What you would like to see your chapter do in 2017?

Hello from your Maine Chapter (the Chapter) of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (the Foundation),

I asked the Foundation to send out this follow up letter to the Sat, May 20 chapter meeting invitation at the Unitarian Church at 425 Congress St, Portland (Monument Square) at 10 AM to noon and to ask what you would like to see your chapter do in 2017.

In the past two years the Chapter brought Katherine Stewart, author of “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children” to speak in Augusta, made a presentation about the Good News Club, had a table at the Common Ground Fair, was interviewed twice on a Portland public access TV channel, started a monthly Kennebec Journal / Morning Sentinel newspaper column, “In Reason We Trust” and participated in two panel discussions on religious coexistence, one at Colby College and the other at U. Maine / Orono.

This year we have already given the very first secular invocation to the Maine House and are scheduled to give the first secular invocation to the Maine Senate on Tuesday, May 30 at 10 AM. Our other plans include making Hobby Lobby customers aware the company denies female employees contraception, participating in another panel discussion, making our third appearance on the Portland public access TV channel, having another table at the Common Ground Fair in Union and giving a talk about the value of keeping church and state separate.

To accomplish this takes people and money; people to support what you value and money for materials and advertising. Supporting your chapter does not mean you have to be an “activist” where you deliver a talk, go to the fair or write the column. Support can simply mean letting us know what you would like to see the chapter do or making a small donation. If everyone could set aside a few hours to keep religion out of our secular Maine government, or donate $5, the chapter would be in a much better position to support what you value.

My “ask” is what value do you place on having a local chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Maine? What, in terms of time and money, are you willing to “spend” on something you value? Everyone’s time and money are limited but think about your time. We often say we don’t have the time to support what we believe in but we all have all the time there is. What makes us feel we don’t have enough time is how we prioritize our time. Where do you prioritize supporting the separation of church and state? The more you value keeping religion out of government the more likely you will be able to allocate some of your time to supporting that. An hour a week doing something to support the values you cherish would allow the chapter to accomplish so much more to advance the concerns that matter to you.

Mike Pence as VP, the appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary and the appointment of Jeff Sessions as AG go against what most people here support. Pence, who stated; “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order” (apparently being an American comes in no better than fourth, if at all), DeVos who has long championed replacing public education with publically funded Christian schools and Jeff Sessions who opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, civil rights, gay rights, affirmative action and is rated 100% by the Christian Coalition for a pro-Family Values voting record pose a real threat to all of us.

There are many non-believer groups in Maine that many of you are members of, as I am. They help us keep our sanity by letting us know we are not alone. FFRF Maine is the only non-believer group in Maine with access to lawyers with expensive experience in defending the separation of church and state. Because of that we are in a position to help make real change right here in Maine. Through your support FFRF Maine can be more effective in opposing the attacks on the separation of church and state we can expect in the next four years.

Please RSVP for the meeting to me at ffrfmaine@gmail.com or call 207-613-7080.

Thanks,

Tom Waddell, President, FFRF Maine (https://ffrfmaine.org/)