Yesterday, I happened on the FFRF website and clicked on the ‘about’ tab. I was amazed to read the following:
The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women’s right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery. The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.
How can an organization such as this make such incorrect statements? And they actually believe them.
“…that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion?” Give me a break. Let’s look at the examples they give:
Prison Reform – From the Encyclopedia of American Prisons: Louis Dwight: “Louis Dwight first intended to join the ministry, but an accident damaged his lungs and he was forced to do something other than sermonizing. He toured the countryside distributing Bibles to prison inmates [free from religion?] and was appalled at the conditions he found. He discovered that convicted criminals and the most innocent of persons were treated with horrific callousness.” – (http://www.fofweb.com/History/MainPrintPage.asp?iPin=EAPR0083&DataType=AmericanHistory&WinType=Free)
Humane treatment of the mentally ill – Dorthea Dix: “When she taught school in Grandmother Dix’s home, she would rise at 4:00 A.M. in the summer, read the Bible for an hour, [free from religion?] prepare her lessons then do the work of the day.” -(http://www.uuquincy.org/projects/stamps/7dorotheadix.htm)
Abolition of capital punishment – Benjamin Rush: “who advocated Christianity [free from religion?] in public life and in education, and sometimes compared himself to the prophet Jeremiah,” – (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Rush)
Women’s right to vote – Susan B. Anthony – “proud of her Quaker roots, [free from religion?] continued to describe herself as a Quaker” – (http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/resources/quizzes/quiz-answers-1/)
Death with dignity for the terminally ill (suicide) – Ok, I’ll give the Godless this one. No religious person would advocate for suicide.
The right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion – This one confuses me. While I agree that the Godless group are the one’s advocating for the right to kill an unborn child, I didn’t know that there had ever been a time when a person could not choose contraception or sterilization if they did not wish to have a child. According to Wikipedia, condoms have been around since at least 1642
First to call for an end to slavery – see Women’s right to vote
As you can see here, the FFRF is certainly not accurate the above statement, but further reading shows they actually twist the truth in numerous areas. I would warn everyone to be very leery of this group and do your due research before taking anything they say at face value.