Last updated on February 11th, 2020 at 10:58 am
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 48/180
Founded in 1978 by Anne Nicol Gaylor, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is an American non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin with members from all 50 states. The largest national organization advocating for non-theists, FFRF promotes the separation of church and state and educates the public on matters relating to atheism, agnosticism, and nontheism.
In March 2011, FFRF, along with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, began The Clergy Project, a confidential on-line community that supports clergy as they leave their faith. In 2012, it gave its first Freedom From Religion Foundation and Clergy Project “Hardship Grant” to Jerry DeWitt, a former pastor who left the ministry to join the atheist movement.
In June 2013 FFRF announced that, along with the Secular Student Alliance, it would work on educating students on their religious rights and would assist with rectifying violations and what they have termed “religious infringement into public education”.
In 2015, FFRF announced Nonbelief Relief, a new charitable arm. Nonbelief Relief is a humanitarian agency for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and their supporters “to improve this world, our only world”. Nonbelief Relief seeks to remediate conditions of human suffering and injustice on a global scale, whether the result of natural disasters, human actions or adherence to religious dogma.
The FFRF also gives out the the Emperor Has No clothes award which is in recognition of “plain speaking” on the shortcomings of religion by public figures. Some past winners are George Carlin, Richard Dawkins, Ron Reagan, Christopher Hitchens, and Cenk Uygur.
Funded by / Ownership
The FFRF is considered a 501(c)(3) educational organization. Charity Navigator gives FFRF a four out of four star rating or 95%, which means the money they collect goes to the proper causes they support. Funding comes from donations.
Analysis / Bias
In review, ‘the Foundation acts on countless violations of separation of state and church on behalf of members and the public, including: prayers in public schools, payment of public funds for religious purposes, government funding of pervasively sectarian institutions, and the ongoing campaign against civil rights for women, gays and lesbians led by churches.” Headlines and wording of articles on the website utilize moderately loaded words such as this: 46 years post-Roe, right to choice remains under attack. Within the body of this non-sourced article is more loaded language such as this: “The scary truth, however, is that the Religious Right has been steadily engineering rollbacks on Roe v. Wade even before Kavanaugh’s ascension, infiltrating state legislatures and governorships to incrementally strip away women’s access to abortion care.” In another article, Tennessee governor-elect already flouting Constitution, pandering to Religious Right, there is again a complete lack of sourcing information. Although it took several attempts, we did find an article that was sourced to the credible Des Moines Register. Bottom line is FFRF may be publishing factual information, but without sourcing the reader does not know and therefore we have no choice but to rate them Mixed for factual reporting. See Methodology.
Story selection and policy issues almost always favors the left as this is a secular organization opposed to conservative christian ideology.
Overall, we rate the FFRF Left biased based on political positions and story selection that consistently favors the left and Mixed for factual reporting due to poor or zero sourcing of information. (D. Van Zandt 1/26/2019)