All posts by Tom Waddell

FFRF Maine, Atheists, Agnostics, Freethinkers and Humanists is the Maine chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a 30,000 members strong national organization that supports the constitutional principle of the separation of religion and government.

Huckabee / Citizens United attack the Freedom from religion Foundation

Thank you to those who have volunteered for the Common Ground Fair. We have good coverage and working in pairs would provide volunteers with mutual support. Two more people will let every volunteer work with a like-minded person and would make for a more enjoyable experience at the fair.

A poster I just made about Huckabee and Citizens United attacking the Freedom from Religion Foundation is attached and an 18″ x 24″ version will be at the fair this weekend. It is very important to defend the rights Trump, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, McConnell, Poliquin and Moody want to take away from us including a woman’s right to choose and allowing everyone to marry who they love. They will also institute laws allowing Creationism to be taught in public schools and giving Christians the exclusive right to deny others their human rights if who that person is offends their Christian religious beliefs.

NOW is the time to show your resolve. After the November election will be too late to help some people be aware that some politicians want to take away these rights at great personal cost to the people.

I know everyone has a very busy life and don’t have the time to do everything they would like to do, me included. On the other hand everyone has all the time there is. What looks like not enough time is actually how we prioritize the time we have.

All I am asking is to triage your priorities and see just how much fun, and important, defending your rights can be. You won’t be disappointed you took the time to promote human rights, yours and others.

Thanks for listening,

Tom

Huckabee / Citizens United attack Freedom from Religion Foundation

Huckabee

Their Christian campaign will negate your right to believe as you wish

Huckabee and Citizens United are “afraid” of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The fundamentalist former governor, minister and Faux News host has joined with Citizens United to attack the Foundation.

Huckabee’s claims include:

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has done more than any other group to destroy America’s “Traditional Values” by using well-reasoned and successful lawsuits for years.

After claiming “God’s irreplaceable role in America” and that the Founding Fathers’ morals came from “our Christian Heritage,” Huckabee says FFRF is promoting sick morals in America.

The Foundation’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Every year, we win hundreds of out-of-court cases that stop church/state violations. Since 2016 we have won more than 12 in-court cases, including a case ordering the removal of a 34-foot cross in a Pensacola, Florida park. We couldn’t do this without your support. Our effort to protect everyone’s views on religion or secular principles has caused Huckabee, a Christian Right proponent, to make Christianity America’s official religion.

Will you help support the Foundation’s efforts to defend everyone’s beliefs on religion? Please help the Foundation outfox Huckabee by making a contribution to FFRF’s Legal Fund at ffrf.us/outfox.

Huckabee claims that good people will no longer stand by and do nothing. You are a “good person” and we encourage you to take action to defend your rights. Standing by and doing nothing is not an option when Christian Nationalists are forcing their religious beliefs onto your secular government to take away your Constitutional right to believe as you choose.

Thank you for your support.

Invitation: An opportunity to talk to interested people about non-belief.

The chapter will have a table at the Common Ground Community Fair in the Social & Political Action Tent. We really need your help to talk to interested people about non-theism and the importance of the separation of church and state. The fair will be held on September 21, 22 & 23, Fri, Sat & Sun in Unity, Maine.

Talking to interested and interesting people who stop by our table to hear your point of view is fun, entertaining, invigorating and a productive way to spend 3 hours discussing what is most important to you. I will provide you with a pass for the day and you are free to wonder around the fair before or after your 3 hour shift. The shifts are 9-12, 12-3 and 3-6 on Fri & Sat, 9-12, 12-3 & 2-5 on Sun. Pick a 3 hour time slot that works for you and let me know so I can mail you your free pass to the fair. If you decide to help out just before the fair let me know and I will leave your pass at the gate.

Thanks,

Tom.

Common Ground Community Fair

Common Ground Community Fair

The CGCF will be held on September 21, 22 & 23, Fri, Sat & Sun. The chapter will have a table there all 3 days in the Social & Political tent and I will be giving a talk on non-theism on Friday from 3 to 4 PM.

I will be there from 8 – 6 on Fri and Sat and from 8 – 5 on Sun and I could really use your help for just 3 hours on any day you choose, especially when I need to be away from the table on Friday from 3 – 4 PM to give a talk on non-theism. If you truly think logic and reason is solid ground on which to base your life, and can engage friendly and curious people about non-theism in a respectful way, let me know. I will provide you with a pass for the day and you are free to wonder around the fair before or after your 3 hour shift.

I find talking to interested people about non-theism is a great way to help others decide for themselves if the supernatural has any bearing on their lives. Remember, everyone is a fully functioning human being with thoughts and feelings of their own that make sense to them. We do not challenge or denigrate what someone else believes or engage in biblical arguments. Our purpose is simply to introduce others to another way of looking at the world that doesn’t involve sin and salvation or a need to obey a rigid code at the penalty of eternal damnation. Engaging them in a respectful conversation about what non-theism is, what it is not, and how basing one’s life on logic and reason has set you free is a low key, inviting and respectful way for others to hear what you have to say. Most people on this list or Facebook page do this every day with other non-believers. All I am asking is that you do what you already do every day but just include people who want to learn if non-theism is right for them.

If you can engage people in a respectful way about what is important to you, please sign up for at least one 3 hour shift. Talking to interested and interesting people who stop by our table to hear your point of view is fun, entertaining, invigorating and a productive way to spend 3 hours of your life discussing what is most important to you.

Volunteers need to be at the chapter’s table at 8 AM. The fair opens at 9 AM each day and closes at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. on Sunday. The shifts would be 9-12, 12-3 and 3-6 on Fri & Sat, 9-12, 12-3 & 2-5 on Sun. Pick a 3 hour time slot that works for you and let me know by Friday, September 14 so I can mail your free pass to the fair.

Thanks,

Tom.

Freedom Songs of the 1960’s Still Relevant Today – Why the call to action of human rights songs are as relevant now as when they were written.

Freedom Songs of the 1960’s Still Relevant Today

Why the call to action of human rights songs are as relevant now as when they were written.

Twenty-Five years ago Stevie Wonder commented that, unfortunately, Bob Dylan’s 1963 song “Blowin’ in the Wind” was still relevant, 30 years after it was written. I agree, but now it is 55 years since it was written. That song is still relevant today because, then as now, many people are still being denied their basic human rights including the right to be who they are. Some of the lyrics are: How many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free? How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see? Today those lyrics apply to how many years must an immigrant contribute to this country before they are allowed to be free, when will the LGBT community be allowed to be themselves and how long can some people pretend this isn’t happening to our fellow Americans?

Simon and Garfunkel had a version of Silent Night in 1966 that included a news broadcast in the background. Bruce Eder described the song as “a grim comment on the state of the United States in 1966”, (and one that still applies today). Some of the news was: President Johnson proposed equal access for everyone for every type of housing but it had no chance in Congress and everyone knew it. Today the news is any legislation that promotes equality for everyone has no chance in Congress, and everyone knows it. Other news in 1966 was Nixon urged an increase in the Vietnam War effort and called opposition to the war the “greatest single weapon working against the United States”. Today Trump claims that any opposition to his whims is the greatest single weapon working against the United States.

In 1971 the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers that concluded we could not win in Vietnam. Nixon took the Post to court to prevent the paper from publishing any more of the Pentagon Papers because, in his opinion, a free press that didn’t support his administration was not good for the country. In 1972 the Post broke the story on Watergate but since the Supreme Court had already ruled a free press is guaranteed by the Constitution and is essential for a free and fair democracy in the Pentagon Papers case, Nixon tried to use the FBI, CIA and the IRS as political weapons to silence the Post, and other opponents, claiming that what the Post was reporting about his administration was “fake news”. Today we have a president who is attempting to silence the press by claiming any unfavorable report on his administration is also “fake news.

Now in 2018 we have Trump appointing an activist justice like Scalia who will make decisions based on his personally held religious beliefs. With Kavanaugh we can expect an outright assault on human rights and the separation of church and state, exemplified by: increased restrictions on abortion; more restrictions on voting rights; allowing business owners to deny contraception benefits to female employees in the company health plan and to deny some customers service because of the owners religious beliefs; granting medical professionals the right to deny anyone healthcare based on the provider’s personally held religious beliefs; allowing public schools to hold Christian prayer and teach Christianity in school at taxpayers’ expense; increased corporate power to influence elections, and reduced environmental regulations.

All of these are ideological and religious agendas designed to favor some groups over others. A truly neutral justice would allow a woman to choose, allow every citizen to vote, require businesses to not discriminate against women in the company’s healthcare plan or to discriminate against some customers; require medical professionals to provide medical services to everyone; keep government and religion separate by not allowing religion in government sponsored public schools; let elections be decided by voters and protect the environment in which we all live.

If you care about your freedom of and freedom from religion, guaranteed to you by the First Amendment, remember in November to vote for candidates who respect the US Constitution. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives end the day we become silent about things that matter” and Bayard Rustin, the man who organized the 1963 March on Washington said, “The proof that one truly believes is in action”.

Nation founded on religious principals?

https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/08/12/nation-founded-on-religious-principals/

https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/08/12/nation-founded-on-religious-principals/comments/

Nation founded on religious principals

The atheist Tom Waddell, president of the Maine chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, in his diatribe of Aug. 3, says that the United States has a secular heritage. If he were to review the founding documents, he would find the Christian God and principles on practically every page. This includes The Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution (which had deficits corrected by amendments). Separation of church and state was mentioned only by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptists to assure them that the government would not interfere in their religion. The U.S. Constitution reflects the Mayflower Compact. The early settlers to this country came here so that they could practice their Christian religions in peace and to get away from state-run churches. They wanted to freely be able to depend on Almighty God.

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution “prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech…” In other words, we are free to express our Christian beliefs and mention God in government circles or anywhere else.

Atheists DO have a god. He and his angels, the demons, are mentioned in many places in the Bible. He is called the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), Satan, the devil, Beelzebub, etc.

Mr. Waddell wanting to give the invocation for the session of Legislature to ask the Devil to bless the work of our Legislature when the Devil tries to do the opposite is utterly ridiculous.

For the Kennebec Journal to fill Godly M.D. Harmon’s spot on the editorial page with an atheist is also ridiculous!

Albert Boynton

Whitefield

Comments to “Nation founded on religious principals” letter

(It’s nice to know there is a supportive community out there for our point of view)

Do you pick and choose what parts of the bible we go by or do we go by the bible 100% ?

Thank you all so much for your supportive comments. It’s amazing how an attack on a voice of reason can bring out the best in people. Keep up the good work and thanks again.

My my, how the heathen rage at a simple explanation of the Godly origins of our country. Good for you Mr. Boynton.

Mr. Boynton’s delusion is stunning. Mr. Boynton, if you stop trying to dehumanize your fellows as demon worshippers, you will see that we are just like you, only not so intolerant. The purpose of the separation of church and state is to stop the tyranny of the majority (Christians) over minorities (Jews, non-believers, Muslims, and others), plain and simple. Who could say fairer than that? Why must Christianity dominate through political force? Is it so unsure of itself?

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” From the Treaty with Tripoli, 1796 (within 10 years of the Constitution.) It was passed unanimously by the Senate and signed by the President. It was printed in major newspapers of the time without any angry letters to the editor or opinions denouncing it.

The author of this letter is wrong.

It is curious how the letter-writer completely ignores the line against “any law respecting an establishment of religion”, which Thomas Jefferson called a “wall of separation” between state and church. You can believe your fairy tales. Just don’t ask the rest of us to play along.

Good for Tom! Freedom of speech and freedom FROM religion – you need to actually know our history and that the King of England was the head of the Church of England. Then there was this little revolution that occurred… You also might take some time to read our Constitution and see why amendments have been made. There is one easy example – the three-fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787). Then speaking of the Bible how about – Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Exodus 31:15, or And the man that committed adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committed adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20: 10-12 (wonder what President Trump thinks about that one). Anyways, have a nice day ;)!

You’re using your Bible to explain to atheists what they believe? You don’t get the irony?

Taking your bible literally has already caused enough harm.

Yet again, the grandiose propaganda drum beat continues. The origin theory of a religious nation is based on the convergence of common law traditions with religious incompatibles in England during the religious wars in Europe. However, the fact is of the original thirteen colonies, only four were conceived as religious refuges: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. All of the rest were chartered as economic opportunities for members of the English ruling class.

Even though Maine was then part of Massachusetts, it was initially a penal colony for non puritans who would not fight during the King Philip War. Colonists were summarily removed from their homes and forcibly settled along the various rivers along the Maine Coast and ordered to make sawmills that made lumber for the King’s Navy. Of course This does not fit the romantic notion of tough WASP fishermen carving out a Maine civilization, but The “real Maine at the time was the Siberia of New England.

I’ll have what you’re smoking.

 

Do you value your religious freedom? – The Trump Administration doesn’t.

Aug 2018 Do you value your religious freedom? – The Trump Administration doesn’t.

What ever happened to the separation of church and state? The First Amendment to the US Constitution clearly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” yet Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to the Christian Bible as justification for separating children from their mothers. To quote Sessions “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.” God has ordained them for the purpose of order? If the Christian God ordained Trump and his Cabinet for the purpose of order, why do we vote?

In an effort to further erode your religious freedom, Sessions formed a “Religious Liberty Task Force” this week specifically designed to grant religious privilege to fundamentalist Christians. Apparently, according to Sessions, religious freedom includes the freedom to act as one’s religion demands, even if such actions might curtail the civil rights of others, or run contrary to the law.

Fortunately the US Supreme Court reasoned in Reynolds vs United States (1878) that taking action based on one’s sincerely held religious beliefs is unconstitutional if those actions violate established laws. The Court ruled that “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices”. The Court asked: “Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?” To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

Andrew L. Seidel, a lawyer and Director of Strategic Response for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, reasoned that the Department of Justice doesn’t need a Religious Liberty Task Force, it needs a State-Church Separation Task Force” and “Until we get a president and attorney general who understand the Constitution and are willing to defend it against religious privilege, the Freedom from Religion Foundation will continue to guard the wall of separation that is so vital to our secular republic.”

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor commented that “The creation of this so-called Religious Liberty Task Force is an affront to the secular heritage of the United States” and “It’s especially dangerous when combined with the Trump administration’s relentless packing of the judiciary with judges handpicked by the Federalist Society to legislate religious dogma into our laws and policies.”

We can expect more of the same from Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court who does not believe in the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. He argued in 2017 that the government should not “facilitate” an abortion for a 17-year-old illegal immigrant in federal custody despite the US Supreme Court’s long standing precedent that the government, her only resource, cannot place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. Kavanaugh argued that “the Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion”. Kavanaugh also supports teaching Christianity in public schools. In short, both Sessions and Kavanaugh support Christian religious privilege even if it violates another’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion.

I urge you to think about what your freedom of religion means to you. Keep in mind that religious freedom applies to all of us, no matter what religion or humanist values you follow. The freedoms you want for yourself must be granted to everyone. In truth, Sessions and Kavanaugh’s desire to turn fundamentalist Christians into a religiously privileged class is one step in the process of denying you your religious freedoms. In effect Sessions and Kavanaugh, if he gets confirmed, are giving you a choice: Become a Fundamentalist Christian and enjoy special government sanctioned religious privileges or let your conscience be your guide and become an outcast in society.

The First Amendment guarantees everyone the right to hold any religious beliefs they choose and also prohibits everyone from forcing their religious beliefs onto anyone else. This is the true meaning of having the freedom of and freedom from religion. We cannot have one without the other.

Tom Waddell is president of the Maine Chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He can be reached at: president@ffrfmaine.org