The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has Alabama in its crosshairs. But that’s nothing new, for the organization has been filing scurrilous lawsuits against the state and its institutions over the past few years.
"Jefferson County Schools have agreed to stop opening high school football games with prayers broadcast over the public address loudspeakers, according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which complained about the practice at Gardendale High School and Pinson Valley High School.
Freedom From Religion Foundation staff attorney Chris Line sent a letter to Jefferson County School District calling it ‘inappropriate and unconstitutional’ to have prayers over the public address system at public school football games."
This is what these types of organizations do: drip, drip, drip until they achieve erosion.
Having made an inroad into community high schools, FFRF is setting its sights on Alabama’s universities, and the Sept. 12 “Unite Auburn” event presented FFRF with its next opportunity.
As 1819 News reported, thousands of people of all ages, colors, and creeds packed Neville Arena to worship and hear featured speakers. Following the event’s conclusion, people adjourned to Auburn's Red Barn where 200 people were baptized.
Auburn’s top three coaches promoted and participated in the event, so FFRF specifically targeted the coaches, demanding they be fired. WSFA 12 News explains:
"Several coaches are in hot water with a national nonprofit organization days after taking part in a cold water baptism event that saw hundreds of Auburn University students dedicate their lives to Christ.
On Thursday, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation issued a warning to Auburn head football coach Hugh Freeze and others against athlete baptisms, saying their employer is a public university, not a religious institution, and that such actions are violations … of the U.S. Constitution.
Auburn University confirmed Friday it had received a letter from the foundation and that it was evaluating it, though it had no additional comment."
FFRF started over 40 years ago as a mother-daughter duo. In an article dripping with pride, FFRF co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor gives a window into the mindset of people who choose this type of work. These types of people hate God, religion, creation, and any display of it in the public square, blaming religion for all the world’s ills.
Gaylor also alludes to the fact that her mother made her mark in the abortion rights movement in the early 1970s, aligning with NARAL to see Roe v. Wade instituted. This woman decided that religion was the reason why women did not have this right, and she wanted to see religion in government torn down:
“We saw clearly that the only organized opposition to reproductive rights was religious. Abortion law reform came swiftly, but we’d learned a lesson we’d never forget: We must not allow religious doctrine or dogma to hold sway over our civil laws.
As Anne wrote in, ‘Free From Religion’ (from Lead Us Not Into Penn Station):
‘In working for women’s rights, I fought in a battle that would never end, because the root cause of the denial of those rights was religion and its control over government. Unless religion is kept in its place, all personal rights will be in jeopardy.
‘To be free from religion is an advantage for individuals; it is a necessity for government.’"
FFRF must be apoplectic over the now 14-month-old U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe. The ruling had nothing to do with religion, the justices simply interpreted the Constitution properly and surmised that it did not include any right to abortion; so they sent it back to the people and their state governments to decide.
What the Constitution does guarantee is freedom to worship as one chooses. Despite challenges brought by institutions and individuals, the U.S. Supreme Court has, largely upheld this religious right.
Alabama’s communities weave the threads of faith into the fabric of public life and are committed to upholding life in every form, which is probably why FFRF is working overtime to tear down these expressions brick-by-brick. It makes perfect sense once the foundation and focus of FFRF is revealed.
Marxist organizations like this one are using any means necessary to embed themselves in family and faith communities in order to erode traditional values and community structures. They hope to destroy the houses of worship and blunt their impact and reach.
The current battle over the poison and pornography injected into Alabama’s public libraries is also part of this. The American Library Association, with what appears to be willing complicity from the director of Alabama Public Library Service, are working overtime to indoctrinate children with this inappropriate material, but parents and community members are fighting back.
One of the reasons many people of faith move to Alabama is its tapestry of faith, family, and freedom to worship as one chooses, and to do so unapologetically. To have the right to display and incorporate one’s faith in everyday life is a rare privilege that gets rarer by the day. Nothing is perfect, and yes there are problematic faith systems in the world that have done damage to people in the name of God. However, when you look at cohesiveness, order, wholesomeness, and people pursuing a purpose beyond themselves, you usually find it within the halls of worship, not at a protest or a BLM rally.
U.S. Sen. Katie Britt said it well: “Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.”
Make no mistake, FFRF has targeted Alabama and will not stop until they succeed in upending the practices of faith that many of us hold dear. Let’s support Gov. Kay Ivey, the coaches, and others who are doing their part to push back on this organization and its destructive tactics.
Jennifer Oliver O'Connell, As the Girl Turns, is an investigative journalist, author, opinion analyst, and contributor to 1819 News, Redstate, and other publications. Jennifer writes on Politics and Pop Culture, with occasional detours into Reinvention, Yoga, and Food. You can read more about Jennifer's world at her As the Girl Turns website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].
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