President & CEO
Rachel Laser is the President and CEO at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Rachel Laser is a lawyer, advocate and strategist who has dedicated her career to making our country more inclusive. She knows that we must shield our laws from any religion’s influence in order to be able to come together as equals and build a stronger democracy. Rachel has a proven track record of uniting both faith and secular leaders and advocacy organizations to make real progress on some of the most important issues of our time. See Rachel in action!
As a religious minority – she was raised as a Reform Jew – Rachel personally understands how much it matters that our laws treat everyone fairly and equally. She is an advocate for racial justice and has led workshops, given speeches and worked with schools and universities to challenge racism and expose privilege.
Rachel knows the work of Americans United has never been more important than it is today. She is a leader in the fight to defeat the serious threat that Christian Nationalism poses to religious freedom and the separation of church and state. As a thought leader and freedom fighter, Rachel has written op-eds for major publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, and appeared on high-profile media outlets, including MSNBC, Fox News, CNBC, and ABC.
Before joining AU, Rachel built bridges between disparate groups on a host of issues that connect to church-state separation. As the deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC), Rachel ran interfaith campaigns on LGBTQ+ equality, immigration reform, gun-violence prevention, and paid sick, family and medical leave.
She directed the Culture Program at Third Way, a Washington, D.C., progressive think tank specializing in understanding and reaching moderates. There, she launched the “Come Let Us Reason Together” initiative, which mobilized evangelical Christians and liberals to find shared values and work together on abortion and LGBTQ+ equality.
As senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Rachel founded and ran the Pharmacy Refusal Project, which put protections in place to ensure that birth control prescriptions are filled – without delay or judgment. She advocated for judicial appointments with a proven record on women’s equality, and lobbied in favor of reproductive health bills.
Rachel is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School. She is also a former national board member of Reproductive Freedom for All (previously NARAL Pro-Choice America).
Her religion is an important part of her identity. “I believe that religion can provide guidance, ritual and structure for celebrating, reflecting on and dealing with life,” she says. At the same time, many in her family identify as atheist or agnostic. “Some of the people I love and respect the most are non-believers. They are also some of the most moral, ethical and principled people I know.” Her personal and professional experience make Rachel a natural leader in AU’s goal of bringing together people of all religions and none to fight in the courts, legislatures, and the public square for freedom without favor and equality without exception.
Rachel lives in Washington, D.C. She and her husband have three children and a dog, Teddy.
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rachelklaser