William A. Donohue
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a relationship between the views of atheist leaders and sexuality, but upon closer inspection, there clearly is. In so many cases, the hatred of religion that marks atheist activists is integral to their love of sexual libertinism. Indeed, the former abets the latter.
The nation’s greatest defender of child pornography is the American Civil Liberties Union. It argued a case seeking to legalize it in the 1980s and lost in a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court.
The founder of the ACLU, Roger Baldwin, was an atheist and a nudist, though it should be noted that he never addressed the issue of child porn. But his organization did, and no one did a better job defending child pornography than Barry Lynn; in the latter part of the 1980s he was the legislative counsel for the ACLU in its Washington D.C. office.
Lynn’s defense of the sale and distribution of child pornography made history when he testified before Attorney General Edwin Meese’s Commission on Pornography in 1985. Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, was stunned listening to what Lynn had to say about the important role that child porn played in constitutional matters. Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, saw the depiction of kids in hard-core pornographic photos as a free speech issue.
Lynn went on to become the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). Under his tutelage, in 2000 AU sponsored Reel Affirmations X, a pornographic homosexual film festival. When asked what this undertaking had to do with his organization’s mission, Lynn replied, “We oftentimes lend support to organizations which have a constituency sympathetic to our goals and objectives.”
In other words, those who support gay porn are seen as sympathetic to the goals and mission of AU. That’s quite a concession. More recently, AU was listed as a participant in the 2018 Pride Festival, an LGBT event.
AU also supports abortion-on-demand. Last year it rallied with NARAL Pro-Choice America, the pro-abortion giant, in support of the Health and Human Services mandate that sought to force Catholic non-profit groups to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in their healthcare plans.
The current head of AU, Rachel Laser, previously worked for Third Way, a left-wing think tank that deals with abortion and gay rights. She continues to serve on the national board of NARAL. In fact, her first public address came in March when she spoke at an annual pro-abortion NARAL event. When she worked for Third Way, she led the gay rights initiative.
American Atheists is another atheist organization with a long history of support for libertine notions of sexuality. The founder, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, once boasted, “I will engage in sexual activity with a consenting male any time and any place I damn well please.” She made her name by successfully bringing suit to ban school prayer.
Today, American Atheists promotes “Activist Toolkits,” offering advice on how to attack religious organizations that are opposed to abortion and seek to promote abstinence-only sex education programs. Last year, it was a partner in the 2017 Women’s March, an event primarily sponsored by Planned Parenthood.
The gay rights community also has a reliable partner in American Atheists. It works with the Human Rights Campaign to offer American Atheists Gay/Lesbian College Scholarships. Alison Gill, the National Legal and Policy Director of American Atheists, previously served as Senior Legislative Counsel at the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent gay rights group. Board member Marsha Botzer is former co-chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the national co-chair of the 2008 Obama Pride Campaign.
Lately, American Atheists has been reeling from disclosures of alleged sexual misconduct. Its president, David Silverman, was fired April 12 for sexually assaulting women.
Other atheist groups that align with the abortion and gay rights movement include Freedom From Religion Foundation. Its co-founder authored a book, Abortion Is A Blessing. In November, it will feature Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards at its annual convention.
The American Humanist Association has honored Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who was both a racist and eugenicist; it has gay rights projects as well. Similarly, the Center for Inquiry has teamed up with Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
It is possible, of course, to be both an atheist and a sexual traditionalist. But the fact remains that at least since the post-war period, atheist activists have, in most instances, been sexual libertines. Why? What is the tie between atheism and abortion and gay rights?
The connection is a profoundly distorted vision of liberty. As I have noted several times before, for many Americans, the three most dreaded words in the English language are “Thou Shalt Not.” This is doubly true of atheist activists. They don’t want to be told how to express themselves sexually, and they sure don’t want to hear how God is commanding them to practice restraint.
We have traveled a long way since the Founders promoted Christianity and counseled against unleashing the passions. Regrettably, atheist organizations have contributed mightily to the corruption of our culture.