“Whenever the government provides opportunities and privileges for white people and rich people they call it ‘subsidies.’ When they do it for Negro and poor people they call it ‘welfare.’ The fact is that everybody in this country lives on welfare. Suburbia was built with federally subsidized credit. And highways that take our white brothers out to the suburbs were built with federally subsidized money to the tune of ninety percent. Everybody is on welfare in this country. The problem is that we all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor. That’s the problem.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Hi Foundation / Chapter members and supporters,
Your local chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (the Foundation), FFRF Maine, will be meeting at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Monument Square, 425 Congress St., Portland on Saturday, May 20 from 10 AM to noon. All Foundation members and supporters are invited to attend. We are an informal group with a short 30 min business meeting followed by your suggestions for chapter activities.
This month the chapter will be finalizing plans to march in the Portland Pride Parade on Sat. June 17. All are invited to march with us. Depending on interest we could have a table in Deering Oaks Park where the parade ends to distribute literature, buttons and bumper stickers that support non-belief and the separation of church and state.
We also have the opportunity to help people in need in the community this summer. Nonbelief Relief, an agency the Foundation created for non-believers to help the needy, is encouraging local chapters to get out and do just that. The idea is the chapter takes direct action to help others and, through a visible and public presence in the community, promote non-theism and the separation of church and state. We could work with Preble St and personally distribute items we supply that will help make the lives of people with limited resources a little easier. Some suggestions are to distribute food, backpacks, school supplies, personal items, or host a lunch / dinner. Another idea could be doing the same at a local LGBT center for low income LGBT people. Come and let us know how you think the chapter can best help the disadvantaged in Portland.
We generally go out for lunch after the meeting. Last month we went to the Saeng Thai House Restaurant at 291 Congress St. a short walk from the church. Parking in Monument Square can be problematic. Carpooling and / or parking at a supermarket / school with a large parking lot (with permission) away from Monument Square and taking one or two cars into the city is encouraged. Details TBD.
We currently have a volunteer opening on our board for a Membership Chair. Duties would include but not be limited to keeping in touch with current members and attracting new members. If you have 2 hours a week / 6 hours a month to work with a chapter of a national organization that supports what you value, come to the Sat, May 20 meeting, learn what we need and let us know how you can contribute. Everyone is welcome and we would prefer an LGBT woman of color.
Please RSVP to the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These people were all born in the wrong bodies and NC wants them to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex listed on their birth certificates! Good luck with that. From left to right – Chaz Bono, Christine Jorgensen, Dr. Christine McGill, Shawn Stinson and Tula Cossey.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is strongly criticizing the San Antonio mayor for her highly insensitive remarks about belief.
At a recent forum, Mayor Ivy Taylor was asked what she thought were the deepest, systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio.
“I’ll go ahead and put it out there that to me, it’s broken people, you know?” she replied, in part. “People not being inrelationship with their Creator, and therefore not being in a good relationship with their families and their communities and, you know, not being productive members of society.”
Taylor’s shocking response is indefensible, FFRF asserts. (Her after-the-fact clarification through a Facebook statement doesn’t help her case.)
To start with, Taylor’s answer is untrue. In fact, when any given factor of societal health or well-being is measured, it is invariably the less religious countries that score better. The least religious countries of this world:
- Have the lowest rates of violent crime, homicide and corruption.
- Are the best places to raise children and be a mother.
- Have the lowest levels of intolerance against racial and ethnic minorities.
- Score highest when it comes to women’s rights and gender equality.
- Have the greatest protection and enjoyment of political and civil liberties.
- Are better at educating their youth in reading, math and science.
- Are the most peaceful, the most prosperous and have the highest quality of life.
The correlation between lower religiosity and higher societal well-being is not limited to an international analysis. This trend also exists within United States. Those states that are the most religious also have a high occurrence of societal ills. The most religious states in the nation tend to have the highest rates of poverty, obesity, infant mortality, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, murder and violent crime.
Then, Taylor acts as if declaring herself a member of the Christian majority and denigrating an unpopular minority somehow requires a measure of courage: “I’ll go ahead and put it out there.” It would require far more courage to stand up for that unpopular minority. Parading membership in the religious majority is popular — that’s why it’s called pandering.
Scapegoating an unpopular minority,as Taylor did, is inappropriate. As mayor, she represents a diverse population that consists of not only Christians. Overall, 23 percent Americans identify as nonreligious. That eight-point increase since 2007 and 15-point jump since 1990 makes the “Nones” the fastest-growing religious identification in America. And about 35 percent of Millennials are nonreligious.
Imagine for a moment a mayoral candidate making such undeserved and broad accusations against Jews or Muslims instead of nonbelievers. The outcry would properly be swift and severe. It should be no different for nonbelievers.
“Nonbelievers are police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, librarians, teachers, scientists, volunteers, parents and students,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write to Taylor. “We are part of your community and to call us ‘unproductive members of society’ because we don’t believe as you do is the height of religious arrogance.”
FFRF looks forward to Taylor’s apology to its San Antonio membership and other San Antonio freethinkers.
The Freedom From ReligionFoundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 28,000 nonreligious members across the country and more than 1,200 in Texas, including in the San Antonio area.