Sessions, Byrne continue to tangle with atheist group
Two Republican Alabama Senate candidates continue to battle the out-of-state Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), which describes itself as the nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics.
Earlier this week, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined in the defense of Notasulga’s Reeltown High School against the FFRF and detailed his long-running feud with the foundation. This came after Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) had previously leapt to the defense of the school against the FFRF, which prompted the atheist group to publicly attack Byrne.
Now, the FFRF has responded similarly to Sessions’ intervention.
In a press release reacting to Tuesday’s Yellowhammer News article detailing Sessions’ defense of Reeltown and opposition to the FFRF, the organization stated, “The Freedom From Religion Foundation is taking exception to inaccurately disparaging statements ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made about the national state/church watchdog.”
The release referenced a letter the FFRF sent Sessions in response to his statements; that letter was released by Sessions’ campaign to Yellowhammer News and can be read here.
The letter, which was written by FFRF co-presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, seemingly mocks Sessions for polishing his “Christian persecution credentials.”
“Secularism in government is a precious founding American principle, and an American original at that,” the letter claims.
“Mr. Sessions, you’ve been monumentally wrong [on religious issues],” the letter later asserts, after bashing his time as attorney general for being pro-Christian.
The letter came the same day that the FFRF broadcast a television advertisement featuring Ron Reagan during the latest Democratic presidential primary debate.
Both Sessions and Byrne took issue with the FFRF ad.
Sessions released a statement responding to both the FFRF letter to him and the ad.
“Christians and people of all faiths are under attack in America,” Sessions decried. “Ron Reagan’s atheist group is spending millions of dollars attacking Christians in the name of religious liberty. I can promise you that we will not be intimidated by some leftists from Hollywood. My message to people of faith is this: ‘I HAVE YOUR BACK.’ I have spent my whole life fighting to make sure that Christians and people of all faiths can boldly live out their faiths. That is what religious liberty means.”
“The Constitution explicitly guarantees the right for every American to freely exercise their religious beliefs. They don’t have to ask the FFRF for permission,” he continued. “The FFRF were constant critics of me and our work at the Department of Justice to protect religious liberty, using unjustified and extreme arguments that have no basis in the Constitution.”
Sessions concluded, “This group, and others, continually write threatening letters to public institutions to frighten and intimidate them from allowing Constitutionally-protected expressions of faith. They have gotten away with it for too long. I will never back down from this fight.”
Byrne reacted to the FFRF ad in a tweet.
The same DC atheist group that’s attacking me for protecting Christian values is running ads like this:
“Ron Reagan, life-long atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”
— Bradley Byrne (@BradleyByrne) January 15, 2020
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn