FFrF Radio: Jim McCollum; Archive: Kristin Lems & Philip Appleman

Podcast Link.
June 28, 2008Guest: Champion of the First Amendment: Jim McCollum

Another ode to the defeat of prayer in schools (not that I disagree on the subject) The episode featured audio segments that many long time listeners probably have heard before. If you’re new to the long history of the battle between religious believers, and those of us who cherish our secular institutions, then this is a reasonably good introduction to the subject.

This is the 60th Anniversary of McCollum vs. Board of Education. I’d like to personally thank Vashti McCollum for her years of struggle on this issue.


2007 Archive episode.
June 30, 2007Special Guest: Kristin Lems

The announcement concerning the Supreme court travesty of justice that most Americans aren’t even surprised by these days (I think they’ve gotten one case right in the last how many years?) That in Hein v. the Freedom From religion Foundation it was ruled that taxpayers do not have the right to challenge the constitutionality of expenditures by the executive branch of the government. This is a departure from historical precedent.

The audio from this video clip was played in response to the decision.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart – Decisions ’07 – 6/26/2007
Jon spins the Justice Kennedy Wheel for an update on Supreme Court decisions.

(the gag really doesn’t work without the visuals)

The only remaining remedy for us to end the office of faith based initiatives (another extra constitutional office, this one instituted by a purported conservative President. We’ve come a long way since Reagan and ending the education department, haven’t we?) is to lobby Congress to defund the office. One more activity that I’m not going to hold my breath over.

I regret to say that I had never heard of Kristin Lems before this episode. Considering that I was raised in the buckle of the bible belt that is the Great Plains region, I guess that’s to be expected. Days of the Theocracy makes the episode worth listening to by itself.

Of course, this comes from a guy who can quote large sections of Alice’s Restaurant from memory, with great pleasure.


2006 Archive episode.
July 1, 2006“Let There Be Light”

Phillip Appleman is the interviewee. Dan shows off his musical chops, setting some of Appleman’s poems to music. As the blurb on the FFrF site suggests, the Noah poem is the highlight of the episode.

FFrF Radio: Stolen Innocence; Archives: Barbara G. Walker & Julia Sweeney

Podcast Link.
June 21, 2008Guests: Elissa Wall and Sarah Braasch

California Gay Marriage news leads off the episode.

Sarah Braasch is FFrF’s new intern. She is researching prayer in the Wisconson state assembly, which is highly regulated. It’s no surprise, of course, that the representatives have been pushing the envelope of what a nonsectarian, nondenominational opening prayer is.

Elissa Wall’s story is a prime example of my oft voiced opinion that the other shoe is yet to drop when it comes to the State of Texas v. FLDS. She provides a very telling look into what the FLDS is really all about.

[Previous posts on the FLDS. The emotional reaction that I have to discussions of women’s roles within these ridiculous fundamentalist churches is almost beyond description. It always reminds me of a story idea that came to me one night. What would a society look like if women were permitted to kill any man, for any reason, from the time of birth. Maybe the average couch dwelling male would listen when the woman spoke, then. Don’t shoot the messenger, it’s just an idea]

Stolen Innocence looks like a good book (Video) I don’t think I’ll be able to read it.


2007 Archive episode.
June 23, 2007Special Guest: Author Barbara G. Walker

Theocracy Alert details yet another example of misapplication of funds within Bush’s ill-advised faith-based failure.

Barbara G. Walker‘s interview wasn’t particularly riveting (she’s no Julia Sweeney) Still, it’s very informative on the subjects that she’s knowledgeable about. The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets sounds like a book I need to put in the library.

Pagan pulpit rounds out the episode with a sermon on the christian trinity. Apparently the passage on the trinity does not appear in the ‘original’ I John 5:7, it was inserted by catholic priests in ages past (current translations do not include the passage) even if it was found in the Bible, how would you make sense of it?

So, it is declared that the Father is God, and the Son God and the Holy Ghost God, and that these three Gods make one God.

According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three times one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar, if we add two to one we have but one. Each one is equal to himself and the other two. Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity.

Robert Green Ingersoll – The Foundations of Faith


2006 Archive episode.
June 24, 2006“Letting Go of God”: Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney has been mentioned and been a guest on Freethought Radio more times than any other person. I caught “God Said Ha!” on one of the movie channels a few months ago. I set the DVR to record the program based on mentions it received on Freethought.

I didn’t find it that funny (interesting, just not LOL funny) nor did I find Pat that interesting on SNL (truthfully, I haven’t watched SNL since Aykroyd and Belushi left the show. However, the asexual characters you meet inevitably being referred to as Pat proves that her characterizations have progressed to myth status) I had already written a blurb about the impending movie back in November; So when I saw that it was once again time bring up the subject of Letting go of God, because it was time to review the older Julia Sweeney interview, I balked.

I really didn’t want to trash something I hadn’t seen or heard, but I couldn’t recommend something if I hadn’t experienced it either. So, I bit the bullet and wandered over to Audible for a download of the show (brought to my attention by another podcast I listen to) and after fighting with the DRM restrictions for a few minutes (the subject of several rants, one of the reasons I don’t generally use download sites) I finally got the file running. I’m actually glad I took the time to listen to Letting go of God before writing this, because it is a very funny audio program. Heres a video snippet from TED talks:

Looking forward to the movie now.

Oh, and as far as this episode of Freethought goes, all of the interviews with Julia are entertaining (that’s why I was willing to risk $11 and change on a download I might not have been able to use) this one is no exception.

FFrF Radio: Michael Shermer; Archives: Catherine Fahringer & Susan Jacoby

Podcast Link.
June 14, 2008Guests: Michael Shermer and Mike Smith

Mike Smith sponsored a billboard in downtown Denver. Hats off to Mike. Now we need a sponsor for I-35 in Austin. Any takers?

Confession. I had nearly given up on reviewing Freethought Radio, until I heard this episode. Michael Shermer’s book Why Darwin Matters was a CATO event which I reference whenever I get into an argument with ID supporters (there’s also the Mind of the Market event) but really, I was just impressed that Dan and Laurie reached outside of their comfortable progressive group and found someone new to talk to.

“Science progresses funeral by funeral” (anonymous observation)

The subject of Expelled was a prominent discussion point in the interview. My thoughts on that worthless film are here. Micheal Shermer’s review is here.

Another good interview.


2007 Archive episode.
June 16, 2007“Lone Star Atheism”

The episode opened with discussion of the ARIS poll and Harris Polls that show a marked decline in religious belief and attendance. I personally like the interactive features at The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. No matter how you slice it, though, there’s no arguing that the US is becoming less concerned with religion.

Which probably explains why the Southern Baptists featured in Theocracy Alert sound so concerned.

As usual, the Daily Show clip:

I actually listened to this episode a year ago because Catherine Fahringer is from Texas and I wanted to hear the views of a fellow Texan. I was surprised to hear that there was a chapter of FFrF in Texas. They certainly don’t have a web presence.

The story of the German freethinkers slaughtered by Confederate forces was news to this Texan; or that there was a memorial to them in Comfort, Texas. (separate from the Nueces Massacre “Treue der Union” Monument) Time for a freethought pilgrimage?

Dan’s Lucifer’s Lament closes out the episode.


2006 Archive episode.
June 17, 2006Secular Nation: Susan Jacoby

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

Paraphrasing Susan Jacoby; It really doesn’t matter what the beliefs of the founding fathers were, what matters was what they put in the founding documents. There is no god in the Constitution; and the ‘creator’ referenced in the Declaration is nothing more than a nod to nature as the creator.

Those of us who have been wandering around in Libertarian circles for the lat 15 years are reasonably familiar with these facts.

Now, the story of Robert Green Ingersoll (the second half of the interview) is something you wouldn’t know about unless you have been looking into the history of disbelief. You certainly wouldn’t have stumbled across his name in school in modern day America, the devout have exorcised him from the history books.

The Da Vinci Code LA Times article

The final segment gets into the part of the interview that I find most interesting. Why are you a non-believer? The varying stories of how and why a person comes to “lose faith in faith” just seem to hold my attention.

The episode finishes up with a rendition of Die Gedanken sind frei.

FFrF Radio: The Family; Archives: Michelle Goldberg & Exposing Pat Robertson

Podcast Link.
June 6, 2008Guest: Jeff Sharlett

FFRF 06/08/08

theocracy alert. Scalea’s speech. Flds statement. Polygamy in the bible.

Freethinkers alm. Richard Strauss robert Schumann cole porter

jeff sharlett spent time with “the family” the hosts of the national prayer breakfast. A veritable who’s who of washington bigwigs attend this gathering every year. but that is just the surface.


2007 Archive episode.
June 9, 2007Michelle Goldberg interview

db officiates @ a wedding as a ordinated non-believer.

theocracy alert. CNN out foxes Fox with their candidates religious forum (solidad o’brien clips? john edwards) why doesn’t hillary just admit she lives in an open marriage, and bill can seek favors from whoever he wishes? Reelection, right.

Complaint form on ffrf

jfk quote.

michelle goldburg kingdom coming salon.com insightful commentary on the rr goals and tactics. Frightening to think about.


2006 Archive episode.
June 10, 2006Onward, Christian Soldier

marion the barbarian (Pat Robertson) some of his more idiotic statements.

bill sizemore investigative reporter studying pr & his shady business dealings. From dirty deals with african dictators; to commercially marketed health aids of dubious quality that he doesn’t even own, there are few sins pr isn’t guilty of. At least he’s never been caught with a prostitute. There is that to say for him (i cringe every time I forget & leave the tv on a station that airs 700 club at night. From humanist trek to antihuman pr; who said the markets were becoming more specialized?)

freethinker blues db

tlkng snks but I’m nuts

theocracy alert heartless ann coulter texas repubs declare america is a christian nation (demonstrably untrue) const gay marriage amend defeated in congress.

FFrF Radio: Breaking the Spell; Archives: Religious History

Podcast Link.
May 31, 2008Guests: Bestselling author Prof. Daniel C. Dennett and Prof. Eric Barnes

eric barnes holman wisconsin cross the village accptd lowest bid for prop lyonsclub

theo alrt mccains pastor problems continue (parsley & hitler) leibermann & hagee now.

daniel c. Dennetts second appearance. (previous) adolescent questioning is good. Debate “is religion the greatist threat to rationality & science” (quote what follows 25:00) how far can we take religious freedom (flds) the spell that must be broekn is the spell gainst the study of religion.

I sense an undercurrent of disagreement between dennett & gaylor. Makes for interesting listening.


2007 Archive episode.
June 2, 2007Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence

kevorkian released from prison after 8 years. A prison term for helping the suffering end their suffering.

bill maher does the 700 club weather.

hector avila fighting words. Fascin disc of creatinsm teaching bible as arheist & the impact of violence in the bible.

Michelle goldburg on the rise of christian nationism.

in a dark time philip appleman by db


2006 Archive episode.
June 3, 2006Days of the Theocracy

pious ken lay qnd his belief in his innocence

laurie lipman brown is director of secular coalition of america. A secular lobby now exists. It’s sad that it’s come to this.

secular.org for e-alerts

christine lems performs “days of the theocracy”

Twain’s The War Prayer set to music by db. god-less america follows.

Gideon society ann. And bible warning labels.

freethinkers almanac. Anne royale, the first secular lobbyist

calls. Pro & con.

FFrF Radio: Geneticist Sean Carroll Archives: Janeane Garofalo & BSA

Podcast Link.
May 24, 2008Guest: Geneticist Sean Carroll

This episode kicks off with a brief history of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Theocracy Alert. Hagee, McCain & Hitler. California marriage decision, from the vantage of the Family Research Council. 1 in 8 science teachers teaching creationism on same level as evolution.

Pagan Pulpit. The Problem of Evil.

Sean Carroll is the guest, The Making of the Fittest is his book. A subject near and dear to my heart. The proof for evolution; which is also an invalidation of creationism. Dan refers to it as a genetic detective story. I think I might have to read this one.


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able, and willing?
then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
then why call him God?
Epicurus


2007 Archive episode.
May 26, 2007Special Guest: Janeane Garofalo

Theocracy Alert. How’s this?

Janeane Garofalo is the guest. Entertaining as usual. At a point in the second half of the show, Dan asks for and she grants him absolution. On a more serious note, her thoughts on fundamentalism struck a chord with me. I think she’s got it right. Right-brained need for control.

Ask an Atheist. While hostile, still the question is, the “Separation of Church and State“.


“I want to live with some degree of valor, on a daily basis. I don’t always succeed at that.” -Janeane Garofalo


2006 Archive episode.
May 27, 2006“No Hurry to Die” – Y BSA?

The first Guest is Arthur Thexton, who spoke on the Wisconsin death penalty referendum. (it appears to have had no effect, although it did pass. Narrowly)

Dan Barker performs In no Hurry to Die.

Pagan Pulpit deals with the same subject. (I’ve said this myself recently. Dead is dead, and murder is murder. Killing in cold blood, which is what execution is, is always murder)

John Scalise, the second guest, was on to discuss BSA violations of law; and his Michigan lawsuit over public school support of the Boy Scouts. A tax funded membership organization that discriminates on the basis of religion. Hard to understand how that is allowed to continue.

Dan Barker performs Y-BSA

Freethinkers Almanac. Isadora Duncan, Walt Whitman.

FFrF Radio: James Randi Archives: Parenting Beyond Belief & Richard Sloan

Podcast Link.
May 17, 2008Guests: The Amazing James Randi & Dad Complainant in FFRF’s Newest Religion-in-School Court Challenge

Thecracy Alert. Child Evangelism Fellowship is partnering with a Wisconsin public school system, targeting children as young as 4; disguising their proselytizing as a party, and giving gifts at Christmas, using school facilities without compensating taxpayers.

McCain’s pastor problems; Mother Jones magazine skewers Rod Parsley.

James Randi
is the guest.

Cruel men believe in a cruel God and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly God, and they would be kindly in any case.

Bertrand Russell

2007 Archive episode.
May 19, 2007Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion

Theocracy Alert. Tinky Winky’s critic Jerry Falwell is dead; Criticism of the idiot’s own words follows. The Hitchens vs. Sharpton debate has a segment aired (as well as Hitchen’s rather pointed comments on Jerry Falwell) including this quote;

Not until gentle Jesus meek and mild is the concept of Hell introduced.

Thank you Mr. Hitchens for hitting on the point that I find most objectionable as well.

Dale McGowan (the guest) has written Parenting Beyond Belief a guide to how to raise children in this religion drenched society. I was impressed with his devotion to this subject. If my children weren’t well on their way towards adulthood, I would probably pick up a copy of the book.

Dan Barker’s song It’s Only Natural is aired. Susan Hofer is the vocal artist. Here’s a video of the song on YouTube.

Freethinkers Almanac. Lorraine Hansberry and an audio clip from Raisin in the Sun.

As men’s prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

2006 Archive episode.
May 20, 2006Nothing Fails Like Prayer: Richard Sloan

Theocracy Alert. Guidelines allowing prayer in the name of Jesus in the military are of concern.

Richard P. Sloan is the guest (Last week, next year was his second appearance) As this was his first appearance, the discussion was much more focused on the contents of his book Blind Faith. Prayer in medicine claims are addressed (sharpshooters fallacy) Prayer studies, and their negative results.

Dan Barker performs Beware of Dogma (used as bumper music from this point forward)

Ask an Atheist addresses the myth of no atheists in foxholes? The Lake Hyapatia monument is referenced.

Freethinkers Almanac features Bertrand Russell, Lorraine Hansberry, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

FFrF Radio: Richard Sloan, Prayer as Medicine? Archive: Sonia Johnson & Mike Newdow

Podcast Link.
May 10, 2008Guest: Richard Sloan

Discussion of Dan Barker’s 64th religious debate, this one with Dinesh D’Souza. As suggested, a search of YouTube turned up this;

Discussion of a Freethought weekend in New York. This appears to be an annual event, because it’s mentioned each year about this time.

Julia Sweeney’s wedding merits a mention. I’m sure it’s on the web somewhere. In this, I’m the average guy. Weddings don’t merit a search and link effort. Sorry Julia. Congrats, though.

Freethinkers Almanac features Irving Berlin and Catherine Hepburn.

Richard P. Sloan is the guest, and his book is Blind Faith. This was his second appearance on the show, with more disturbing trends in medicine.


“I never felt the slightest interest in the next world. I think it’s here, and I think that anything good that you’re going to do, you should do for other people here, and not do anything to make yourself have a happy time in the next world.” – Catherine Hepburn

2007 Archive episode.
May 12, 2007“From Housewife to Heretic”

The episode opens with discussion of a Freethought weekend in New York.

Theocracy Alert. Pat Tillman’s mother Mary Tillman on military snobbery towards Atheists; Bill Maher on Monica Goodling and Pat Robertson’s tier 4 law school. History of Disbelief not aired in Wisconson (Austin’s KLRU aired it. I wrote and thanked them for airing it) while the program is not available on disc, there are torrents available for download if you are really curious. Content owners, this is the reason to release material on disc. Someone else will make it available if you do not.

Sonjia Johnson was excommunicated by the Mormon church for her support of the ERA. The Mormon church worked very hard behind the scenes to defeat the amendment. Sonjia Johnson is listed in Annie Laurie Gaylor’s Women Without Superstition. An entertaining interview and history lesson.

The episode wraps up with supportive phone messages.


2006 Archive episode.
May 13, 2006One Nation, Indivisible: Mike Newdow

Mike Newdow has brought two cases before the courts now, attempting to remove the phrase “under god” from the pledge. How about we just don’t pledge?

(skip Newdow’s song, that’s my advice)

Freethinker’s Almanac Features Irving Berlin, author of God Bless America (written for a play which it was later removed from) Dan sings Berlin’s Pack up Your Sins and Go To the Devil in Hades.

Anne Nicol Gaylor (Annie Laurie’s mother) was on for Mother’s Day, to talk about women’s issues and her long standing support for the Women’s Medical Fund. Dan sings Bread and Roses.

FFrF Radio: Exposing Expelled Archives: Ellery Schempp & Robin Morgan

Podcast Link.
May 3, 2008Guests: Eugenie Scott, director, National Center for Science Education: Exposing “Expelled”, & “Atheist in Foxhole” Litigant Jeremy Hall: Military Harassment Continues

Jeremy Hall leads off the episode. He has appeared on the show at least once before, but his story was first presented on Freethought Radio by Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, because Mr. Hall was unable to make his scheduled interview, being still in Iraq at the time. His story should serve as the proverbial canary in a coal mine for the rest of us.

Eugenie Scott has been on the show before as well. As the Director of NCSE, and one of the deceived participants in the film, she is almost uniquely qualified to critique the film Expelled.

How Annie Laurie Gaylor made herself sit and watch the film is beyond me. I have no interest in wasting 90 minutes of my time watching it. My thoughts on the film are here and here.


2007 Archive episode.
May 5, 2007Champion of the First Amendment

Theocracy Alert. National Day of Prayer (last week, this year, still just as offensive) Deja vu?

Ellery Schempp, through his and his families efforts, brought the case Abington vs. Schempp before the Supreme court and ended prayer in government schools. His story really is an inspiraton for all of us out here facing similar (if not as egregious) violations of state/church separation.

I found his observations about O’Hair amusing, myself.

Dan Barker performs “Nothing Fails Like Prayer”

Pagan Pulpit. Prayer in public, a violation of god’s law?


If Atheism is a religion, then baldness is a hair color.

2006 Archive episode.
May 6, 2006Fighting Words . . . Robin Morgan

Theocracy Alert. National Day of Prayer (last week, this year, still just as offensive) Dan Barker performs “Nothing Fails Like Prayer”

Freethinkers Almanac. Thomas Henry Huxley grandfather of Aldous Huxley (author of my favorite children’s book as a child The Crows of Pearblossom) George Clooney.

Pagan Pulpit Debuts. Nothing fails like Prayer (I think I see a pattern)

Robin Morgan was on to talk about her recent books The Burning Time, Fighting Words, and her long term concerns over the encroachment of religion on American government.

The episode winds up with “Atheists are People Too” (parody of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) and a discussion of the differences between growing up atheist and growing up religious (yes, Dan; sleeping in Sundays is something to be jealous about) and what effect that has on life as an adult.

FFrF Radio: John Allen Paulos Archive: First Episode Aired

Podcast Link.
April 26, 2008Guest: John Allen Paulos

Theocracy Alert; National Day of Prayer, National Prayer Breakfast.

Nothing Fails like Prayer.

Segment from Room With a View on Masterpiece. Phone calls.

John Allen Paulos, Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up. Complexity developing from simple rules; the market, for example. A free marketeer should, by default, accept evolution as valid.

It goes on from there. A very good interview.


2007 Archive episode.
April 28, 2007Special Guest: Author Rob Boston

First anniversary Episode.

Theocracy Alert features Jay Sekulow (fast talker. With all the baggage that entails) and Annie Laurie Gaylor on The O’Reilly Factor.

Rob Boston is the guest. Not only a writer, he represents a ‘competing’ separation of church and state group. His group has been part of several cases (two in Texas that he talked about, as well as the Dover case and the Prison Fellowship case) before the court concerning religion’s intrusion into government.

Piety & Politics Reverend Barry W. Lynn.
Why the Religious Right is Wrong About Separation of Church and State

Freethinker’s Almanac finishes out the episode; Edward Gibbon, Mary Wollstonecraft and US Grant.



2006 Archive episode.
April 29, 2006Somewhere Over the Rainbow . . . Rhymes for the Irreverent

This is the first episode of Freethought Radio that was broadcast at The Mic 92.1. Thanks to whoever it was at “Madison’s Progressive Talk” that thought to put this show on the air.

Theocracy Alert (before they started calling it that) Concerns the VA establishment of a spiritual/faith assessment as part of it’s health care practices. Religious belief has nothing to do with faith, no matter what Christian Scientists say otherwise. FFrF is suing over this practice.

Yip Harburg’s son Ernie is the first guest. Somewhere Over the Rainbow is one of my favorite showtunes, written by Yip Harburg. It was the right way to start the archives (and the program) to start with a show featuring well-known American icons like the songs for The Wizard of Oz, written by an almost unknown composer who was also a freethinker.

Rhymes for the Irreverent. Chad Mitchell Trio.

The second guest Penny Edgell conducted a study concerning the acceptance of various groups within the American society. Not surprisingly, Atheists finished last. (PDF of study)