Freedom From Religion Foundation
Abbreviation FFRF
Formation 1978
Type non-profit
Legal status foundation
Purpose/focus humanist, atheist
Headquarters Madison, Wisconsin
Region served Template:Flag
Membership 13,000 members[1]
Official languages English
Key people Dan Barker, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Anne Nicol Gaylor

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is an American freethought organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. Its purposes, as stated in its bylaws, are to promote the separation of church and state and to educate the public on matters relating to atheism, agnosticism and nontheism. The FFRF publishes Freethought Today, the only freethought newspaper in North America. The organization pursues public-interest lawsuits and engages in public debates to further its goals. Since 2006, the Foundation has produced the Freethought Radio show, currently the only national freethought radio broadcast in the United States.


The FFRF was co-founded by Anne Nicol Gaylor and her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, in 1976 and was incorporated nationally in 1978.[2] It is supported by over 13,000 members.[1] It is operated from an 1855-era building in Madison, Wisconsin that was once a church rectory. The organization has a minimum annual membership fee of $40. According to the 2007 IRS tax Form-990 found on, the foundation has a fund balance of over $5.5 million (US) and received over $581,000 (US) in membership dues. The foundation uses this money primarily to pay legal fees in cases supporting the separation of church and state that involve governmental entities, but it also has a paid staff of four, distributes advertisements and sends out news publications to members.[2]

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, is the author of Women Without Superstition: No Gods - No Masters (ISBN 1-877733-09-1) and edits the FFRF newspaper Freethought Today. Her husband, Dan Barker, author of Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (ISBN 1-877733-07-5) is a musician and songwriter, a former Pentecostal Christian minister, and co-president of the FFRF.

On October 12, 2007, the Freedom From Religion Foundation began its three-day annual conference. Speakers included Christopher Hitchens, Katha Pollitt, Julia Sweeney, Ellery Schempp, and Matthew LaClair. The event, held in Madison, Wisconsin, marked the foundation's 30th annual conference and was attended by over 650 members.



  • FFRF v. Indiana Family & Social Services - May 2, 2007 challenge of the creation of a chaplaincy for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). The FSSA hired Pastor Michael L. Latham, a Baptist minister, in 2006, at a salary of $60,000 a year. In September 2007, in response to FFRF's suit, Indiana ended the program.[3]
  • Overturning a state Good Friday holiday - plaintiffs included Foundation staff and state employees
  • Winning a lawsuit barring direct taxpayer subsidy of religious schools
  • Removing Ten Commandments monuments and crosses from public land
  • Ending the U.S. Post Office's issuing of religious postage cancellations
  • Ending certain types of Bible instruction in public schools[4][5] (objective historical analysis of the Biblical texts is legal, but it is illegal to present religious beliefs as viable or true).


  • Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation - A case before the Supreme Court over taxpayer standing to challenge White House faith-based programs. (defeated in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling)
  • Challenged a Congressional proclamation calling 1983 "The Year of the Bible" (dismissed as moot)
  • Challenged a Ten Commandments monument in a public park in La Crosse, Wisconsin (dismissed)
  • Filed a federal lawsuit to stop the building of a chapel at the Illinois statehouse (lost in appeals court)
  • Went to Colorado state court to remove a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds in Denver (lost in State Supreme Court)
  • Challenged "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency in Colorado (lost in 10th Circuit Court)
  • Tried to block the state of Wisconsin from granting $100,000 to assist building a center at St. Norbert Catholic College, DePere, Wisconsin (lost in appeals court)
  • Challenged a lighted nativity scene in a public park in Waunakee, Wisconsin (lost in Wisconsin Supreme Court)
  • Sued over the removal of its banner, "State/Church: Keep Them Separate," from the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol (lost in federal court)
  • Went to federal court in Missouri to sue over the phrase "So help me, God" on tax forms (case was dismissed, then was lost after refiling). [6]

FFRF Billboard

Pending litigation

State Capitol signs


Wisconsin State Capitol

The FFRF maintains a sign in the Wisconsin State Capitol during the Christmas season, which reads:[9]

At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail.

There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.

There is only our natural world.

Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

Washington State Capitol

A plaque with the same text as the Wisconsin State Capitol sign was displayed for the 2008 Christmas season at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington, next to a nativity scene.[10][11] The sign was stolen and then later found and returned to the state capitol.[12] The addition of the sign incited a large number of individuals and groups to request other additions, such as a Festivus pole[13], a request by the Westboro Baptist Church for a sign stating "Santa Claus will take you to hell" (among other things)[14], a sign paying homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster [14], and many others. The sudden influx of requests led Catholic League president Bill Donohue to weigh in harshly[15], and has led many to call for a removal of all religious material whatsoever in the state capitol.

Illinois State Capitol

On December 23, 2009, conservative activist and candidate for Illinois Comptroller, William J. Kelly, attempted to remove a FfRF sign at a holiday display.[16]

Freethought Radio

Called the "only weekly Freethought radio broadcast anywhere", Freethought Radio on The Mic 92.1 FM is live every Saturday from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. CDT in Madison, Wisconsin. It also appears on Air America. It is hosted by the co-presidents of FFRF, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. A podcast archive is also available at the FFRF website. Regular features include "Theocracy Alert" and "Freethinkers Almanac". The latter highlights historic freethinkers, many of whom are also songwriters. The show's intro and outro makes use of John Lennon's "Imagine", which is notable for its antireligious theme.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. - Front page". Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Atheists' Calling". Wisconsin State Journal. 2007-02-25. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  3. Indiana, Faced With Suit, Takes Chaplain Off Payroll - New York Times
  4. Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc
  5. Legal Complaing, Doe v. Porter, 1:01-CV-115, Tennessee, April 26, 2001
  6. Legal Accomplishments
  7., Atheist group sues Bush over national prayer day
  8., Atheist group sues Bush over national prayer day
  9. Wisconsin State Capital Sign,
  10. Woodward, Curt (2008-12-01). "Atheist sign joins nativity scene, tree at Capitol". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  11. Tu, Janet (2008-12-02). "Nonbelievers' sign at Capitol counters Nativity". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  12. "Missing Atheist Sign Found in Washington State". CNN. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  13. "Coming to Capitol: 'Festivus' display". Komo News. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Controversial Kansas group wants Olympia display". Spokesman Review. 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  15. "Hate Group Wants Anti-Christmas Sign; Washington Gov. Must Decide". Catholic League. 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 

External links

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