a photo of Beth Lear that is labeled theocrat of the week

Jeers to autocratic Ohio legislator, cheers to Rep. Raskin  


For her part in plotting to thwart the will of the people and calling it “God’s will,” FFRF Action Fund is bestowing its “Theocrat of the Week” upon Ohio state Rep. Beth Lear. For his apt rebukes of the Christian nationalist speaker of the House, the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation names Rep. Jamie Raskin its “Secularist of the Week.”

Although voters overwhelmingly voted to enshrine abortion rights into Ohio’s Constitution on Nov. 7, a number of Republicans immediately began circulating draft legislation to try to strip the state’s courts of the ability to implement the amendment. This blatantly unconstitutional, undemocratic and un-American ploy has been embraced by Lear, who maintains that “no amendment can overturn the God-given rights with which we were born.” What a coincidence that “God’s will” lines up directly with her political platform!  

Lear has a history of justifying bigoted political stances by citing her religious beliefs. A watchdog has compiled a number of Lear’s old tweets that reveal her disdain for the LGBTQ-plus community, her anti-abortion stance on reproductive rights, and her Christian nationalist views. It’s safe to say that Lear has fully earned her “Theocrat of the Week” title.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a renowned constitutional scholar known for his outspoken opposition to the Christian nationalist agenda, caught our attention with his comments pushing back on the new House speaker’s theocratic messaging. Raskin appeared on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki” last week to eviscerate Mike Johnson’s platform of putting the bible over the Constitution. Raskin quipped that in Congress “we put our hand on the bible and swear to uphold the Constitution, we don’t put our hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the bible.” 

Raskin, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, is an original co-sponsor of the Do No Harm Act. This legislation seeks to reverse the harm done by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Last week marked the 30th anniversary of RFRA, which was originally pitched to help minority religions but has been weaponized by Christians to justify bigoted practices, such as LGBTQ-plus discrimination and opposition to reproductive rights. “The Do No Harm Act makes an essential clarification to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, prohibiting weaponization of the law by bad-faith actors who want to redefine freedom of religious conscience as license to discriminate,” Raskin says in a statement on his website.

“The attempt by Lear and other legislators in Ohio to directly undermine the will of the people should be condemned by everyone who stands for democracy,” says FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “In the meantime, we remain grateful to Rep. Raskin for speaking out against a Christian nationalist who is second in line for the presidency. We truly appreciate Rep. Raskin’s commitment to upholding the secular principles that are enshrined in our Constitution.”

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.