09.27.15 FFRF’s Attack on Pope Francis
An open letter to Freedom from Religion Foundation
I am an atheist of Jewish heritage and an avid secularist. I have also been a supporter of FFRF.
I am writing regarding your wrong – and wrong-headed – full page ads in the Washington Post and New York Times on the occasion of the Pope’s speech to Congress:
Wrong. An invitation to a foreign dignitary and figure of worldwide respect has nothing to do with separation of church and state. (The opening of each congressional session with a prayer does, however.) Congress – and the American people – benefit from hearing the views of international leaders.
Wrong-Headed. FFRF is foolish to try to raise its profile by attacking this pope, who is beloved by the devout (of many religions) and secular across the world. Yeah, you will likely say, “We were attacking his speech to Congress, not him as a person.” But that is not the way your full-page ads will be perceived and this is all about perception. Your choice of this high-profile campaign is likely to alienate more people than it will attract and, thereby, set back the cause of secularism.
Further, I imagine your ads cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I cannot imagine that going after the pope will produce more in revenues for FFRF than the ads cost.
I cannot support an organization that does such a poor job of managing its resources, nonetheless adopts a public profile that will be so counter-productive. Fortunately, FFRF is not the only game in town. From now on, I will make an annual contribution to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, as a better steward of our cause.
©2015 Keith Berner