The Freedom From Religion Foundation is taking Mike Huckabee and the Citizens United Foundation to task for scurrilously using its name as a fundraising gimmick.
FFRF has obtained a recent letter that Huckabee wrote for the Citizens United Foundation. The undated letter entirely devoted to attacking FFRF runs to 10 pages and includes a request for a minimum donation of $22 and a petition that recipients are to sign and return to Citizens United. The letter states that it will be mailed to 2 million Americans. (For a fun point-by-point refutation, read the letter with FFRF’s annotations online at ffrf.org/attack.)
Huckabee is a former governor of Arkansas and Fox News host. He also lost twice in Republican presidential primaries. Citizens United is an organization that, in 2010, won a U.S. Supreme Court case which struck down a federal law prohibiting corporations and unions from making expenditures in connection with federal elections. In other words, the controversial outcome of the case equated corporations with people when it comes to political donations.
The letter from Huckabee and Citizens United is not simply dishonest, it contains patently false statements that damage, and are intended to damage, the reputation of FFRF. Worse yet, through this dishonesty and fear-mongering, Huckabee and Citizens United are striving to build up a $44 million theocratic war chest.
In one sense, FFRF is flattered, FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write in a letter to Huckabee and Citizens United. Huckabee’s letter recognizes that FFRF and its legal team have “done more than just about any other group” to buttress the constitutional wall of separation between church and state. Huckabee also admits that he “is afraid” of FFRF.
However, Huckabee’s letter overflows with lies, disinformation and misstatements. The biggest lie appears on page two and is repeated 13 times in various iterations: “The Freedom From Religion Foundation has launched a Campaign for an Atheist America that has one goal — to erase any trace of America’s Christian heritage from the public square.”
FFRF has launched no such campaign. Nevertheless, the letter even indicates that Huckabee and the Citizens United Foundation are familiar with various stages of the nonexistent campaign: “Urgent action is needed to stop the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s newest and most frightening plan — the next phase of their Campaign for an Atheist America.”
This appears to be a deliberate lie meant to scare people into donating to Citizens United.
In another lie, the letter states: “In Ohio, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued to prohibit the Star of David from being displayed at a new Holocaust Memorial.” FFRF never sued over this memorial on Capitol grounds. FFRF simply wrote a letter suggesting that a secular memorial on Capitol grounds was more appropriate and inclusive than a sectarian memorial. Painting an artistic suggestion as an anti-Semitic lawsuit deliberately and dishonestly casts FFRF in a negative light.
Then there is this absurd and harmful paragraph: To the Freedom From Religion Foundation, you and I are “narrow minded” because we still believe in “old fashioned” Religious Values. Since you and I don’t think that things like pornography and crosses in urine are “art,” they firmly believe that they must sue the Heartland into accepting these things.
“The clear implication here is that FFRF has sued to force people to accept pornography and crosses in urine as art, an indefensible claim devoid of any basis in reality,” Barker and Gaylor write.
The state/church watchdog has never brought a lawsuit about pornography or urine-soaked crosses, much less one that forced people to accept them as art.
The Huckabee attack letter makes many statements that purport to be factual but are actually lies. Those statements injure FFRF’s reputation — and are intended to injure that reputation.
FFRF is formally requesting that Mike Huckabee and the Citizens United Foundation cease disseminating what it calls their smear letter or other lies about FFRF. The unvarnished truth is the least that their followers — and this country — deserve.