Letterbox (April 2020)

Help get more freethought into libraries

A copy of Cartoons for the Irreverent and a copy of Freethought Today are available at McMinnville Public Library in Oregon.

In November, I ordered the book of Don Addis cartoons (Cartoons for the Irreverent) from FFRF, with the express purpose of gifting it to the McMinnville Public Library. After several months, it finally appeared on the “new books” rack. Maybe FFRF members could follow suit and get more freethought material into their local libraries. Throughout the years, I figure I have gotten at least 13 freethought books added to my local library system.

I am a longtime member of FFRF and have also succeeded in getting Freethought Today into four libraries.

Dan Hilbert
Oregon


Granddaughter immersed in ‘Freethought Radio

There’s no publication I anticipate seeing in my mailbox as much as Freethought Today, which is a true pleasure to read. It’s hard not to devour the entire issue in one sitting.

I have a story that I thought you might be interested in.

During the daytime on Thursdays and Fridays from early August through mid-November of 2019, my wife and I were watching our youngest granddaughter, from the time she was four months old to seven months old.

On virtually every one of those Thursdays and Fridays, I would take her for a stroller walk for nearly an hour, which just happened to be the perfect amount of time for listening to the previous week’s “Freethought Radio” podcast!

So, I’d put my phone in the back of the stroller, turn the volume up as high as I could to drown out any traffic noise, and happily listen to the podcast as I pushed the stroller along the sidewalks in our neighborhood.

Although at such a young age, it’s highly unlikely my granddaughter was able to grasp what was being said, I like to think that the enlightening freethought messages somehow found a way to enter her neural pathways anyway, perhaps predisposing her to a life as a freethinker.

Randy Hilfman
Washington


Senate chaplain said Lord would guide them

I was interested to hear the Senate chaplain (a position which should not exist) infer in one of his impeachment invocations (a ritual that should not exist) that the Lord, in its infinite wisdom, would guide the senators to make the right decision. Shows how much the Lord knows.

With President Trump declaring in the State of the Union address that he is going to put prayer back in the schools, looks like you folks at FFRF will have a busy year.

Finally, thanks for giving me a chuckle by publishing in the January/February issue the photo of the Alabama high school football team baptizing folks in a livestock watering tank.

Phyllis Murphey
California


Religion and morality are not synonymous

Many people believe that morality and their religion are the same — and that the more pious they display themselves, the more they will appear as paragons of virtue.

But we nonbelievers know better. How often, after all, has religion served as a charlatan’s mightiest fortress? And how many believers have sunk to the lowest depths of immorality, camouflaged by religion’s respectability?

When most Americans finally learn that religion and morality are not synonymous — and that religion itself often hinders morality, they’ll run like hell when they come across a politician who flaunts his or her faith like a shameless exhibitionist.

David Quintero
California


Hooray for FFRF’s TV ad during Dem debate

Bravo and thank you for running an ad during the Democratic debate on Feb. 5! Good job! I support you all the way!

Alan Iberg
Oregon


The Bladensburg cross case conundrum

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an old and large concrete cross maintained with government funds on government property in Bladensburg, Md., did not violate the First Amendment requiring the separation of church and state because passage of time somehow diminished its Christian religion symbolism and rendered it historically secular. This specious solution ignored not only legal precedent but also several historic facts.

• The Second Commandment (Exodus 20:4, 34:17; Deuteronomy 5:8, 27:15) prohibits making or worshiping graven images or idols in the form of anything.

• Roman cross idolatry, violating the commandment, was created by early foreign priests to exploit vicarious guilt among fearful foreign followers. The Roman Catholic Church combined, construed and confused commandments to cover its blasphemous worship of Roman or Latin crosses. Copycat American Protestants inexplicably ignore the prohibition by also idolizing foreign crosses.

• Foreign execution crosses are negative and nefarious instruments of torture and death from an ancient barbaric empire. They are not American symbols, but foreign imports from the ancient Middle East by way of pagan Rome. American revolutionary, founder and second President John Adams opined,  “the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the cross.”

Unthinking Americans disrespect and disregard the biblical commandment by idolizing foreign crosses. Those who believe biblical scripture is the hallowed word of God, but pick what they prefer and reject the rest need to think again. Glorifying sadistic symbols of maiming and murder is sordid and sacrilegious.

The American flag, American eagle, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, Liberty torch, Christian fish, dove with olive branch or divine assurance rainbow are more sacred symbols for American Christians.

John Compere
Texas


Camara’s ‘Holy Hierarchy’ is powerful, enlightening

I watched Jeremiah Camara’s movie, “Holy Hierarchy.” I did not realize how images of God, Jesus and even Mary as white people had such an effect. As a heathen (my term for myself), I had kept some religions images in my home. They are all as white as am I. I will now remove such images from display in my home. I will not give them away as that would continue the stereotyping. This is a very powerful and enlightening movie. I recommend that everyone should watch it.

Joe Gillis
Tennessee

Editor’s note: See page 15 to read Camara’s FFRF convention speech. Watch the film on Amazon Prime.


Church-state separation may not exist for long

In Lapeer, Mich., the police vehicles have “In God We Trust” on their license plates. In Marysville, Mich., the City Council is pressing for compulsory prayer back in the schools. At a national level, President Trump is giving free reign to the evangelicals to institute their agenda, which strongly supports prayer in school and forced recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.

If Trump wins a second term, no religions will exist in the United States except the evangelical church. The country will dissolve into a dictatorship.

These are pressing matters that are taking my time and which have me greatly concerned. These are truly desperate times for the United States. With the Trump administration, the separation of church and state has been and will be eroded to the point that “separation” will no longer exist. Trump has taken the power from Congress and has packed the courts. Without a revolution, I fear the separation of church and state will not be withheld.

Mark J. Taylor
Michigan


Freethought Today helps in these dark times

Thanks for all your great work. Reading Freethought Today puts me in a good mood, especially in these dark times. I’ve enclosed a check to become a Lifetime Member.

Janet Nye
Minnesota


Senators use religious ideology when voting

Our creepy creeping theocracy has now shifted into second gear. Have you noticed? The corruption and chaos of the Dark Ages have been brought to the United States of America by the Republican Party and Dictator Trump. They are debating who has the right prayers, who has real faith and who is a cult, and who is going to save this Christian nation from Democrats, socialists, liberals and secularists? Ultimately, from the devil! The myth and superstition is everywhere, just like in ancient times, and we must call it out for what it is: a tool of corrupt politicians.

Trump said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can’t possibly be praying for him, because she is a “horrible person” and one of those Democrats who are “vicious as hell” and “stone-cold crazy.” He openly questioned her faith and whether “she prays at all.” He accused Democrats of conducting a “deranged crusade” against him. In fact, he and his oligarch conspirators are carrying out a Christian crusade to overturn the Constitution in favor of the Old Testament. After all, some of Trump’s supporters and he himself claim he was “chosen by God” or “heaven sent.”

Trump said Sen. Mitt Romney only used “religion as a crutch” when he decided to vote to convict him on the impeachment charge. And, of course, Romney is a Mormon, rather than a Christian evangelical. How is it that the Republican senators all voted as a solid block to acquit Trump (with the exception of Romney)? Religious ideology, that’s why.

Trump and the other oligarchs are using code words like “liberty” and “freedom” that to them mean individuals of privilege should not have to sacrifice anything for “social justice,” or to end discrimination or ensure civil rights or even clean air and water and social services. Their religion is so selfish that, if Jesus was real and returned to Earth, he would be horrified.

Ron Herman
New Mexico


Buy Founding Myth to donate to your library

In the December issue, there was the article “Pastor burns copy of The Founding Myth.”

This inspired me to purchase five copies of Andrew L. Seidel’s book, The Founding Myth, and donate them to my local public library. I recommend that every FFRF member purchase at least one copy of The Founding Myth and donate it to their public library. It’s a great way to promote freethought and provide some financial support to FFRF.

John Dunn
California


Creeds throughout time are devoid of reason

Throughout my upbringing, I was, as a matter of routine, obliged to recite a “creed,” i.e., a definitive statement of Christian faith. To learn that more than one of these devices was in common use among the various congregations in our town was something I found at the time to be only mildly perplexing. Little did I know that over the centuries, Christians have felt the need to develop well over 100 different creeds, each one as devoid of reason as the others.

Only recently did it occur to me that any one of us might put forth an equally valid, personal statement of faith. For example, the following creed says all anyone would ever need to know about the belief system I have come to embrace. And while others of you might find it interesting or even helpful, no one will be required to memorize or recite it.

An Atheist Creed

I believe everyone should have a chance to fly.

I believe in chivalry and sportsmanship

and that the Golden Rule is the best idea anyone ever had.

I believe undivided attention is the greatest compliment one can bestow

or receive.

I believe dog is humans’ best friend, that elephants have a mind and that even a moth can sense kindness.

I believe intelligence or stupidity may be inherited

but that ignorance is a choice.

I believe that everything which begins will have an end,

that there exist profound truths beyond our comprehension

and that humor affords our only sane retort.

I believe that love cannot save us,

yet is the one sure thing worth dying for.

I believe heaven is a moment,

that only the living can suffer hell

and that death is no more mysterious

than the flipping of a light switch to

Off.

Michael Brandt
Wisconsin


Does law still apply if roles are reversed?

What happens when the gay baker refuses to serve evil-gelicals?

Tim Scott
South Carolina


Donation to ad campaign will help your vital work

The transcriptions of the speeches given at FFRF’s annual conventions continue to be a favorite section of Freethought Today for this supporter.

I especially want to applaud you for having invited Rachel Laser of Americans United. She’s doing great work!

I have enclosed a check to be applied to your advertising campaign. It appears that, along with the prevailing sense of anomie running amok, it’s generating significant numbers of new members.   

As always, I  can depend on the superior sense of ethics which prevail at FFRF to continue your vital and wonderful work.

Alan Maximuk
Iowa