Kelda Roys

Rambling Rep. Van Drew denounced, Wis. state senator praised for standing up for choice


The FFRF Action Fund names Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, R-N.J., as its “Theocrat of the Week” for his grandstanding at a House Judiciary Committee meeting during which he baited Attorney General Merrick Garland as anti-Catholic. The Action Fund is delighted, on the other hand, to applaud Wisconsin state Sen. Kelda Roys for standing up against bills that anti-abortion extremists have introduced in the Assembly.

Van Drew, who has a history of moving positions onto the wrong side of history (he changed his vote on the Respect for Marriage Act to vote against its final passage and flipped his stance on abortion in a matter of two years to align with his right-wing extremists colleagues), seized his moment at microphone to recently challenge Attorney General Merrick Garland, whose Jewish grandparents fled antisemitism Eastern Europe, on the FBI’s supposed “anti-Catholic” views. Need we remind Van Drew of the role that Christian nationalists played in the U.S. Capitol domestic terror attack?  Hate groups indeed do exist within a “radical traditional” Catholicism, and it is preposterous to charge that the FBI is in any way anti-Catholic or anti-any religion. It would endanger domestic and international security were federal law enforcers to be told “hands off” investigating terrorism involving Christians. The FFRF Action Fund backs any effort to root out domestic extremism from the country, and often that starts with exposing religious extremists.

“Van Drew is playing the victim as so many religious zealots do,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Action Fund president. “His attempts to label the FBI as anti-religion is a clear pandering to religious extremists to give the illusion that Christianity is under attack.”

Kelda Roys, the Wisconsin state senator representing the district that the FFRF Action Fund calls home in Madison, Wis., has earned our secular praise for her continued efforts to stand for abortion rights and bodily autonomy. Soon after a court ruled that abortion is not banned under an antiquated 1849 law and two Planned Parenthood clinics resumed offering abortion services in Wisconsin, ruthless Republican leadership introduced  bills in the Assembly to erode access to care. Roys correctly called out the bills as harming her constituents: “They don’t care what women and families actually need — access to contraception, paid family leave, child care, and the restoration of our rights — GOP legislators just want to ban abortion and call it a day,” Roys said.  
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which is affiliated with FFRF Action Fund, is thrilled that Sen. Roys will be featured on our secular legislator panel during FFRF’s 46th annual convention. The convention will be held at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis., Oct. 13–15.

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. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.