by Zenaido Quintana
I am pleased to introduce our new website for FFRF-Valley of the Sun Chapter. Start-up of our chapter was completed in August after more than a year’s preparation which included pre-launch events featuring separate visits from FFRF co-President, Dan Barker and FFRF Director of Strategic Response, Andrew Seidel. Your response at those events was enthusiastic and encouraging so we completed arrangements for our chapter by applying for the IRS determination letter that allows for the deduction of donations to FFRF-VS from taxable income. Now that everything is in place, we are initiating our program to provide information on non-theistic and secular topics to help counter the faith-based misinformation that permeates our lives. The topics, dates, times and locations for these program events will be announced and publicized on this website and through our Meet Up announcements and social media.
Our program will feature events, presentations, articles, and blogs focused on informing you of topical issues that affect our lives and information on how to support or oppose them, as appropriate. We will use materials and media generated by FFRF, when appropriate, and provide original content to spotlight local initiatives.
Since its beginning in Wisconsin in 1976, the FFRF has grown to include over 30,000 members throughout the US and increasingly, beyond our shores. It has grown by highlighting the benefits of embracing the reality of our existence and exposing the detrimental effects of persisting in adhering to fallacious superstitions. It has also exposed the errors, hypocrisy and malfeasance of clergy, destroying the myth of clerical moral authority. As the nation’s fifth largest city, and its largest capital city, Phoenix deserves, and now has, its own local chapter of FFRF.
While our program is dedicated to education and public information, as appropriate to our 501(c)3 status, like our National organization, a member of Secular Coalition for America, FFRF-Valley of the Sun Chapter is liaised with Secular Coalition for Arizona (Secular AZ). Since 2010 Secular AZ, a 501(c)4 political activism organization, has been the nation’s only state-level organization fully dedicated to lobbying in support of non-theism and secular public policies. We encourage our members and supporters who want to participate in political activism within our state to join and support the work of Secular AZ, it truly benefits all Arizonans.
In 2016, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released its latest polls showing that “unaffiliated” or “Nones” had become the largest “religion” in the US, surpassing Catholicism and for the first time, Evangelical Christians. Most importantly, the trend lines for this unaffiliated group are climbing steeply, while all major religions are on a downward slope. Adherents of religious groups are quick to draw on facile and fanciful explanations for this phenomenon, but the fact remains that Americans are abandoning organized religion in ever-growing numbers. FFRF-VS is pleased to join the growing number of organizations in Arizona to offer fact-based alternatives to organized faith and to work towards a state government that understands and supports our rights to public policies that do not provide misguided privileges to religious organizations or adopts laws that force restrictions on the rights of Arizonans who do not share faith-based beliefs.
Please join our initiative to educate Arizonans on the true facts of life and help reverse the faith-based track that our leaders and their religious allies have gotten us on. Your feedback, suggestions, and active participation will help us increase our influence and accelerate the long overdue changes we seek. Join FFRF now, your help will make a difference.