Letterbox (May 2021)

Rowan Humanists cherish Freethoughts of the Day 

My job at Rowan Humanists is secretary and Words of Wisdom Presenter. At the end of each Zoom meeting, I display a PowerPoint slide with a photo of a prominent individual who has spoken memorable words that we humanists might use in our daily lives. Freethought of the Day is my main source of these words of wisdom. I have 64 of them, more than we will ever need, but you keep supplying such great quotes, so my inventory keeps expanding. Thank you for these important snippets. They are being repurposed for Rowan Humanists! 

Pete Prunkl
North Carolina

Editor’s note: To read FFRF’s Freethought of the Day, go to ffrf.org/day.


Donation can be used to bring new Enlightenment

I am enclosing a check for your legal projects.

I’m a regular viewer of your weekly TV program “Freethought Matters” on our local station and find it enjoyable.

I know it’s been a challenging period for your legal staff, but I’m hoping for a new “Enlightenment.” Give my regards to the staff.

Wayne Varner
Minnesota

Editor’s note: “Freethought Matters” will be taking a summer break and will be back on the first Sunday in September.


Despite attempts, I couldn’t be brainwashed

I enjoy reading your paper and cutting out stories to share with friends and relatives. I tried to believe in God as a child, yelling in my bedroom as a 12-year-old in 1956, “God, if you areREAL, let me FEEL you like the people in church and the kids in my Christian School do.” Also, during my early grade school years, the words “under God” were not a part of the Pledge of Allegiance. After they were added, I could never say those two words. I still can’t. I consider the traditional Presbyterian Church music of my childhood spiritual and do enjoy it, though I don’t believe God is anything but something people are brainwashed to believe exists high in the sky. My friends and I say, “We couldn’t be brainwashed.” 

Carol Lindsay
California 


How about calling it a ‘helpful mantis’?

Regarding the cartoon in the March issue, it is entirely ironic that humans named this particular mantis “praying.” Front legs which appear to be in a praying position actually contain sharp tibial spines that are used to skewer and hold the unfortunate victim while the mantis eats it alive. Yum.

I should add that mantises are considered beneficial insects because they keep garden and crop pests under control. Perhaps we just need a better moniker for the helpful fellow. 

Dave Glenn
Wisconsin 


Prisoners share much with what’s in bible

In one of their videos, YouTubers Lardo and Burley, known as the “Moron Brothers,” ponder the following question: “Why is it that the bible cannot be read in school, but can be read in prison?”

Maybe it’s because many of those in prison have already been involved with murder, rape, incest, etc., that are so prominent in the bible, while our school children need not be subjected to such atrocities.

James Dudley
Oklahoma 


Kudos to FFRF for stopping ‘That Song’

During a recent re-reading of the March issue, I noticed the “FFRF Victories” item about FFRF making a California school stop publicly singing “God Bless the U.S.A.,” hereinafter called “That Song.” This victory has a special meaning for me.

In 1984-85, I was depressed, unmoored and contemplating suicide because of bad personal breaks, and my disgust with the way my country was going, which was seemingly determined to re-elect Reagan and follow him into the pit of meanness. And constantly hearing “That Song” on the radio, even on non-country stations, only made my bad feelings worse. Otherwise, I actually liked Lee Greenwood’s music, but when I heard “That Song,” I thought “God (something else) the U.S.A.” And “God (something else) that song!” Even today, when I hear “That Song” start to play, I either change the station, turn off the sound or leave the room.

So that’s why FFRF Attorney Chris Line’s stopping the school from playing “That Song” gave me a special satisfaction. Kudos to him, and to whoever made the original complaint.

Andrew C. Jones
Michigan 


No need for a new word or phrase for ‘death’

I must disagree with a March issue letterwriter suggesting a different euphemism than “passed away” for death. We don’t need a new name for it.

Nonbelievers — well, everyone, but especially nonbelievers — should acknowledge death as “death” when it occurs and not try to soften the blow. After all, death is a fact of life. Precision in speech equals precision in thought, and that’s the best way to communicate.

I have long said that the only people who pass away are errant quarterbacks.

Michael Spielman
New York


Capitol attacks were done by CASHEWS!

Thank you for properly identifying the types of people who were behind the Capitol attacks in January. I propose a new shorthand to identify these lunkheads:

Christian

Anti-immigrant

Sexist

Homophobic

Evangelical

White

Supremacists

And indeed, many of them are genuinely nuts!

Lorenzo Chistoso
Illinois


FFRF’s dollar-bill stamp helps stamp out crime

FFRF seems to have an interest in banknotes. 

It gives out “godless” currency at its conventions and it has that most perfect stamp — “In Reason We Trust” — to put on dollar bills. I got two new bands of one-dollar bills and stamped them all. 

Then, one Sunday morning, Seattle police trapped a burglar in my house. When he surrendered, he had about 140 dollar bills in his possession. Every single one of them bore that most perfect phrase! Good going, FFRF! Life just keeps getting more fun the older I get.

Paul Baenen
Washington

Editor’s note: You can buy the “In Reason We Trust” stamp here: ffrf.org/shop.


Religion is at heart of negative sex attitudes

In the context of an increase in anti-Asian bigotry in America because of the coronavirus, the media and some politicians have been characterizing the murder of eight people (six of them Asian) in Atlanta as simply more of the same. But there’s something else going on here.

The killer apparently had a very strong sex drive, combined with very negative views about sex. It’s something seen in most sex-linked serial killers. The inner conflict caused him to project his self-hatred onto those women who aroused his “shameful” lust. And to relieve the stress, he killed them, along with anyone else who happened to be on the scene. His perception of these women as “less than” made it easier for him to give vent to his despised sexual urges, and to ultimately kill them.

The core problem here is a negative attitude toward sex. This could only have come from religion. And it turns out that the killer was a member of the Crabapple First Baptist Church (a name I do wish to disseminate). Despite the sexual revolution of the 1960s, we are still a Puritan society. We have an unhealthy attitude toward sex instead of a healthy acceptance of it as natural. 

This unhealthy attitude screws a lot of people up. If we had a healthier attitude, there would be a lot less violence against women.

And once again, religion does a poor job improving people’s moral character.

Stephen Van Eck
Pennsylvania


Do religionists even read their own sacred texts?

This is in regard to the news item from the March issue: “Survey:  Covid-19 in U.S. has strengthened faith.”

By his own acknowledgment, God not only takes responsibility for evil incapacities and calamities, but also brags about it.

Some examples: 

“I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace, and create evil. I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

“Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and evil come?” (Lamentations 3:38)

“If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?” (Amos 3:6)

“Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11)

Isn’t it obvious, then, that religious Americans don’t read their own sacred texts? If they did, the dreadful Covid-19, which God himself brought into the world, would surely weaken his devotees’ faith, rather than strengthen it.

Or perhaps their twisted logic is that God brings evil and calamities into the world so that his worshipers will beg him to save them.

David Quintero
California


‘Freethought Matters’ deserves all accolades

Fortunately, I’m situated about 50 miles from WPIX in New York City, where “Freethought Matters is shown every Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

I’m an ex-Catholic, ex-Methodist, and ex-Presbyterian. Please pass on all thumbs-up for the wonderful program you put on. You folks certainly deserve accolades for this show.

Gary Grubb

New Jersey


QAnon conspiracists are same mold as religionists

Hardly a surprise that the QAnon conspiracy aficionados are also of the very religious variety. It all fits together. What’s the difference between made-up, impossible bible stories and impossible, made-up twists on more recent events, despite solid proof of the opposite, not to mention the insanity exposed? If anything, the latter exposes the unbelievable cruelty of calling school massacres a hoax, face-to-face with parents who lost their children and children who lost their teachers.

There should be no doubt that those who willingly swallow the most impossible, made-up bible stories are far more likely to be fooled by the insane QAnon conspiracy nonsense than more rational, educated people.

Jorg Aadahl
California


FFRF helping me to become free of dogmas

I recently became a member of FFRF. Thank you so much for sending me a bunch of gifts. I enjoy everything that has been sent: Dan Barker’s CD, a badge, a magnet, notes with signatures. I appreciate everything. 

I was born and raised in South Korea and I wondered why society had so much dogma against women. I’m gradually learning to be free from dogmas.

Thank you again for being a fighter. 

Bo Savage
California


New York Times ad by FFRF was not ignorable 

On getting to page 5 in my April 6 New York Times, FFRF’s ad really caught my eye. I am well trained, over many years, at totally ignoring ads when I read newspapers, but this one was not ignorable!

Congrats!

Larry Lerner
California

. . . 

The full-page ad in The New York Times was fabulous!

You correctly identified the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as a “faith-based initiative.” And just as I began writing this, the Ron Reagan FFRF ad played on MSNBC during the Rachel Maddow show. Together, these two events provided an FFRF double whammy for recruitment. Wow!

I very much look forward to the post-pandemic day when FFRF can once again resume full operations and meetings. In the meantime, stay well and stay safe.

Fairfid Caudle
New York


Gaylor’s book offers both solace and ammunition

I want you to know how much I appreciate Annie Laurie Gaylor’s book, Women Without Superstition — No Gods, No Masters. I have two copies — one for the shelf, one for the study. It’s given me both solace and ammunition for the fundamentalists with which my town is full. 

Chris Faatz