A weekly show, broadcast live from Madison, Wis., on 92.1 FM, Saturdays 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Hosted by Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-presidents, Freedom From Religion Foundation. Slightly irreverent views, news, music and interviews.
Listeners of Freethought Radio that love the show mention: separation of church and state, freethought radio, gaylor, freethinkers, keep up the important, theocracy, barker, richard dawkins, wonderful source, laurie, first amendment, humanism, annie, atheists, dogma, atheism, dan's, hatred, fighting the good fight, secular.
GUEST: Linda Greenhouse. This week we focus on recent bad Supreme Court decisions attacking women's rights and the separation of church and state. FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott explains the confusing Bremerton case allowing a high-school coach to pray with students. Then we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and Supreme Court observer Linda Greenhouse about the demise of Roe (overturning the right to abortion) and her recent New York Times article “Requiem for the Supreme Court.”
FFRF attorney Sam Grover helps us dissect the disappointing Carson v. Makin decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that now allows public tax dollars to directly fund religious education. Then we hear from four winners of FFRF's David Hudak Memorial student essay contest for Black, Indigenous and People of Color: Galilea Baca (1st-place, pictured), Fadima Tall, Tylinn Wilson and Everett Viego. Then the new student scholar for FFRF and Secular Students of America Sami Al Asadi explains how he became an atheist and an activist.
Guest: Maryam Namazie. Abortion, politicians blaming gun violence on godlessness, secular billboards and the growth of support for state/church separation are among the news topics we discuss this week. After listening to a sneak preview of the new "Godless Gospel" songs, we speak with Iranian-born ex-Muslim activist Maryam Namazie about the international "Celebrate Dissent" conference she is organizing, which will take place in August in Cologne, Germany.
Guest: Jay Wexler. FFRF tells San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone that it was a "grave evil" to deny Nancy Pelosi communion. There is a new freethinking miniseries on Hulu. FFRF complains about pious pandering politicians. After hearing George Hrab's song about "thoughts and prayers" titled "The Least That You Can Do," we listen to Boston Law Professor Jay Wexler talk about his book Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Pagans, and Others are Demanding Their Rightful Place in Public Life.
Guest: Christopher Cameron. After mourning the tragic school massacre in Texas, we point out the ineffectiveness of "thoughts and prayers" and denounce politicians who blame the violence on godlessness. We hear singer/songwriter Roy Zimmerman satirize “thoughts and prayers” in his song “"To the Victims of This Tragedy." Then professor and author Christopher Cameron describes the rich history of African American Freethought.
Guests: Amit Pal & Dan Barker. With FFRF Communications Director Amit Pal as the substitute host, we discuss the dismal news on the reproductive rights front, including the draconian Oklahoma abortion ban. We highlight our last TV show of the season — a special on-site visit with freethinking sculptor Zenos Frudakis — and spotlight our national convention to be held in San Antonio in late October. We listen to a blasphemous Irving Berlin song. And then we hear FFRF Co-President Dan Barker debate a Christian apologist on the compelling question: “Does God Exist?”
Guest: Samuel L. Perry. We announce two victories in federal lawsuits this week stopping city council prayer and religious instruction in West Virginia schools. We talk about Alito's leaked abortion decision. The popular actor Jon Huertas tells us why he is a nontheist. In light of the tragic massacre in Buffalo, we speak with Professor Samuel L. Perry about his new book (with co-author Philip Gorski), The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.
Guest: Sasha Sagan. It's Mayday for women's rights. We talk about state/church and women's issues in Idaho, Arkansas, New Jersey and Arizona, and announce our full-page ad in the New York Times. After listening to philosopher Bertrand Russell (on the sesquicentennial of his birth) tell us why he was not a Christian, we hear Sasha Sagan, daughter of astronomer Carl Sagan and author Ann Druyan, tell us why the beauty of science is more awesome than religion.
Guest: Ed Sorel. Instead of honoring the unconstitutional National Day of Prayer, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Learn what you can do to resist the imminent religiously motivated overthrow of Roe v. Wade. Then, we speak with 93-year-old irreverent cartoonist, illustrator and caricaturist Ed Sorel — whose satiric artwork has graced magazine covers and newspapers for many decades — about his new lavish memoir Profusely Illustrated.
Guest: Phil Zuckerman. After reporting on victories and challenges regarding governmental prayer, we parse the Supreme Court oral arguments in the case involving a praying high-school football coach. Then we hear sociologist and author Phil Zuckerman, a pioneer in secular studies, making the case for why secular Americans, as a group, are more moral than religious Americans.
Guest: Clement Hiel. After reporting on national state/church news, we hear freethinker Barbra Streisand sing the song “Smile," written by the freethinking Charlie Chaplin. Then we speak with NASA scientist Clement Hiel about his alma mater, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels), which was founded as a direct challenge to the Catholic Church. The school's motto is "Science Conquers Darkness."
Guests: Sam Grover; Ian Millhiser. After we report on national state/church news, FFRF attorney Sam Grover joins us to talk about the oral arguments he gave last week before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in our lawsuit challenging a Texas judge who opens sessions with a prayer. Then we speak with journalist and author Ian Millhiser about his new book The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court is Reshaping America.
Guests: Patrick Elliott; Ryan Jayne; Barbara Alvarez. After reporting on state/church news, we talk with a trio of FFRF staff members. FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott describes our friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court about a praying high-school coach. Strategic Response Attorney Ryan Jayne tells us about the many bad state bills dealing with LGBTQ rights. And Contributing Writer Barbara Alvarez updates us on the good and (mostly) bad religiously motivated state bills dealing with abortion.
Guests: Chris Line; Ann Druyan. After we report on national and regional news, FFRF attorney Chris Line updates us on the many state/church complaints and victories he has been handling around the country. Then we hear author, educator and Emmy-winning producer of the "Cosmos" TV series Ann Druyan (along with her daughter Sasha Sagan) as she accepts FFRF's "Emperor Has No Clothes" award.
Guest: Jeremy Schipper. Religion at Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing. State/church complaints in Colorado, Virginia and Tennessee. Jazz musicians Tahira Clayton and Addison Frei perform freethinker Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You." Then Professor of Religion Jeremy Schipper describes how the bible was used in both sides of the slavery/anti-slavery debates in his new book, Denmark Vesey's Bible: The Thwarted Revolt that Put Slavery and Scripture on Trial.
Guest: Steven Pinker Spring is here, and state/church violations are bursting out all over. We report on violations in Ohio, Colorado, West Virginia and Indiana, and ask Idaho's governor not to sign a draconian anti-abortion bill. After hearing Audra McDonald sing the evocative "Spring is Here" by freethinking composer Richard Rodgers, we listen to Harvard Professor Steven Pinker at FFRF's convention in Boston describing his new book, Rationality: What It Is — Why It Is Scarce — Why It Matters.
Guest: Alice Greczyn. FFRF attorney Sam Grover updates us on the oral arguments in our "Do mess with Texas" lawsuit before the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging Gov. Greg Abbott's censorship of our Bill of Rights nativity display at the state Capitol. Then the actress and author Alice Greczyn offers a scientific explanation for ecstatic religious experiences, which she describes in her talk: "Drunk, High and Hypnotized: How Neurotheology Healed My Religious Trauma."
This week, we comment on President Biden's State of the Union address as it relates to state/church separation, abortion, and LGBTQ+ rights. We hear Dan Barker's performance of the feminist anthem "Bread and Roses." Then we speak with journalist and author Katherine Stewart about her powerful cautionary column in the Sunday New York Times: "Why was a Catholic hospital willing to gamble with my life?"
Guest: Andrew Copson. FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott explains FFRF's newest federal lawsuit involving students who walked out of a Huntington, W.Va., high school protesting religious services on campus during school time. Then we speak with the Chief Executive of Humanists UK, Andrew Copson, about the new book he co-authored with Alice Roberts called The Little Book of Humanism: Universal Lessons on Finding Purpose, Meaning and Joy.
Guest: Mark Dann. After reporting on state/church complaints and victories in Michigan, Tennessee, Florida and Indiana, we hear two versions of Dan Barker's song "Beware of Dogma": one by Dan and the other by Brazilian singer Sandra Belé. Then we speak with FFRF's Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann about his work in Washington, D.C., to lobby for a secular government, science and reason.
Guests: Cynthia McDonald and Andrew Seidel. FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel announces the new major report by FFRF and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty called "Christian Nationalism and the January 6, 2021, Insurrection." Then activist and podcaster Cynthia McDonald tells us about her comprehensive article about the secular case for reparations: "Black economic justice from an atheist's view."
Guest: Larry Shapiro. President Biden should not have attended today's divisive National Prayer Breakfast. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin tells us why it is important to memorialize America's "forgotten Founder" Thomas Paine. Then we speak with philosopher Lawrence Shapiro about his new book (co-written with Steven Nadler): When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us From Ourselves.
Guests: Margaret Downey and Gary Berton. We talk about the need to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Breyer with a proponent of state/church separation. After hearing Dan Barker's tribute to Thomas Paine, "The World Is My Country," we talk with two Paine experts: Margaret Downey, president of the new Thomas Paine Memorial Association, and Gary Berton, president of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, about the drive to erect a statue to the "forgotten founder" in Washington DC.
The Supreme Court has recently taken a number of troubling cases dealing with religion. FFRF's Legal Director Rebecca Markert joins us to talk about the Supreme Court oral arguments in a case about the city of Boston being forced to fly the Christian flag. Then we speak with atheist bible Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou about her new book God: An Anatomy.
After reporting on national and local state/church news, we hear singer/songwriter Shelley Segal's feminist song "Eve" from her Atheist Album. Then we listen to Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist and Supreme-Court observer Linda Greenhouse's "Cheesecake, anyone?" remarks as she accepts FFRF's "Clarence Darrow" award recognizing excellence in journalism about state/church separation.
We mark the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection by hearing FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel describe the Christian Nationalism of the rioters. Representative Don Beyer (VA) explains why he is a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus and we hear Representative Jamie Raskin (MD) stressing the need to talk about fascism. Then we talk with former evangelical minister and Christian apologist, John W. Loftus, about his new anthology God and Horrendous Suffering.
We listen to part of the interview that Annie Laurie Gaylor did with Gloria Steinem at FFRF's Boston convention. We see out the old year by remembering and honoring freethinkers who have left us in 2021. Then we welcome the new year by listening to some freethought songs that respond to the events of last year—some irreverent, some funny, some cautionary, and some optimistic songs that hope for better days in 2022.
After news about "ominous omicron," secular Solstice displays and a state/church victory, we celebrate the real reason for the season — the Winter Solstice — by hearing some fun irreverent Christmas songs by Tom Lehrer, Roy Zimmerman, Addison Frei, Tahira Clayton, Ken Lonnquist, and Susan Hofer, ending with Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun."
FFRF's Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez tells us why abortion is a state/church issue that should concern all freethinkers. We remember Tom Flynn of the Council for Secular Humanism, who died this year, by hearing the 2006 interview he did for us about his book The Trouble With Christmas. Then we listen to Winter Solstice songs by Dan Barker and Kristin Lems.
FFRF's Legal Fellow Karen Heineman, an attorney and a veterinarian, tells us why Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is wrong to claim he was “immunized” when he took ivermectin, a medication commonly used as an animal dewormer. She also explains herd immunity. Then Freethought Radio co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor parse the highlights and lowlights (and religious implications) of the recent Supreme Court oral arguments in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization about the Mississippi law that bans abortion.
We talk about the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Mississippi abortion law case, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor's eloquent plea for women over religious doctrine. Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez reads the poignant letter she has written to Sotomayor. Then we speak with Willie O. Cartwright about his new book, From Saved to Sane: My Journey Away from Christianity and Why Christianity Has Been Detrimental to the African American Community.
The comedian Steve Martin has said: "Atheists don't got no songs." That is funny, but untrue. As a change of pace this Thanksgiving week, FFRF's audio engineer and announcer Buzz Kemper hosts and DJs a show of historic and contemporary freethought songs from the three albums produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation: "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist," "Beware of Dogma" and "Adrift on a Star."
Two Freethought Radio audio engineers, Buzz Kemper and Grant Blaschka, play sound-tag as we interview each of them in turn about how and why they left (respectively) Catholicism and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Then we hear actress, comedian and atheist Julia Sweeney interview actor and "blacktino" atheist Jon Huertas in their entertaining contribution to the 2021 Secular Day of the Dead celebration.
Religious governors, judges, members of Congress and high-school coaches are running roughshod over the Constitution. We complain about the nefarious National Prayer Breakfast by hearing Dan Barker's song "Nothing Fails Like Prayer." Then we talk with Princeton anthropologist and primatologist Agustín Fuentes, author of Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being.
FFRF's Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel describes the letter written by the Congressional Freethought Caucus to the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection complaining about the deceptive and dangerous Health Care Sharing Ministries. Then we speak with Bart Worden, executive director of the American Ethical Union, about the nontheistic religion of Ethical Culture Societies.
A lot of "scary” news for Halloween. FFRF fights state/church violations and educates Christian nationalists around the country. FFRF attorney Liz Cavell describes FFRF's new report about Florida, “Casting Light: The Sunshine State's Problem of Religion in Public Schools.” Then we speak with Pulitzer-Prize-winning court reporter Linda Greenhouse about her new book, Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court.
The ultra-conservative Roberts Supreme Court is a serious threat to equality, fairness, and the rights of women, LGBTQ and non-Christians. To discuss how we can preserve state/church separation and advance progressive views, we speak with law Professor Stephen M. Feldman about his book Pack the Court! A Defense of Supreme Court Expansion.
We need a vaccine to keep religion from infecting government. After reporting FFRF victories and complaints, we call for putting our trust in science and for vaccine mandates. We hear Roy Zimmerman's irreverent song, "I Want a Marriage Like They Had in the Bible." Then we speak with Debbie Allen, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, which lobbies to keep state and church separate.
Football baptisms, the North Carolina lieutenant governor's intolerance and billboards for Rev. Joel Osteen are among the state/church news this week. FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert tells us about the Supreme Court taking a case over a Christian flag in Boston. Then Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez gives us the good news and the bad news about abortion rights in America.
Happy Blasphemy Day! Religion & abortion, religion & capital punishment, and religion & Covid-19 are among our topics today. FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne joins us to talk about the friend-of-the-court brief we recently filed with the Supreme Court dealing with the death penalty. Then we speak with Cheryl Abram, author of the book Firing God, about how she took a "leap of doubt" to escape the oppressiveness of religion.
This week, we talk about the religious attack on abortion rights. FFRF attorney Liz Cavell explains FFRF's friend-of-the court brief we filed at the U.S. Supreme Court challenging Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. Then we talk with Mandisa Thomas, founder and president of Black Nonbelievers about the "Women of Color Beyond Belief” conference in Chicago.
We celebrate Constitution Day by listening to a song, “We, The People,” written and performed in the U.S. Constitution's honor by FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. We spotlight FFRF's recent multimedia efforts, including a new Ron Reagan TV spot, a full-page New York Times ad and a billboard campaign in Nashville aimed at megapreachers. Then, FFRF Communications Director Amit Pal speaks with Professor and India scholar Christophe Jaffrelot about his new book, Modi's India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy.
A special sister/brother treat! Charlotte Dennett discusses her book The Crash of Flight 3804: A Lost Spy, a Daughter's Quest, and the Deadly Politics of the Great Game for Oil (Foreword by brother Daniel C. Dennett) about the mysterious 1947 death of their father Daniel C. Dennett II when he was an American spy in the Middle East. Then we talk with her brother, the atheist philosopher Daniel C. Dennett III, about his new book Just Deserts: Debating Free Will.
After the horrible Supreme Court decision upholding an abortion ban, we say "DO mess with Texas." We honor the memory of actor Ed Asner and hear folksinger Kristin Lems perform her classic cautionary song "Days of the Theocracy." Then we listen to a retrospective of Freethought Matters TV guests, including Ron Reagan, John Davidson, Cecile Richards, Ann Druyan, Julia Sweeney, Daniel C. Dennett, two members of Congress, and others.
Covid, Afghanistan and court reform are among this week's topics. We hear from the winners of FFRF's "First in the Family" Freethought Tuition Relief for students of color (selected by Black Skeptics Los Angeles). Then FFRF's Director of Communication Amit Pal joins as we talk with Professor Benjamin Cowan about his new book Moral Majorities across the Americas: Brazil, the United States. and the Creation of the Religious Right.
We begin by criticizing anti-science resistance to vaccinations and masking. After reporting an FFRF state/church victory in Florida, stopping a high-school baseball coach from praying with students, we hear the 1986 rock song "Dear God" by atheist Andy Partridge. Then we speak with Professor and author Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, an expert on the Middle East and South Asia, about what is happening with the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
We are still fighting religious resistance to vaccinations. FFRF attorney Liz Cavell tells us about FFRF's new "Prayer Walk Report" describing how some public schools are unconstitutionally inviting or allowing "prayer warriors" to invade the campus. Then former African imam Mohamed Cisse tells us why he left Islam and is now a board member of the secular Clergy Project.
Masks, vaccinations and religion. After reporting FFRF legal complaints and victories, we celebrate the birthdate of 19th-century freethinker Robert G. Ingersoll by listening to his voice on an early 1890s Edison cylinder and hearing the song "The Time To Be Happy Is Now," which is based on Ingersoll's creed. Then we speak with former minister Candace Gorham, a licensed mental health counselor, about her new book Death, Dying, and Disbelief.
We discuss the Christian nationalism behind the Jan. 6 insurrection and call for increased vaccination. After reporting state/church news and hearing the song "Just Say NO To Religion," we speak with Lon Ostrander, a former Wesleyan minister who is now president of The Clergy Project, which helps ministers and priests who no longer believe to leave the pulpit.
After listening to state/church news and decrying the religious anti-vaxxers, we hear Shelley Segal's song "I Don't Believe in Fairies" from her "Atheist Album." Then we talk with cognitive psychologist, linguist and author Steven Pinker (FFRF's Honorary Chair) about his book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Humanism, Science, and Progress.
Proselytizing deputies, anti-abortion lawmakers, sexual predators, praying judges — FFRF is fighting them. After hearing irreverent humor from the comedians Robin Williams and Phyllis Diller, we talk with Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, about the organization's new unprecedented county-by-county "2020 Census on Religion in America" showing that while religion is shrinking, the nonreligious percentage is holding steady.