Governments Doing the Bidding of Religious Zealots

June 14, 2018


Too often, extreme forms of religion get governments to do their bidding. You know how hard we’re fighting the discriminatory Christianist policies coming from the Trump administration, but the problem is much broader, manifesting from the local and state level to the world stage.

Here are two unacceptable situations we’re working to correct, both of which happened to emerge on the same day.

IN NORTH CAROLINA, a group whose mission is to prepare young men for “a lifetime of service to Jesus Christ” is eagerly awaiting a $250,000 from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Cross Trail Outfitters, an organization whose name makes it sound like an L.L. Bean competitor, is actually–and explicitly–a Christian ministry that uses outdoor activities as a way to teach “Biblical truths” and turn young people into “better Christians.”

As CFI Vice President and General Counsel Nick Little put it, “This is a $250,000 taxpayer giveaway to an overtly Christian ministry for the purpose of promoting Christianity, and that’s a violation of the Constitution, plain as day.” So we have contacted North Carolina’s HHS Secretary, Mandy Cohen, and along with the Freedom from Religion Foundation, made clear that this budget item must be scrapped, or we will take take legal action.


IN EGYPT, reports tell us that atheist activist Sherif Gaber (pictured above) was arrested in May for blasphemy-related charges. Sherif has been evading detainment by Egyptian authorities for years, continuing to write and make YouTube videos advancing reason and secularism. Now we are informed that he was arrested as part of a roundup of several people accused of a conspiracy to undermine Egypt’s ruling regime and constitution.

We are demanding that Sherif be released immediately, and we’re taking part in the grassroots efforts to keep the pressure on the Egyptian authorities. Representing all of CFI, President and CEO Robyn Blumner is a signatory to this online petition for Sherif’s freedom, which you can add your name to as well. We will be watching this case closely and taking whatever action we can.


You can help us assist other secularist activists as we work to bring them to safety by donating to our Secular Rescue program.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at