Andrew L. Seidel holds the Sam Belford award. (Photo by Chris Line)
The Peoria chapter of the ACLU has given the Freedom From Religion Foundation the Sam Belfer Award “for ongoing work protecting separation of church and state, as well as intervening in related issues that have arisen in the Peoria area.”
Originally, FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel (pictured) had been scheduled to accept the award on behalf of FFRF at a speaking appearance there in spring 2020, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. The chapter recently mailed the award to FFRF, where it is proudly displayed in our lobby.
FFRF’s displays were put up in San Diego’s Balboa Park again, thanks to a local activist. However, the display was vandalized, with Lady Liberty’s head being chopped off and a slash cut through the word “Reason” in the “Let Reason Prevail” sign.
FFRF Metropolitan Chicago Chapter Members (from left) John Baldwin, Brian McCaskill, Rich Pope, Bob Hunter, Shane Stapley and Steve Foulkes show off its new banner in Daley Plaza. The banner was designed by FFRF’s Jake Swenson and the stand was fabricated by Stapley. Foulkes also set up of the FFRF Bill of Rights nativity display at Cook Memorial Park in Libertyville, Ill. The display counters a life-sized Christian nativity.
FFRF’s Arizona Valley of the Sun Chapter President Philip Lentz and other chapter members brought FFRF’s seasonal Winter Solstice display to the Arizona Capitol for the first time.
FFRF’s secular sign is back in the Milwaukee County Courthouse for the season with the help of member Ted Shellhamer and his son.
For the fifth year in a row, FFRF’s Bill of Rights nativity display has been installed in the Iowa Capitol. FFRF thanks Member Paul Novak, an FFRF State Representative, for putting up the exhibit.
FFRFMCC Members Bob Hunter, Shane Stapley and Josh Ticho (pictured), along with President Tom Cara, set up this new banner, designed by FFRF’s Roger Daleiden, outside the Glenview Village Hall. The lighted Dawkins “A” sign also was moved from Chicago’s Daley Center Plaza to this location, for the first time, .
FFRF Member Jerry Bloom, pictured, along with John Levin, helped install FFRF’s “Let Reason Prevail” sign on the Huntington Green in Shelton, Conn. The banner carries FFRF’s message, coined by FFRF’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor. It was composed as an equal-time challenge, following divisiveness over religious displays in
At North School Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., FFRF Metropolitan Chicago Chapter Board Member Bob Hunter stands with the Bill of Rights nativity display.
FFRF’s Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez and FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert are pictured with Mandisa Thomas, president of Black Nonbelievers, at the Women of Color Beyond Belief Conference II, which was held in Chicago Sept. 24-26. FFRF was pleased to be a $10,000 co-sponsor of the conference. FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor also attended.
Mental health counselor and author Candace Gorham, who started the Ebony Exodus Project to highlight the harmful effects of religion, especially for Black women, spoke at the conference about her newest book, On Death, Dying and Disbelief. Her interview on FFRF’s TV show, “Freethought Matters,” aired on Sept. 23 and can be viewed on FFRF’s YouTube channel: bit.ly/3llcp2i.
Pictured are major conference organizers Sikivu Hutchinson, founder of Black Skeptics Los Angeles, and Mandisa Thomas, founder and president of Black Nonbelievers. Sikivu accompanied Mandisa on the guitar when she sang some songs to open the conference. About 45 individuals attended the socially distanced event in person, with many others registered online.
Ursula Le Guin stamp.
David Williamson of Florida took this photo of the marquee outside the First Pentacostal Church of Wewahitchka. “Looks like this church in the Florida Panhandle was trying to be funny about fall and didn’t get the real joke,” David writes.
Black Collar crime cartoon
Steve Benson cartoon
Steve Benson cartoon
Steve Benson cartoon
Joel Kersting of Minnesota writes: “Just be sure you wear your life jacket.”
Texas cartoon by Steve Benson
Texas abortion cartoon
Kabul / Texas cartoon
This full-page ad ran in the Sept. 12 New York Times.
Three grandnieces of Kenneth Proulx — (from left) Alyssa Piela, Samantha Ashley and Zia Brucaya — recently visited Freethought Hall. (Photo by Dan Barker)
Kavanaugh – Barrett cartoon
Garry Van Trease sent us this photo of a church marquee in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Thirty-five members (and one cute doggie!) of the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC), FFRF’s chapter in Florida, celebrated on Aug. 14 the placing of two billboards in the Orlando area. The billboards were up until at least mid-September. An FFRF operations grant helped cover some of the cost.
Lifetime Member Andrea Natalie of New York sent us this photo. “The staff bathrooms at my secular hospital are plastered with these signs,” Andrea writes. “Annoying as it is for administration to violate my civil rights by forcing Christianity on me, it’s also amusing to see Jesus equated to germs.”
This billboard by FFRF was up for a month in the Nashville area in September.
In this photo from Sept. 29, 1988, Dan Barker, who is now FFRF co-president, played his song “Just say NO to Religion” during a freethought concert and book fair on the University of Wisconsin campus. (Photo by Paul Gaylor)
FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert (center) and FFRF Associate Counsel Elizabeth Cavell (upper right) presented remotely to the Secular Student Alliance conference on May 16. The title was “On the Basis of Sex: Civil Rights after Bostock v. Clayton County.”
Markert and Cavell discussed the Bostock case, what it means for religious liberty (namely, religious exemptions to the Civil Rights Act), and how it impacts civil rights moving forward, particularly for transgender rights.
Nearly 120 people registered for the online session. You can view the presentation here: bit.ly/3vO8iyB.
Church/ state separation
Ron Reagan gets a last-minute touch-up prior to the re-shooting of the iconic ad he recorded for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
FFRF Multimedia Director Bruce Johnson flew to Seattle to operate the camera and oversee the production crew. The ad is being updated largely to improve lighting, and features Ron, a former ballet dancer, seated on stage in an auditorium. It will retain most of the original text, including Ron’s humorous line, “Ron Reagan, unabashed atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”
The 30-second spot is scheduled to run four weeks in a row next February on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” That was FFRF’s original goal back in 2014, but the national network only this year has started accepting the advertisement. The ad, thanks to kind donors to FFRF’s advertising fund, runs as finances permit. In the first six months of 2021, it was the source cited by about half of new members about how they found out about FFRF. Thank you, Ron!
Non Sequitur cartoon
FFRF placed this message in June on a billboard outside Dickson, Tenn., thanks to local member Frank Stiver.
Another billboard in the area also says: “The Good News is . . . THERE IS NO GOD.” The slogans were suggested by Stiver, an octogenarian who generously paid to post them on behalf of FFRF. Both billboards are found on the I-40 outside of Dickson. One is a mile east of Highway 48 and the other a mile west of Highway 48.
Member Julie Tooth sent us this photo from a store in Lexington, Ky. “I just had to send this along after perusing a Habitat for Humanity ReStore that we do-nated a couch to,” she writes. “Further reductions needed! I hope you all get a chuckle from this. Thanks for all you do!”
FFRF Multimedia Producer Bruce Johnson took this photo while in Fredericksburg, Texas. He writes: “Let’s play ‘One of these things is not like the others.’”
Graham Sale cartoon
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Black Collar cartoon
Black Collar cartoon
Chuck Collazzi of Arizona sent us this photo of this former church that is now the Prescott Center for the Arts Theater. It was initially the Sacred Heart Church, built beginning in 1891. In 1970, it was added to the National Registry of Historic Buildings. The stained glass interior circles above the audience area are part of the original church architecture, as are the metal walls and ceiling.
“Prescott is the heart of ‘God’s country,’ and it’s encouraging to see so many temples of ignorance bite the dust,” Chuck writes.
Kate Retzlaff of Milwaukee sent us this photo of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist (shown at left), which was built in 1907. In 1989, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The building is now Renaissance Place, an elegant venue on Milwaukee’s east side for weddings, parties, etc. When church attendance fell off, the church moved to the smaller building next door.
Dennis Middlebrooks of New York sent us this photo of the former South Congregational Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. “The church opened in 1857, when the neighborhood was overwhelmingly Protestant,” Dennis writes. “In later years, the area become mostly Irish, and then for most of the 20th century it was an Italian-American enclave. It is now an upscale gentrified community called Carroll Gardens. The church was converted to a residential condominium building back in the 1990s.”
The complex, consisting of a church, original chapel, ladies parlour and rectory, was landmarked by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1983 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Dan and Donna Barski of New York sent us these photos of the former Ascension Church, built in the 1800s in Tonawanda, N.Y. It is now The Old Chapel Antique and Artisan Market.
“It was the first time either of us entered a church in decades, and we found it to be a very enjoyable experience indeed, knowing that it has now been put to much better use as an antique shop and cafe!”
Pompeo and Unalienable Rights
Black Collar cartoon
Black Collar cartoon