Why we need to pray for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) the people who are a part of these groups and what they stand for. These are two groups who have long fought for the removal of “in God we trust” from our US currency and “one nation under God” from the pledge of allegiance and many other religious movements. These groups also continue to fight to ban prayer in public places, and worship in public places. They have also tried to ban student lead prayer in public schools and they have also tried to ban the Bible from being brought to school. Both of these groups are made up of people who are atheists and agnostics. And although they are entitled to their rights, opinions and freedom of expression, we as Christians are also entitled to our rights, opinions and freedom of expression. These groups don’t want “Christians” to be able to express their 1st amendment right which is freedom of religion and freedom of expression but it’s ok for them to express their 1st amendment right where ever they want. This has been the main issue for many years.
As you can see the First Amendment stats:
Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In December 2017, the FFRF filed a lawsuit against President Trump as a result of an executive order that targeted an IRS rule saying religious organizations and other nonprofits that endorse political candidates risk losing their tax-exempt status. “This financial threat against the faith community is over,” Trump said when he signed the order in May. “No one should be censoring sermons or targeting pastors.” The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, or FFRF, filed a lawsuit in Madison federal court the same day the order was signed. The atheist group, represented by Richard Bolton of Boardman & Clark in Madison, sued Trump and IRS Commissioner Josh Koskinen The executive order targeted the Johnson Amendment, sponsored by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson in 1954, that prohibits tax-exempt nonprofits from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Trump’s order also allows religious organizations to choose whether or not to provide birth control under the Affordable Care Act. FFRF challenged the order on the grounds that it violates equal-protection and free-speech rights by giving preferential treatment to churches.
Also in December 2017, The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is asked the Alabama governor to quit preaching on the state’s official social media accounts. Claiming concerned citizens contacted FFRF to report that on December 25th, the official Alabama governor’s Facebook page posted a religious message and Governor Kay Ivey’s 2017 Christmas message video. The Freedom From Religion Foundation believes that a government entity, the office of the governor cannot endorse religious messages. These religious messages violate the Establishment Clause by communicating that the department and the state of Alabama prefer religion, specifically Christianity, over non religion and all minority faiths.
Another case in early December 2017, A mother and child who were part of a lawsuit challenging Mercer County’s Bible in the Schools program are appealing last month’s ruling that stated they did not have standing to sue the school system. Elizabeth Deal and her daughter, Jessica Roe, are asking to have their injury recognized, nominal damages and assurances the classes will not resume. The Notice of Appeal was filed Thursday in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The Wisconsin-based group Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. filed the lawsuit against the school board in January seeking to end the Bible in the Schools program based on the claim it violated the First Amendment. Months afterward Mercer County Schools terminated the employment of all Bible in the Schools teachers and the Board of Education later voted to suspend the program for at least a year to ensure thorough review and modification to the program.
And there was yet another case in December 2017, an Indiana public school district was forced to removed a banner advertising a local church from a high school football stadium after the nation’s largest secularist legal group filed a complaint. The Freedom From Religion Foundation had announced that school officials at New Palestine High School have removed a banner advertising for Realife Church in Greenfield. The banner in question featured the team’s logo and stated in big lettering at the top, “I can do all things…” — an abbreviated version of Philippians 4:13.
As you can see this is not an issue with forcing people who don’t want to pray, or read thier Bible, the FFRF does not want anyone to be able to read thier Bible or pray anywhere besides their home and church. The ardently anti-Christian Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues to attack and threaten small towns and average Americans for exercising their religious and constitutional freedoms.
Here is a list of common sense, religious, and constitutional victories against the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the other angry atheists attacking our American heritage and religious liberty:
- WWII Memorial Jesus Statue: On Monday, a federal appeals court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of FFRF’s lawsuit. The statue memorializing the sacrifice of World War II veterans was attacked by the FFRF as a “ruse and a sham.” One veteran responded that removing the display would be “a slap in the face of the men and women who served their country and built this community.” Another local Montana resident asked, “Why don’t they just leave us alone?”The ACLJ fought back every step of the way, sending legal letters to the National Forest Service and filing amicus briefs in this case on behalf of more than 100,000 Americans and 20 Members of Congress to defend this historic war memorial from being torn down.
- College Football Chaplains: Before they attacked the chaplaincies of dozens of the top college football programs in the nation, accusing college football coaches of turning “playing fields into mission fields,” the FFRF attacked Clemson University. They demanded the dismissal of the chaplain and Clemson refused. The FFRF claimed an improper “commingling of religion and athletics” that raise “serious concerns about how the public university’s football program is entangled with religion.”
- “In God We Trust” on Currency: FFRF sued to remove “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency. Judge Harold Baer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the case. But the FFRF continues to target our national motto. We continue to battle these efforts, filing briefs on behalf of Members of Congress, supporting legislation, and doing anything else to fight these efforts. We fought back with a petition supported by more than 100,000 Americans to defend them against these outrageous attacks.
- Targeting the Jewish Faith – Ohio Holocaust Memorial: FFRF sent a demand letter to the State of Ohio to remove the Star of David from a proposed Holocaust memorial. The FFRF claimed that the inclusion of the Star of Davis was “exclusionary” and a “dishonor.” As we previously pointed out, “Six million Jews died in the Holocaust, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation has the unmitigated gall to say that the inclusion of the Star of David in a memorial to them is a ‘dishonor’? This Orwellian attempt to whitewash history is disgraceful.”
- Suing Presidents Bush and Obama for the National Day of Prayer: FFRF challenged the presidential proclamation for the National Day of Prayer, claiming it was offended by the proclamation. We filed a critical amicus brief in that case representing 67 members of Congress. Echoing an argument made in our brief, the appeals court concluded: “Hurt feelings differ from legal injury,” and noted that all that FFRF ultimately alleged was “disagreement with the President’s action.”
- Suing Governor Rick Perry for issuing a Prayer Proclamation in Texas: We filed a friend-of-the-court brief in federal court in Texas defending the Prayer Proclamation in Texas. The federal court agreed with our argument in support of Texas and ruled against FFRF, holding, “Whether in the official proclamation, a statement made available in print or by video on a website, or otherwise, Governor Perry has done nothing more than invite others who are willing to do so to pray. Like President Obama’s proclamation, Governor Perry’s statements are requests, not commands, and no injury flows from a mere request.”
- Cheerleaders’ Spirit Banners with Bible Verses at Pep Rallies & Football Games: While the ACLJ was not legally involved in this case, we closely monitored and reported on FFRF’s intimidation tactics, sending a threatening demand letter to a school targeting cheerleaders who put Bible verses on banners. The school gave in to the demands and the students filed suit.As we reported, “[t]he banners in question, reportedly selected by each cheerleader in turn, displayed Bible verses such as, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,’ and ‘If God is for us, who can be against us.’
- Targeting Henrico County, Virginia Board of Supervisors’ Prayer Meetings: FFRF co-founder and co-president said, “There’s no need to pray, it’s divisive, embarrassing.” What’s embarrassing is that the FFRF’s unconstitutional threats worked in this case. We were not involved in the case, but we reported on it after the fact.
One of FFRF’s quirky slogans is “Nothing fails like prayer.” The reality is nothing fails like a Freedom From Religion Foundation lawsuit. Yet, their threatening letters cause many localities to cave for fear of being forced to pay for the expense of defending against even a frivolous lawsuit.
Sadly, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is not alone. Other angry atheist groups have made bogus claims in court.
The American Atheists claimed that members experienced “dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish.” Why? Because of the Ground Zero Cross at the 9/11 Memorial museum. We filed an amicus brief in that case and the court agreed with us.
In yet another case, the American Humanist Association claimed that its members were “shocked” and “upset” that a cross could be used to honor our nation’s veterans for nearly 90 years.
The attacks continue, but as you see from the not-so-greatest hits above, FFRF and its angry atheist allies only win through fear and intimidation – when no one fights back – not in federal court.
That’s why we continue to fight back. Join us, and sign our legal letter to colleges across the nation to defend religious liberty across our great nation.
Author: Trevor Winchell
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