Foundation to donate 0.5 percent of eligible purchases to FFRF.

The AmazonSmile Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation created by Amazon to administer the AmazonSmile program. All donation amounts generated by the AmazonSmile program are remitted to the AmazonSmile Foundation.

In turn, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates those amounts to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Amazon pays all expenses of the AmazonSmile Foundation; they are not deducted from the donation amounts generated by purchases on AmazonSmile.