Tag Archive: Freedom From Religion Foundation


Apparently the faith of believers is so strong that they have to suppress secular voices and abuse governmental powers to reinforce religious privilege and favoritism in order to keep it intact:

Pennsylvania Town Rejects Atheist ‘There Are No Gods’ Banner in Holiday Display

Published December 03, 2011

| Associated Press

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. –  A western Pennsylvania mayor refused to include a banner from an atheist group that says “there are no gods” as part of a holiday display that includes a Nativity scene, which has been erected annually on city property for decades.

Hundreds of people turned out to support the mayor’s decision to go ahead with the display Friday, which also includes symbols pertaining to Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and secular symbols, including Santa Claus, a snowman and a Christmas tree.

The city about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh added secular symbols to the display this year after the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained last year that it amounted to a government endorsement of religion.

Seeking to head off a similar challenge, the mayor also invited the Madison, Wis.-based group to contribute something to the modified display, so the group mailed a sign that read: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

Mayor Tony Court said he’s yet to receive the banner in the mail, but he refuses to add it when it arrives. “It violates the First Amendment. It’s endorsing atheism,” he said, adding that the crGeche “is a statue. It’s not a doctrinal statement.”

This mayor must have some moon-sized balls to actually invoke the First Amend ment in the name of religious suppression.

The tactics employed by the defenders of religious privilege: Never surprising, always (like their unfounded claims) unbelievable.

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Writing for the Christian Post, Joseph Perkins just put out an alarmist “Fear the atheists!” piece of tripe featuring the headline, “Ohio Church Under Attack by Atheist Group“.

Right off the bat, the poor, helpless Christ Cathedral Church is the innocent little victim “under attack” by the mean, bullying Freedom From Religion Foundation bad guys.

The most important thing to keep in mind through this story (and Perkins’ take on it) is that the opening “blow” in this “attack” was a simple exercise of freedom of speech by the FFRF, which was not specifically directed as a criticism of any particular church or religion at all.

It was, instead, a billboard with a very inocuous, positive atheist message reading:

“I can be good without God.” -Dylan Galos, Columbus student … atheist

If Perkins considers this to be an “attack”, he may be in need of a better dictionary.

Moving on, he begins his lament:

When Christ Cathedral Church in Columbus, Ohio had an atheist billboard removed from its property back in June, it thought it had heard the last from the billboard’s sponsor, the so-called Freedom From Religion Foundation.

By at once acknowledging that Christ Cathedral engaged in trying to censor (which is to say, restrict the freedom of speech of) the FFRF, while also  using the negative “so-called” epithet to imply that working to attain freedom from religion is unnecessary and/or not the true function of the FFRF, Perkins completely fails to grasp the irony of his own contradiction. Censorship by a religious institution is religion curtailing freedom, so the FFRF is doing the necessary, and living up to their name.

He proceeds to his second paragraph:

But the [FFRF] found another way to attack the church. It sicked the Franklin County, Ohio Auditor’s Office on Christ Cathedral, claiming that the church was required to pay property taxes on the land on which the billboard stood, because it was used for commercial purposes.

“Claiming”? Sorry, but it’s the law. Chapter 5709.07 of the Ohio State tax code, titled “Exemption of schools, churches, and colleges”, states it quite clearly:

(A) The following property shall be exempt from taxation:
[…]
(2) Houses used exclusively for public worship, the books and furniture in them, and the ground attached to them that is not leased or otherwise used with a view to profit and that is necessary for their proper occupancy, use, and enjoyment [my emphasis]

So, in just one headline and two short paragraphs, Perkins has already shown indifference to freedom of speech, brushed off the notion that freedom from religion is a valid pursuit (even while providing an example of religion attempting to restrict freedom), and displayed disdain for the law requiring religious institutions to pay taxes on profitable property.

I’d continue deconstructing Perkins’ petulant complaints line by line, but it would be much too tedious. However, I can’t overlook one more assertion he makes further down:

The billboard featured the smiling image of a local college student proclaiming the atheist message: “I can be good without God.” It seemed more than coincidental to some that the pictured atheist student was black, just like Christ Cathedral’s pastor.

Even after overplaying the hurt feelings card so heavily thus far, he just can’t help jumping the shark and leveling a false insinuation of racism.

I would say that Joseph Perkins should be ashamed of himself, but he obviously has no shame to begin with.

You can read the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s news release and see a picture of the billboard at their website here.

Tax the churches.

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