Letterbox (March 2018)

Printed speeches great for those who can’t go

Thank you for publishing in Freethought Today the speeches given at FFRF’s annual convention. It’s great to be able to read them if one can’t attend that event.

Sue Murawski

Pennsylvania


Country was founded on Constitution, not God

To Florida state Reps. Kimberly Daniels, Ralph Massullo and Larry Lee, who want to put “In God We Trust” in a “conspicuous” place in every public school in the state: It seems you didn’t read the U.S. Constitution before you swore to uphold it.

Our country was not built on God; he/she/it isn’t even mentioned in our Constitution. Not every citizen trusts or believes in your God (or whichever god you refer to) and you have no right or obligation to force your misguided beliefs on any constituent.

If you’d like the facts, ask an atheist.

Randy Lifshotz

Florida


Bias of reporter showed in writing lawsuit story

I receive the Chicago Tribune and took special exception to a certain choice of words regarding an article about FFRF’s lawsuit on the IRS parsonage allowance. The wording of the article showed the bias of the writer. One can readily detect this in the front-page story, which has the phrase: “The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a self-proclaimed guardian of church-state separation.” Using the same rhetorical ploy, I could describe the writer by saying, “This article was written by Manya Brachear Pashman, a self-proclaimed objective journalist.”

Allen Cosnow

Illinois


Donation helps fight ‘theocracy of dunces’

According to your recent “New Year 2018 Appeal” mailing, your Legal Fund is in need of a boost. Well, as an ardent FFRF booster, I am taking that challenge personally and am responding with a qualified charitable donation from my IRA to be specifically earmarked to help you fight the “theocracy of dunces.” (This is in addition to another general-purpose donation that you recently received.)

By all means, please notify Vice Theocrat Pence of my gift and tell him it’s to finance the preservation of the wall of separation between church and state.

To everyone at FFRF: Keep up the wonderful and vital work you’re doing on our behalf!

Charles B. Keeling

North Carolina


FFRF should go after untaxed church land

If you really wanted to make a splash in the ocean, you should go after churches that have a lot of land, all of it off the tax rolls.

Where I live, churches have lots of very valuable property just sitting empty and no property tax is being paid on it. Land in the Seattle area is hard to get and very expensive.

Go get ‘em!

Terry Patterson

Washington


Our decisions create our own environment

Thanks to Dan Barker for taking on the challenging issue of free will in his new book, Free Will Explained.

Here’s my perspective on free will: Of course we make choices, decisions and have will. However, given our genes, our past environment, our current environment and all of our interactions, only one choice is possible. But “free” will is dangerous. It leads to us blaming others and believing ourselves as deserving, rather than fortunate or lucky. B.F. Skinner’s position is much preferable to the “it’s a just world” perspective. Skinner argued that we have consequences for the good of the individual and society, not because the consequences are just or fair.

As M.C. Escher’s “Drawing Hands” (each hand drawing the other one) illustrates, we create ourselves with each decision we make. In essence, we are “drawing” ourselves, our future.

Each decision creates part of our new environment, which then shapes the person we are becoming. However, each decision we make is itself determined; only one outcome is possible in each decision-making process, given our genes, our environment and interactions among those factors.

Shirley Ogletree

Texas


Bible’s view of women is depraved, revolting, vile

I want to thank you for your incredible work. You are desperately needed. I am thrilled to see your legal successes and hope that your strength continues full force during this atrocious political climate.

I ordered some books from your website, including Annie Laurie Gaylor’s Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So. I read it immediately, assuming it was going to argue a philosophical position about treatment of women in the bible.

Boy, was I wrong! It doesn’t even need to argue it. The evidence is clear by the disgusting number of anti-women passages within the text. I had no idea how seriously depraved, revolting and vile the bible is. It was literally stomach-churning.

Because of your book, Annie Laurie, I firmly believe the bible is one of the greatest sources of female repression. I wish more people realized how truly iniquitous the bible in concerning women. It disheartens me to know that it is the most printed book in the world.

Fortunately, I feel the secular world has made serious progress. The work of FFRF and others has hastened this progress. Feminism and pro-women attitudes radiate liberalized, enlightened parts of the world. Keep up the excellent work!

Andrew Z. Colvin

Arizona