Sen. Book

Cheers for “secularist” state Sen. Book and jeers for “theocrat” Rep. Burnett


FFRF Action Fund is continuing to spotlight good and bad legislators around the country.

It has pronounced Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book its “Secularist of the Week” after her passionate opposition during a Senate debate to Florida’s proposed six-week abortion ban and for getting arrested while peacefully demonstrating against it. U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., is FFRF Action Fund’s newest “Theocrat of the Week” for adding to his “we’re not going to fix it” gaffe on school shootings with a fact-free sermonette on religion.

During a Senate floor debate on April 3, Book noted: “In the course of just two generations, we’ve seen our rights won and lost. It is now up to us to get them back. Because no one is going to save us but ourselves. Abortion is health care and women deserve to be equal and free! The fight continues.”

In earlier debate, she had recounted the experience of two constituents who, because of Florida’s earlier ban on abortions at 15 weeks, were forced to develop sepsis before they could get the care they needed. They ended up losing their pregnancies. “When you are drafting policy affecting millions of women across the state of Florida, it’s important to use real scientific data,” Book said.

By contrast, Burchett ignorantly claimed that a “spiritual awakening” will solve the rampant epidemic of gun violence in our country, particularly in our schools, for which FFRF chided him in a formal letter. Burchett made the controversial remark that “we’re not going to fix it” after a shooter killed three students and three school staffers in Nashville. He also claimed that “repenting of your sins” will turn this country around. FFRF used data to show that in fact societies and states with less religion have less violence, and that states that tend to be among the most religious have the highest rates of violent crime and murder.

“We’re certainly not going to ‘fix it’ with theocrats like Burchett running our government,” said FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We need more heroines like Sen. Book who use science and compassion in lawmaking.”

FFRF Action Fund, a lobbying group created by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, will name a weekly “theocrat” and “secularist” of the week at its website. The debut “secularist” and “theocrat” last week were, respectively, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., for going after book bans, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a born-again Christian who is all set to sign a harsh new anti-gay bill that includes the death penalty.

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.