Posted by: Jack | February 22, 2007

Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)

Just the other day I discovered that the FFRF is based in Madison, WI and this news combined with the praise I’ve heard from numerous literary sources led me to check out their website. And now I am encouraging others (atheists and theists alike) to do so.

Now you may be asking why a theist would want to support a group like the FFRF. In theory, belief system or lack thereof should not even play a part in this decision. The question at hand is actually patriotism. Many philosophers and revolutionaries, dating at least as far back as the most famous case of Socrates’ Trial, have stood by the ideal that it is a citizen’s duty to honor all laws of his government unless a law is believed to be unjust. In the latter case it is then the citizen’s duty to disobey that law publicly and accept any and all punishments that result. In doing so, the law can be brought into question and its virtue can be either reestablished or discarded.

And now you may be asking how this pertains to the FFRF. Well if you are reading this you are most likely a citizen of the United States and as a result, the law that governs you is largely based on the Bill of Rights. And the very first phrase in the Bill of Rights is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. This phrase and the landmark decisions that have come as a result, are the basis on which the FFRF operates. Their purpose is to “protect the constitutional principal of the separation of church and state”.

So unless you are adamantly opposed to Amendment I of the Bill of Rights and are willing to do something about it, you should, at least in philosophy, support the actions of the FFRF. Or, if you believe that our country has succeeded in the separation of church and state, you are quite mistaken and need to look further into the matter. If you click on the picture of the White House on the FFRF’s homepage you can read about the supreme court case coming up at the end of this month. The issue at hand is whether or not it should be legal for taxpayers to file complaints regarding the presidential office’s use of public resources to promote religion. This is better known as the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. While on the surface this appears to be a clear violation of the 1st Amendment, it actually is not. Congress has not made a law regarding the establishment of a religion. The violation is that the law currently gives this office immunity from public complaint. This case is simply determining whether or not we, as taxpayers, have a legal right to file formal complaints about this office’s existence.

The White House’s basis for argument is that they are using funds which were allocated to them as general appropriations. Therefore it is up to them to decide how they are utilized. However, these are still public funds/servants and therefore it is up to the public to approve/disapprove of their use and as a majority of the public supports the Bill of Rights, so do they support the separation of church and state.



  1. Makin’ news in Madison…

  2. I don’t understand the logic. Seperation of church & state is nowhere in the Bill of Rights. It’s just not. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” does not say “seperation of church & state” It just doesn’t. That’s why atheist groups have not had great success. Sure they’ve had some success (especially if liberal politians are involved) but they have a problem……seperation of church and state is not in the Constitution/Bill of Rights. It’s just not.

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