On September 16 the Austin AU chapter was back in action hosting the Rev. Steven Baines, who led a workshop on religious outreach. The success of AU's work in preserving the separation of church and state often requires the cooperation of people of all religious and philosophical backgrounds. Effective communication is essential to this work, and that is what Rev. Baines touch upon is his presentation.
Our Louisiana chapter asked the question "Same Sex Marriage: Is It a Church-State Issue?" at their September 14th event. Law Professor John Devlin, from the LSU Law Center, and long time LGBT activist Joe Traigle presented compelling information about same-sex marriage and how it relates to advocacy on church-state separation.
CENTRAL VIRGINIA/GREATER RICHMOND AU
Central Virginia/Greater Richmond AU hosted the Rev. Steven Baines on September 14. Rev. Baines is the assistant field director for religious outreach at AU's national office. He spoke on the topic of "How Separation of Church and State is good for Religion." A message that is counter to what Religious Right advocates want people to believe. To get involved with the chapter contact David Sacks at email@example.com.
Austin AU, one of our newest chapters, had an action-packed September. Chapter members distributed AU's Project Fair Play letters to houses of worship in their community. They also held a discussion on national church-state separation issues, such as the Park 51 Islamic Center proposed to break ground near 'Ground Zero' in NYC, and a recent court decision on embryonic stem cell research. They rounded out the discussion by talking about a local issue regarding discrimination faced by Equality Texas members at St. Edward's University in Austin.
This is an energetic group! If you would like to be involved with them contact Sarah Weis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Nashville chapter held an event on September 11. A three way dialogue on separation of church and state featured Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU-Tennessee, Rev. David Kidd, a retired Presbyterian minister, and Nashville AU chapter vice president Charles Sumner. Each of the panelists has a long history of advocacy on behalf of church-state separation.
To learn more about the Nashville AU chapter visit www.nashville-AU.org.
Our Georgia AU chapter took part in the September 11 East Cobber Parade. The annual parade was particularly eventful this year, falling on the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy
Chapter members helped educate their community on the importance and value of church-state separation. If you would like to be involved in future Georgia AU events check the chapter's meet up web site at http://www.meetup.com/americansunited-georgia/ .
This Sunday, a group of Tennessee preachers is looking forward to breaking the law.
At least that’s what they told The Tennessean, which reported that seven pastors in the state will “bait” the IRS by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. A provision in the Internal Revenue Code bars all 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, which includes houses of worship, from intervening in elections.
Are you an agent of Satan?
Kenyn Cureton is worried that you might be. Cureton is vice president for church ministries for the Family Research Council. During the FRC’s recent “Values Voter Summit,” he warned attendees at a breakout session on churches and politics to be ready for some intense action.
“The battle that we’re fighting,” he said, “is not just a political and cultural battle, it’s a spiritual battle.”
And when a battle is spiritual, you can be sure that some people are serving the wrong side.
Americans United has always strived to educate the public about what the Constitution says about religious freedom.
Some days, we feel we have done a good job and that most Americans really do understand that keeping the government separate from religion is the only way to secure religious liberty for all. Other days, however, we are reminded of how much more work we have ahead of us to make that message clear.
Today is one of those disappointing days.
Poor John Leland. He must be spinning like a top in his grave in Cheshire Cemetery in Cheshire, Mass.
You may not know Elder Leland, but you ought to. He was a Baptist preacher and great stalwart of civil and religious liberty in our nation’s founding period. An ardent ally and supporter of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, he railed against government meddling in matters of faith and demanded a complete separation of religion and government.