Happy Fourth from the FFRF

Greg Mayer reports that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (the Official Website Secular Organization™) has a full-page ad in today’s New York Times (page A7 of the paper edition).  I couldn’t find it either online or at the FFRF site, so Greg kindly photographed it for me. It celebrates America’s secular origins:


Do join the FFRF, and you might consider attending their national convention in Madison Wisconsin on September 27 and 28, which has a really good line-up.


  1. Mark Joseph
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    This would make a superb poster (changing the lower-right section to add something else to the argument, in place of the sign-up form, of course). I’d buy a copy!

  2. Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The christians always read the us declaration of indepence as proof as the usa as a christian nation, not realizing that Jefferson was one of the greatest critics of christianity of his time.

    • gbjames
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      They aren’t big on the whole accuracy thing.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Apparently, none of the Texans were fooled. Their school text selection committee had Jefferson’s name completely removed from their school history texts last year.

        • Posted July 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          I guess that means they would quote-mine their favorite demi-god and founder of their party, Abraham Lincoln, father of this gem:

          “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”

        • Posted July 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Seems like the list of founding fathers and early presidents gets thinner and thinner.

          “The world has been scourged with many fanatical sects in religion who, inflamed by sincere but mistaken zeal, have perpetuated under the idea of serving God the most atrocious crimes” – Hamilton. (although he would carry a mixed record, esp. given the crimes under the banner of reason during the French Revolution)

          Who’s left? John Jay?

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      They don’t even pay attention to the words of JESUS, for crying out loud; how can you expect them to pay attention to what any other person actually said or believed?

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes, indeed.

      • Infidel1000
        Posted July 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Yesiree Bob, that’s as low as you can set the bar.

  3. Bruce S. Springsteen
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    This is excellent, as I am heartily sick of Hobby Lobby’s annual full-page ads on the fourth, in hundreds of papers, touting Wallbuilders’ Christian dominionist pseudohistory. FFRF continues to get things just right.

    • lwgreen1
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I saw the full page ad in my local paper this morning. This is the first time I’d seen this sort of thing and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I guess lying is OK if you’re doing it for Jebus.

      • Diane G.
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        We get full-page Jesus ads every holiday in the Kalamazoo Gazette. We had the Hobby Lobby jobby yesterday.

  4. gbjames
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Here’s a nice PDF version from the FFRF site…

    • Bruce S. Springsteen
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Hmm. Trying to download that has stalled two different browsers.

      • gbjames
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        It is pretty big (5.9 megs). You may need a bit more bandwidth?

  5. Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Ooh, that’s going to leave a mark. I approve!


  6. alexandra moffat
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Saw it in the NYT – it jumps out at you and is magnificent. Very well designed. Hope it opens some minds

    • Dan McPeek
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      It’s in the AZ REPUBLIC
      and it’s fantastic.

      Every WEIT reader should,
      if financially able, support this organization. They have a great monthly
      newspaper (10 issues/ year).

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Woah…the Repugnant ran it, too? Impressive!

        One can just imagine the fireworks this’ll set off in the Copper Dome….


    • Jim Sweeney
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s in the Los Angeles Times, too, on page A14.

  7. Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    They make me so glad to have signed up and pitched in during their most recent drive. Best money I’ve spent in a long while. And I might not have noticed had it not been for this website.

    Thanks, Jerry! (and thanks, Jerry’s kids!)

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Nice to see it make the local piss-poor, POS local rag, the Colorado Springs Gazette, as well. I once used it to line Butter’s litter box, but stopped after I noticed him goose-stepping around the house.

      • Diane G.
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha ha!

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Also published in the Tennessean – which made me smile. There was a full page “In dog we trust” ad a couple of pages away – sponsored by some Oklahoma City group associated with Hobby Lobby. At least it’s a diversity of viewpoints which in the bible belt is progress (I’ll be interested to see the vocalizations of the local unwashed in the letters to the editor over the next couple of days).

  8. Diane G.
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I know a lot of you are already members of FFRF, and yet you don’t seem to have gotten the earlier email notification about this (and request for funds to support these ads).

    You can opt to receive these alerts from the link here:


    They do not spam you with a lot of appeals! Just the occasional special initiative, like these full page ads (that are quite costly), and other requests for members to contact their congress critters regarding impending legislation, etc.

  9. Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    John and Abagail were both quite religious in their personal lives, and attended church regularly. John attended church even when he was in Belgium or Paris. However, he was by far the most adamant person who worked on the Constitution and other important documents in insisting on separation of secular matters (government for example) and religion. Toward the end of his life he was asked what did he believe were the highest guiding principles a person should live his life in accord with, and he replied “Be good. Be just.” Whereas most of the Deists tended to not have serious religious convictions but were more or less raised so something close to Deism, Adams took rather seriously one “religion” after another and with great care and serious thought, rejected each one.

  10. Mel
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    From a note to list of Madison quotes linked below:
    “The founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [Washington; Adams; Jefferson; Madison; Monroe; Adams; Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity…. Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism.”
    — The Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in a sermon preached in October, 1831; first sentence quoted in John E Remsbert, “Six Historic Americans,” second sentence quoted in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15

    Madison quotes
    The pious who claim that the founders really didn’t want actual separation of church and state, didn’t read this list of James Madison quotations assembled by the Positive Atheism site.


    At the bottom, the website assembled a list of what they believe to be phony Madison quotes by the infamous David Barton. Barton is a major source of anti-separation propaganda and has been debunked by Chris Rodda in her book “Liars for Jesus.” ( http://www.liarsforjesus.com )

  11. Mel
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the “Godless Constitution” claim. The founders could have, but didn’t, include: a religious test for office, a clerical branch of government, a provision for making the Bible a required reference source for Supreme Court decisions, a stipulation of a state religion, or a statement that says the country is based on religion. The Xn nation idea is an absurdity, but it has another even more fatal flaw. Even if the U.S. had been founded as an insane theocracy, that doesn’t prove that it should be now. Separation of church and state has to do with intellectual freedom and is a great idea irrespective of history.

  12. ploubere
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Here are links to full-size PDFs of the FFRF and the Hobby Lobby ads, as they ran in the Tennessean:

  13. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Now I am appalled: the secular state of US originally had a secular Pledge of Allegiance and it was junked!?


    Or at least unsound judgment.

    “The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist,[3] and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898). …

    Bellamy’s original Pledge read as follows:[9][10]

    I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    “Louis A. Bowman, an attorney from Illinois, was the first to initiate the addition of “under God” to the Pledge. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution gave him an Award of Merit as the originator of this idea.[14][15] He spent his adult life in the Chicago area and was Chaplain of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. At a meeting on February 12, 1948,[14] Lincoln’s Birthday, he led the Society in swearing the Pledge with two words added, “under God.” He stated that the words came from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

    Though not all manuscript versions of the Gettysburg Address contain the words “under God”, all the reporters’ transcripts of the speech as delivered do, as perhaps Lincoln may have deviated from his prepared text and inserted the phrase when he said “that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom.” Bowman repeated his revised version of the Pledge at other meetings.[14]”

    [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance ]

    On top of that, it started out as a possible fabrication.

    Oy, vey!

    [Makes me wonder what dumbosity I take for granted over here.]

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh, yeah. Some of us are old enough to remember learning it the original way in school. And of course, “In God We Trust” wasn’t originally on our currency, either.

      The ever-present evangelicals managed to leverage godless-commie-fear during the Cold War to push through these blasphemies.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        I’m not quite that old, but I don’t care for the pre-god Pledge all that much, either.

        My loyalty isn’t to some piece of cloth; it’s to the Constitution…which, sadly, is even less than a goddamned piece of paper in the eyes of our government these days.

        It reminds me of the old Soviet Union, actually. As I recall from my memory of the Cold War era, they also had a quite lovely constitution, full of nobility and dignity and reason. It’s just that nobody paid that one much attention, either. Of course, that remembery is decades old, so perhaps their constitution wasn’t what I think it was.



        • Diane G.
          Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          I’m not wild about it either, but as a kindergartener I didn’t know any better.

          And I agree with you about the constitution on both counts; unfortunately.

          • Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            It’s depressing. I grew up at the end of the Cold War. I remember joking about the Soviets and their internal passports and the armed security everywhere and the political prisoners and the asylum-seekers and the pervasive surveillance and the homogeneity of the political candidates and the registration of typewriters and the prohibitions on photographing bridges…

            …and I’m left with nothing but varying (and generally insignificant in the grand scheme of things) differences in degree to distinguish my adolescent caricature of the Soviet Union with the United States I have found myself grown up into.


            • Diane G.
              Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

              Amen from the choir.

    • Mel
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      The pledge should be junked; it has a really sordid past, including the Nazi style military salute (dropped in 1942 in favor of “hand over heart”). There are photos on the web of American kids all using the Nazi style salute.

      Some pics: (I’ve seen more somewhere on the web.)

      The whole pledge idea came from the military socialism of Edward Bellamy who wrote the international bestseller “Looking Backward.” I can’t vouch for everything in this article, but it’s the only one I know of online. (The author claims that the Nazis got the salute from America.)


      • Mel
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        BTW, from the pics I’ve seen, the kids didn’t do the salute very well, which, I believe, was a good thing and an indication that the kids weren’t into it that much: i.e., they weren’t the heel-clicking Nazis they look like.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        While we’re on the topic, and for what it’s worth, this is my proposed replacement:

        I pledge allegiance
        to the Constitution
        of the United States of America,
        and to the Republic
        which it defines:
        one nation, indivisible
        with Liberty and Justice for ALL.

        Saluting the flag is fine, but not swearing to it.



        • Mel
          Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think we need any coerced political pledges in the schools. A study of the Constitution and the countries before it and many of the shit-hole countries in the world now should convince anybody that we have a pretty good deal goin’ here. If it doesn’t convince someone, then doing a stupid chant isn’t going to help. All it is is propaganda and indoctrination. It’s for the government politicians to pledge allegiance to the Constitution–not the people. As with all other ideas, the people can believe what they want. Patriotism should be a matter of rational evaluation and not of some cultish chants.

          • Posted July 5, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

            No arguments…except that, as dim the prospects of changing the Pledge to the Constitution are, the chances of eliminating it altogether are even more remote.


          • Notagod
            Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            I’ll agree with the rest but, not so much with the “we have a pretty good deal goin’ here”. It is better than a lot and not as good as some but, it could be and should be much better.

  14. x21133
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Enlightening, i'n't it?.

  15. ladyatheist
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I finally joined, to thank them for their letter about Eric Hedin, especially after seeing the kind of “thinking” surrounding me here in Indiana

  16. Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    The same add appeared in the Indianapolis Star today. It must have ruined the publisher’s day because he had to publish it. The Star’s editorials and letters to the editor overwhelmingly favor republicans and Conservatives. They even pay to have a daily Billy Grahm column, and then they complain of being short of funds. The Star has a regular Faith section where local pastors have their say. Many of us in CFI and FFRF, write to the editor often but seldom get published. When a liberal opinion is published it is countered by multiple opposing views.

  17. Philip Appleman
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t get to this blog until Friday p.m. (July 5), so no doubt this point is moot by now, but for those getting home delivery of the Times in NYC, the ad is on page A9. not A7. (A7 has an interesting full-page ad on immigrants.) Just thought I’d mention it, in case any N.Yrkrs go searching through yesterday’s paper for the ad.
    Obviously the Times has different versions for different localities.
    Phil Appleman

  18. Charles Sparrow
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    The religious fanatics need be informed of only three points:
    1. We are sick of having your religious shit shoved down our throats. We won’t take it anymore. The worm has turned.
    2. Religion is not being attacked. It’s being exposed.
    3.Before they start another religious war/crusade-the rumor that liberal atheists are not armed and won’t defend themselves–it’s not true.

  19. Jim Hudlow
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I like the poster generally but it is inaccurate about the pledge…that is actually the 3rd incarnation of the original with ” “Flag of the United States” added in 1923 and “of America” added in 1924. And I wish they were a bit more specific about Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli. It infers that John Adams, a religious man, made up that quote or at least whole heartedly supported it. He only signed the treaty into law. John Adams, from everything I read is not accurately represented by this poster. Here is a quote by

    Adams on Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason: In 1796, Adams denounced political opponent Thomas Paine’s criticisms of Christianity in his Deist book The Age of Reason, saying, “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will.” So I am wondering where they got their information. “The ad includes a website link that not only documents the quotations, but takes the reader to the original script in most cases!” If you go to http://ffrf.org/component/k2/item/18045-in-reason-we-trust (designated on the poster as the place to find evidence for everything on the poster) you will see that the info on John Adams is scant…insufficient in fact:

    John Adams

    Treaty of Tripoli, Art. 11 (1797). Negotiated during the George Washington’s presidency, signed by Adams, unanimously approved by the Senate, in American State Papers, Foreign Relations: Vol. 2, page 19: Senate, 5th Cong., 1st sess., 26 May 1797. View the treaty here: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsp&fileName=002/llsp002.db&recNum=24

    Nothing is written about his religious beliefs or whether he supported the point of view on Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli. Just because he did not veto it does not mean he agreed with it as he was a religious man. If FFRF is going to do this kind of thing (quote mining) their investigation and statements (and implications) have to be verifiable beyond question. Quote mining is not a definitive way to determine a person’s overall long term point of view. I am a member of FFRF by the way and absolutely support them standing against the crap Hobby Lobby is trying to pull on all of us, women in particular.

  20. marksolock
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

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