The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/blogs/feed en Ignoring The Best Interest Of Kids, House Republicans Pass Amendment To Allow Adoption Agencies To Discriminate https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/ignoring-the-best-interest-of-kids-house-republicans-pass-amendment-to <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ignoring The Best Interest Of Kids, House Republicans Pass Amendment To Allow Adoption Agencies To Discriminate</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 07/16/2018 - 14:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/author/samantha-sokol" hreflang="und">Samantha Sokol</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Sad%20kid%20on%20swing_0.jpg?h=318ce33a&amp;itok=wcbHCy_Q" width="1700" height="525" alt="Sad boy on swingset" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>A congressional committee <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj8f2KL5FmI">debated</a> a <a href="https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP07/20180615/108431/BILLS-115-SC-AP-FY2019-LaborHHS-LaborBill.pdf">bill</a> last week that determines how much money the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services can spend next year. But House Republicans weren’t content to just pass a bill to fund vital government services.</p> <p>Instead, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), with support from Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.), tacked on an amendment to allow child welfare agencies, which get money from the bill, to use religion to discriminate. Unfortunately, the amendment passed by a vote of 29-23 with just one Republican – Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) – voting against it.</p> <p>This amendment permits adoption and foster care agencies that receive federal funding to discriminate against qualified prospective parents and children in need based on the agency’s religious beliefs. The result: Kids who are in need of stable homes could be denied the opportunity to join a loving family because prospective parents are LGBTQ, single, previously divorced or even the “wrong religion.” And kids could languish for years in the system.</p> <p>These taxpayer-funded agencies could also refuse to offer assistance to kids without a home. The agency could refuse to provide a foster home to an LGBTQ teen, provide necessary health care to a child who has been sexually assaulted or allow a kid in foster care to attend her church.</p> <p>Religious freedom gives Americans the right to believe, or not, but it does not give us the right to use our religious beliefs to discriminate against kids and families. That’s especially true when organizations, like these adoption and foster care agencies, get taxpayer funding to provide a service on behalf of the government. Taxpayer money should never fund discrimination.</p> <p>And what’s more, this measure goes against everything our child welfare system is supposed to stand for. When the government makes decisions on a child’s behalf, it is supposed to consider the best interest of the child over all else. But this amendment puts the religious beliefs of government-funded adoption and foster care agencies above the best interest of kids – ignoring the bedrock standard.</p> <p>Several states have encouraged similar policies to this one, and the results are appalling: <a href="https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2018/03/01/miracle-hill-foster-care/362560002/">An experienced foster mom in South Carolina</a> was blocked from mentoring kids because she’s Jewish, <a href="https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/a3amze/we-were-rejected-from-adopting-foster-children-because-we-are-gay">a lesbian couple in Michigan</a> was not allowed to adopt foster children because they are gay and <a href="https://www.lambdalegal.org/news/dc_20180220_hhs-sued-after-lesbian-couple-blocked-from-serving-as-foster-parents">a lesbian couple in Texas</a> was told they could not foster refugee children because they don’t “mirror the Holy Family.” This amendment would requires states to allow these shocking policies nationwide, and punishes any states or localities that do not permit such discrimination.</p> <blockquote> <p>Religious freedom gives Americans the right to believe, or not, but it does not give us the right to use our religious beliefs to discriminate against kids and families. </p> </blockquote> <p>Fortunately, several representatives have spoken out against this measure. We were thankful to hear Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) all <a href="https://twitter.com/protectneighbor/status/1017088010628804608">speak out</a> during the hearing.</p> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/HRC/status/1017493764447854592">DeLauro</a> noted that the amendment allowed religion to be used to harm others. She said that this amendment “harms vulnerable children in the foster care system and disregards the best interest of a child.”</p> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/RepKClark/status/1017086663707779084">Clark</a> spoke to reiterate that children’s needs should come first: “A religious litmus test on adoptive parents? The cardinal rule of adoption-foster care is to put the interest of the child first: finding permanent loving homes.”</p> <p>And the next day, <a href="https://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/71118-4/">House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)</a> released a statement declaring that “House Democrats will fight this disgusting, deeply immoral and profoundly offensive effort with all our strength.” We’ll be supporting their fight.</p> <p>Although a congressional committee has approved this amendment, several critical steps remain in the process. We will urge legislators to strip this harmful section from the bill at every step of the way. <a href="https://www.au.org/get-involved/updates">Sign up for our emails</a> so that we can keep you informed about what you can do to fight this amendment, and all other efforts in Congress, that allow religion to be used as an excuse to harm others.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/adoption" hreflang="en">Adoption</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/congress" hreflang="en">Congress</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protect-thy-neighbor" hreflang="en">Protect Thy Neighbor</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 16 Jul 2018 18:47:22 +0000 LHayes 14254 at https://www.au.org Today Members Of Congress Have The Opportunity To Protect the Johnson Amendment. Will They? https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/today-members-of-congress-have-the-opportunity-to-protect-the-johnson <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Today Members Of Congress Have The Opportunity To Protect the Johnson Amendment. Will They?</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 07/16/2018 - 10:37</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/author/elise-helgesen-aguilar" hreflang="und">Elise Helgesen Aguilar </a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/DSC_0070.jpg?h=32f25c35&amp;itok=bJkZgwxo" width="1700" height="525" alt="Faith Leaders gather at the Capitol in support of the Johnson Amendment" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Later today, the House Rules Committee will take up a bill that contains language to weaken the <a href="http://projectfairplay.squarespace.com/the-johnson-amendment/#johnson-amendment">Johnson Amendment</a>. The bill – which includes funding for governmental entities like the IRS, the city of Washington, D.C.,  and others for fiscal year 2019 – could have profound implications on houses of worship and their ability to remain free from partisan campaign politics.</p> <p>The Johnson Amendment is the portion of the tax code that prevents political campaigns and candidates from pressuring tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations like houses of worship for endorsements. <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/568e979c40667a5cc6a4eaf1/t/5b19a0f403ce64a767c700f0/1528406261516/June+2018+FV+Letter+with+Signers.pdf">Faith leaders</a>, <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/568e979c40667a5cc6a4eaf1/t/5b05bdf7575d1f67cf96cb6e/1527102968178/Faith+Org+Letter+106+signers.pdf">religious organizations</a> and <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/568e979c40667a5cc6a4eaf1/t/5b19a0f403ce64a767c700f0/1528406261516/June+2018+FV+Letter+with+Signers.pdf">nonprofit organizations</a> across the country support the Johnson Amendment because the current law allows them to maintain their free speech rights and their ability to speak to political and social issues, while at the same time preventing political candidates from using them as tools for their own gain. Still, members of Congress are pushing to all but repeal this law.</p> <p>The language included in the bill would weaken the Johnson Amendment by making it nearly impossible to enforce. It would place administrative barriers to enforcement, such as requiring consent from the IRS commissioner, notification to two committees in Congress and a 90-day waiting period. And, even though the Johnson Amendment applies to all 501(c)(3) organizations, this language would apply only to violations by houses of worship, making it likely to violate the First Amendment.</p> <p>Last month, when the <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-johnson-amendment-is-under-attack-again-you-can-help-au-defend-it">House Appropriations Committee debated the bill</a>, U.S. Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to remove the Johnson Amendment language. The amendment failed on a party line vote, and the Johnson Amendment language stayed in the committee-passed bill.</p> <p>The next stop before this bill goes to the floor for a vote by the full House is to go before the Rules Committee so that members of the committee can decide which amendments they will allow on the bill. During the Rules Committee debate, Wasserman Schultz will once again offer her amendment to strip the Johnson Amendment language. U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will also offer an amendment to strike the problematic language.</p> <p>Americans United has joined a <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/568e979c40667a5cc6a4eaf1/t/5b4ca772575d1f504db45b12/1531750259274/07-13-18+House+Rules+Sign+On+Letter+FINAL.pdf">letter</a> along with 144 other organizations that was sent to the committee asking its members to support the Wasserman Schultz and Lewis amendments. If your representative is on the Rules Committee, you can also help – <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/KqKvxCgNv0OkyEsY6P5ecw2">take action</a> to urge your member of Congress to remove the language that would weaken the Johnson Amendment.</p> <p>Thanks to the advocacy of our members and supporters, along with our coalition partners and allies, we’ve been successful in keeping the Johnson Amendment in place, despite the <a href="https://projectfairplay.squarespace.com/new-page">many attacks</a> to the law we’ve seen over the past year. And we will continue to fight back all attempts to undermine or repeal the Johnson Amendment.</p> <p>To learn more about the Johnson Amendment, check our <a href="http://projectfairplay.squarespace.com/">Project Fair Play</a>, and to take action, see our <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/KqKvxCgNv0OkyEsY6P5ecw2">action page</a> on how you can contact your members of Congress to support the Johnson Amendment. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/churches-and-elections" hreflang="en">Churches and Elections</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/johnson-amendment" hreflang="en">Johnson Amendment</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/congress" hreflang="en">Congress</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/debbie-wasserman-schultz" hreflang="en">Debbie Wasserman Schultz</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/barbara-lee" hreflang="en">Barbara Lee</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/john-lewis" hreflang="en">John Lewis</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 16 Jul 2018 14:37:36 +0000 LHayes 14250 at https://www.au.org A Month Of Action In A Lifetime Of Commitment https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/a-month-of-action-in-a-lifetime-of-commitment <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">A Month Of Action In A Lifetime Of Commitment</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 07/13/2018 - 09:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rachel-laser" hreflang="en">Rachel Laser</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Rachel%20Speaking%20Cropped_0.jpg?h=47d2f24d&amp;itok=w7-aL6yf" width="1700" height="525" alt="AU President and CEO Rachel Laser speaks at rally protesting Supreme Court&#039;s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em>Editor’s note: This blog post by AU President and CEO Rachel Laser originally appeared in the <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/julyaugust-2018-church-state-magazine/perspective/a-month-of-action-in-a-lifetime-of">July/August 2018 issue of AU's </a></em><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/julyaugust-2018-church-state-magazine/perspective/a-month-of-action-in-a-lifetime-of">Church &amp; State</a><em><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/julyaugust-2018-church-state-magazine/perspective/a-month-of-action-in-a-lifetime-of"> magazine</a>.</em></p> <p>What a month June was! From marching in Washington, D.C.’s pride parade, to deciphering the Supreme Court’s odd decision in <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop</em> to speaking out against the Court’s abhorrent ruling in the Muslim ban case, the entire staff has been incredibly hard at work.</p> <p>There is so much to say about each of these moments, but perhaps most interesting is what they have in common. At heart, they all connect to today’s emboldened movement to use religion to stop America’s steady progress toward its most inclusive self. And they all relate to that same movement’s desire to assert the dominance of far-right evangelical Christians.         </p> <p><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/americans-united-was-proud-to-bring-the-message-of-church-state-separation">Americans United joined the Capital Pride festivities</a> because we wanted to make clear that religion should never be used to discriminate against or cause harm to our LGBTQ family, supporters and neighbors. Our banner and T-shirts read: “Keep your dogma off my rights!” And the crowd’s whoops and cheers as we marched by made clear that they strongly agreed. No one needs to explain to any member of the LGBTQ community that “religious freedom” is being politicized to privilege one religious group’s particular viewpoint and deny them full equality.</p> <p><a href="http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/masterpiece">The <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop</em> case</a> is an outgrowth of the legal arm of this same movement. Brought by a Religious Right legal group, <em>Masterpiece </em>was an attempt to get our highest court to assert that free exercise of one’s religion means a business can refuse to serve people based on their sexual orientation – even if a state non-discrimination law is in place.</p> <p>Even though <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-supreme-courts-masterpiece-cakeshop-ruling-what-really-happened">the court technically ruled</a> in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop (on the grounds that there was animus towards the baker’s religion during his hearing before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission), the decision also affirmed: “[I]t is a general rule that [religious and philosophical] objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.”</p> <p>Although this case represents a strange sort of “win” for inclusion, it is also j<a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-ripple-effect-of-the-supreme-courts-masterpiece-cakeshop-decision">ust one of a slew of such legal challenges</a> the Religious Right continues to bring arguing for a business’s right to use religion to discriminate. In essence, these cases seek to codify one set of religious beliefs as being supreme over all belief systems, including American law!</p> <p>So how does the <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/muslim-ban">Muslim ban case</a> relate to these first two examples? The Muslim ban fulfills President Donald Trump’s campaign promise of a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims.” It blocks those who do not fit into the narrow vision of a white Christian America from coming to our country.       </p> <blockquote> <p>There is so much to say about each of these moments, but perhaps most interesting is what they have in common. At heart, they all connect to today’s emboldened movement to use religion to stop America’s steady progress toward its most inclusive self. And they all relate to that same movement’s desire to assert the dominance of far-right evangelical Christians.          </p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/supreme-court-turns-its-back-on-religious-freedom-for-all">The court’s decision to allow the ban to stand</a> is a tragedy for the many Muslims who are separated from their loved ones, and a stain on our country. I have no doubt that history will judge this shameful ban for what it is: an effort to narrow the space for religious diversity in our society.</p> <p>At the time of this writing, our talented and dedicated staff and <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/americans-uniteds-interns-reflect-on-an-action-filled-week-of-church-state">many interns</a> were still recovering from rallying outside of the Supreme Court all morning in the hot sun, standing with our Muslim and other allies to protest the court’s ruling. This is what I wrote to them that evening, referencing my much-needed earlier trip to Dunkin’ Donuts:</p> <p>“My lame attempt to feed you all donuts (the Jewish mother in me, I admit) could not adequately thank everyone for your hard work, or console everyone about today’s decision. In moments like this, we must remind ourselves that our individual efforts, even more so when they are all coordinating as they did today, really matter in this battle we are waging over America’s soul. You all have an incredible amount to contribute, and you are doing it. This is what is going to change the tides in our country. So, go home, rest, put some aloe on your sunburns, hydrate and allow yourselves some space to feel sad today, because tomorrow there is even more to do. And this country needs you all badly.”</p> <p>We need you all badly too. Keep fighting.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-against-customers" hreflang="en">Discrimination Against Customers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/capital-pride" hreflang="en">Capital Pride</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protect-thy-neighbor" hreflang="en">Protect Thy Neighbor</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/masterpiece-cakeshop-v-colorado-civil-rights-commission" hreflang="en">Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/iaab-v-trump" hreflang="en">IAAB v. Trump</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:53:17 +0000 LHayes 14218 at https://www.au.org The Religious Right Can’t Wait To Get Brett Kavanaugh On The Supreme Court. That Should Concern Us. https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-religious-right-cant-wait-to-get-brett-kavanaugh-on-the-supreme-court <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Religious Right Can’t Wait To Get Brett Kavanaugh On The Supreme Court. That Should Concern Us. </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/67749" lang="" about="/user/67749" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Hassanein</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rokia-hassanein" hreflang="und">Rokia Hassanein</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Crowd%20Cheering%20cropped_0.jpg?h=20513853&amp;itok=2f6dtAJW" width="1700" height="525" alt="Values Voters " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Earlier this week, President Donald J. <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/brett-kavanaugh-is-the-wrong-choice-for-the-supreme-court">Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to be</a> the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Americans United opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination because his record as an attorney and federal judge indicates that he won’t uphold church-state separation.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, leaders of the Religious Right feel differently. They’re fired up over the prospect of Justice Kavanaugh.  </p> <p>Among <a href="https://www.charismanews.com/politics/72049-rodriguez-graham-laud-president-s-nomination-of-kavanaugh-for-supreme-court">the Religious Right leaders supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination</a> is Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.</p> <p>“From the day Justice Kennedy retired, the Left has sought to make this vacancy all about abortion – even though many other significant issues are at stake including religious freedom and free speech,” Perkins said. “Under the Obama administration, we saw a growing assault on religious freedom, and the courts became a battleground for secularists seeking to remove faith from the public square. Judge Kavanaugh resisted this trend in at least two instances – an HHS contraceptive mandate case and in an opinion supporting inauguration prayers.”</p> <p>Perkins is, of course, praising Kavanaugh’s record of supporting religion being used to harm others, public-school-sponsored prayer and taxpayer money funding religious activities.</p> <p>Far-right groups vetted Kavanaugh. <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-goldberg-trump-supreme-court-justice-confirmation-0704-story.html">According to the </a><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-goldberg-trump-supreme-court-justice-confirmation-0704-story.html"><em>Chicago Tribune</em></a>, Kavanaugh has been currying favor with the Religious Right and “had been outsourced to, and approved by, the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.”</p> <p>Other groups are equally enthused. In an email to supporters, Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed went as far as to assert that Kavanaugh <a href="http://fafc.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=3722.0&amp;dlv_id=7941">would be a justice “in the model of Antonin Scalia.</a>”</p> <p>And Paula White, Trump’s spiritual advisor, said: “[I]f President Trump hit a home run with Justice Gorsuch, in the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh he’s hit a grand slam.”</p> <p>Still other Religious Right figures, such as Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/julyaugust-2018-church-state-magazine/featured/the-apostle-of-trump-the-rev-robert">frequent far-right evangelical apologist</a> for Trump, sees the Kavanaugh nomination as another Trump sop to the Religious Right for its loyalty to him.</p> <p>“Evangelicals are ecstatic because in less than two years, President Trump has filled a second Supreme Court vacancy with a second conservative – just as he promised,” Jeffress said. “The fact that the president chose another conservative justice is more important than the name of that justice. This is a huge win for President Trump.”</p> <p>Evangelist Franklin Graham said that Kavanaugh, “if confirmed, could shape the judicial landscape of this country for decades to come. … We need to thank God for this long-awaited opportunity to change the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court.”</p> <p>Kavanaugh’s definition of religious freedom, like the Religious Right’s, is narrow, not inclusive. In <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Brett%20Kavanaugh%20Report%20July%202018.pdf">Americans United’s new report</a> on Kavanaugh’s record, we highlighted how he would likely undermine religious freedom in various ways, including ruling in favor of religion being used as an excuse to discriminate against others, supporting school-sponsored prayer and public funding of religious institutions and prioritizing Christian beliefs over religious and nonreligious minority rights.</p> <p>We can’t let that happen. </p> <p>The separation of church and state is the linchpin of religious freedom. We can’t afford to have a Supreme Court that would undermine it. By nominating Kavanaugh to the court, Trump threatens the vision of religious freedom for which Americans United has fought over the last 70 years. That’s why Americans United is opposing him.</p> <p>It’s not as if the Religious Right knows something the rest of us don’t. In fact, Kavanaugh’s record is quite clear: He’s hostile to church-state separation – and that is exactly why these groups are so excited about him.</p> <p>This process is just getting started, and there’s plenty of time to act. Please urge your senators to reject Kavanaugh’s confirmation. You can do that <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/AA7G4YCHskeBYDviNGk_GQ2">right here</a>. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/brett-kavanaugh" hreflang="en">Brett Kavanaugh</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:28:46 +0000 Hassanein 14217 at https://www.au.org Brett Kavanaugh Could Be A Disaster For America’s Schoolchildren https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/brett-kavanaugh-could-be-a-disaster-for-americas-schoolchildren <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Brett Kavanaugh Could Be A Disaster For America’s Schoolchildren</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 07/11/2018 - 09:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/classroom%20cropped_1.jpg?h=0bfc1159&amp;itok=RFVrx3Sb" width="1700" height="525" alt="school classroom" title="kids in class" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>We're hearing a lot of talk about how the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court might affect the rights of women and LGBTQ Americans. But there’s another group whose rights could take a hit as well: America’s schoolchildren.</p> <p>Kavanaugh has an extensive <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/kavanaugh-record-suggests-he-would-favor-religious-interests-in-school-debates/2018/07/10/a805323c-8475-11e8-8f6c-46cb43e3f306_story.html?utm_term=.946178635acc">track record</a> on education issues – and it’s not good. As Americans United detailed in a <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Brett%20Kavanaugh%20Report%20July%202018.pdf">new report</a>, Kavanaugh, while in private practice in 2000, authored a brief on behalf of two far-right members of Congress in a school prayer case pending before the Supreme Court. The case dealt with school-sponsored but ostensibly student-led prayers being recited over a loudspeaker before football games at a Texas high school, and Kavanaugh made the extreme argument that not only should the prayers be permitted, in some cases they might be <em>required</em>.</p> <p>Kavanaugh went on to criticize the Supreme Court’s line of decisions striking down school-sponsored prayers at graduation ceremonies and at the beginning of the school day – rulings that stretch back <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1961/468">nearly 60 years</a>. He asserted that these prayers could be upheld on the grounds that they “are deeply rooted in our history and tradition.”</p> <p>What about the kids who might not want to participate in someone else’s prayers? What about youngsters grappling with undue pressure to take part in religious worship when they don’t want to? What about the right of parents to decide what religion, if any, their children are raised in? Kavanaugh showed zero concern for any of that. (Thankfully, the Supreme Court rejected Kavanaugh’s argument and <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1999/99-62">struck down</a> the school’s prayer practice 6-3.)</p> <p>Evidence also indicates that Kavanaugh is a fan of vouchers and other forms of taxpayer aid to religious institutions. In his brief in the Texas school prayer case, Kavanaugh attacked high court rulings that prohibit the use of taxpayer money to pay for religious activities, calling those decisions “of questionable validity.”</p> <p>In a speech delivered just last year to the American Enterprise Institute, Kavanaugh opined that “religious schools and religious institutions” should be able to receive “funding or benefits from the government so long as the funding [is] pursuant to a neutral program that, among other things, include[s] religious and nonreligious institutions alike.” (In plain English, he said that if the government funds secular institutions, it might also be required to fund a host of religious ones.)</p> <p>Kavanaugh’s legal theory, if extrapolated, could wipe out the no-aid-to-religion amendments that curb taxpayer support to religion in 38 state constitutions. Indeed, some people are already <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemcshane/2018/07/10/does-a-justice-kavanaugh-mean-that-blaine-amendments-are-history/#11fd4d1c6e74">salivating at that idea</a>.</p> <p>“Please think of the children” has become a cliché and sometimes even <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jFqhjaGh30">a punchline</a>, but in this case, it’s something you need to do. Ninety percent of American children attend public schools. Those kids deserve well-funded institutions that don’t have to compete with private religious schools, which are unaccountable to the public, for scarce tax dollars. Our students also deserve public schools that are free from religious coercion and pressure.</p> <p>Kavanaugh seems to be oblivious to the important role secular public education – a system that welcomes all youngsters regardless of what they believe or don’t believe about religion – plays in our society. That’s a pretty compelling reason why you should tell your senators to <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/AA7G4YCHskeBYDviNGk_GQ2">reject his nomination</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/schools" hreflang="en">Schools</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/school-sponsored-prayer" hreflang="en">School-Sponsored Prayer</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/private-school-vouchers" hreflang="en">Private School Vouchers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/taxpayer-funding-of-religion" hreflang="en">Taxpayer Funding Of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/brett-kavanaugh" hreflang="en">Brett Kavanaugh</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/no-aid-clauses" hreflang="en">no-aid clauses</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 11 Jul 2018 13:57:53 +0000 boston 14177 at https://www.au.org Brett Kavanaugh Is The Wrong Choice For The Supreme Court https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/brett-kavanaugh-is-the-wrong-choice-for-the-supreme-court <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Brett Kavanaugh Is The Wrong Choice For The Supreme Court</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 07/10/2018 - 12:32</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Trump-Kavanaugh%20cropped.jpg?h=fdf5cb61&amp;itok=u6YOCO1c" width="1700" height="525" alt="Trump Kavanaugh" title="Kavanaugh Trump " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>President Donald Trump announced last night that Brett Kavanaugh is his nominee to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. The president has shown that he has little respect for the separation of church and state, so it is no surprise that he has chosen a nominee who rejects this fundamental value as well. In fact, Kavanaugh <a href="http://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/From-the-Bench.pdf">believes</a> that the “wall of separation” metaphor, invoked by Thomas Jefferson and long used to explain the protections guaranteed to us in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “was wrong as a matter of law and history.”</p> <p>The separation of church and state is the linchpin of religious freedom. We can’t afford to have a Supreme Court that would undermine it. By nominating Kavanaugh to the court, Trump threatens the vision of religious freedom for which Americans United has fought over the last 70 years. That’s why Americans United must oppose him.</p> <p>Trump chose Kavanaugh, who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, from a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trumps-supreme-court-list/">list</a> of conservative judges that the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-goldberg-trump-supreme-court-justice-confirmation-0704-story.html"><em>Chicago Tribune</em></a><em> </em>explained “had been outsourced to, and approved by, the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.” And according to <em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/religious-liberty-becomes-a-main-focus-for-conservatives-in-supreme-court-nomination/2018/07/07/45503c2c-807e-11e8-b0ef-fffcabeff946_story.html?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.172716bebca5">The Washington Post</a></em>, conservatives were looking for a nominee “willing to shield religious objectors from progressive policies or soften the boundaries between church and state.” They want a justice who will allow religion to be used to undermine antidiscrimination laws that protect LGBTQ people and to obstruct women’s access to health care, including birth control.</p> <p>According to a <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Brett%20Kavanaugh%20Report%20July%202018.pdf">new report</a> by Americans United, Kavanaugh’s record demonstrates that he would likely undermine religious freedom in a number of ways.</p> <p>First, Kavanaugh would likely grant religious exemptions to businesses and nonprofit organizations even where the exemption could cause real harm to other people. In his dissenting opinion in <a href="https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/425C0AE29F10AFD785257E4B00767BF5/$file/13-5368.pdf"><em>Priests for Life</em></a><a href="https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/425C0AE29F10AFD785257E4B00767BF5/$file/13-5368.pdf"> </a><a href="https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/425C0AE29F10AFD785257E4B00767BF5/$file/13-5368.pdf"><em>v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services</em></a>, Kavanaugh argued that employers can cite religious beliefs to obstruct their employees’ access to contraception. Kavanaugh’s dissent suggests that he would permit the government to grant religious exemptions in future Supreme Court cases even if they result in the denial of health care or discrimination against women, LGBTQ people, or religious minorities. The court could distort religious freedom from a shield to protect religion into a sword to harm others.</p> <p>Second, Kavanaugh is critical of five decades of Supreme Court rulings that prohibit public schools from sponsoring prayer. As an attorney, Kavanaugh wrote a <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Santa%20Fe%20Independent%20School%20Dist%20v%20Doe%20amicus%20brief.pdf">friend-of-the-court brief</a> in <em>Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe</em>, defending a public school that broadcast student-delivered prayers at its football games. Kavanaugh implied that practices “deeply rooted in our history and tradition” should be permitted even if they “favor or promote religion over non-religion.” The Supreme Court disagreed with Kavanaugh. So does Americans United: Religious freedom requires that the government treat <em>all</em> religions equally, including belief systems that are nontheistic.</p> <p>Third, in friend-of-the-court briefs in both <em>Santa Fe</em> and <a href="https://www.findlawimages.com/efile/supreme/briefs/99-2036/99-2036fo7.pdf"><em>Good News Club v. Milford Central School</em></a>, as well as in a 2017 <a href="http://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/From-the-Bench.pdf">speech</a>, Kavanaugh argued against long-standing precedent prohibiting the use of public funds for religious activities. If the Supreme Court were to adopt Kavanaugh’s views on public funding of religion, that would upend the bedrock constitutional principle that we each get to decide for ourselves whether and how our money goes to support religion.</p> <p>When you add all this up, Kavanaugh proves to be the wrong pick for the Supreme Court. With this nomination, the court could be in a position to play favorites and approve practices that promote the majority religion while harming schoolchildren, nonreligious people, women, LGBTQ people, taxpayers and others.</p> <p>It is crucial that the Senate reject Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Religious freedom for all Americans hangs in the balance.</p> <p>You can read <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Brett%20Kavanaugh%20Report%20July%202018.pdf">Americans United's report</a> on Judge Kavanaugh record and you can take action to tell your senators to reject his nomination <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/AA7G4YCHskeBYDviNGk_GQ2">here</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/contraception" hreflang="en">Contraception</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-health-care" hreflang="en">Denials of Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/displays" hreflang="en">Displays</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/schools" hreflang="en">Schools</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/school-sponsored-prayer" hreflang="en">School-Sponsored Prayer</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/private-school-vouchers" hreflang="en">Private School Vouchers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/taxpayer-funding-of-religion" hreflang="en">Taxpayer Funding Of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/brett-kavanaugh" hreflang="en">Brett Kavanaugh</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/anthony-kennedy" hreflang="en">Anthony Kennedy</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protect-thy-neighbor" hreflang="en">Protect Thy Neighbor</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 16:32:55 +0000 boston 14160 at https://www.au.org What’s At Stake With The Next Supreme Court Justice? The Separation Of Church And State https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/whats-at-stake-with-the-next-supreme-court-justice-the-separation-of <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">What’s At Stake With The Next Supreme Court Justice? The Separation Of Church And State</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/sup%20ct%20cropped.jpg?h=49c6272e&amp;itok=Vu1tJxDp" width="1700" height="525" alt="Supreme Court" title="Supreme Court of US" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em>Editor’s Note: President Donald Trump is scheduled to announce his replacement for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy tonight at 9. Kennedy has been a swing voter on many church-state issues, and his departure from the court could dramatically shift the balance. AU’s Legislative Department <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/What%27s%20At%20Stake%20-%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State.pdf">has prepared the following outline</a> of what’s at stake in this important battle.</em></p> <p>The separation of church and state is the linchpin of religious freedom, but Trump has shown little respect for this fundamental American value. We can’t afford to have a Supreme Court that does the same. It is important to ask whether the Supreme Court nominee will uphold language in the First Amendment that guarantees the separation of church and state. The Senate must reject any nominee who would undermine this foundational principle.</p> <p>Religious freedom for all Americans hangs in the balance. Consider the following:</p> <p><strong><em>The separation of church and state ensures that religious exemptions are not used to harm others</em></strong><strong>.</strong> Over the past several years, the Supreme Court has been asked to consider whether businesses and institutions can use religion to violate or obtain exemptions from laws that protect and provide benefits to others, particularly women and LGBTQ people. In <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2014-church-state/featured/building-backlash"><em>Burwell v. Hobby Lobby</em></a>,<em> </em>the court held that businesses could cite religion to refuse to follow a law requiring them to provide employees with insurance coverage for birth control. And <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/MasterpieceSCOTUS"><em>Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</em></a>, decided just a few weeks ago,<em> </em>involved a business that violated a state antidiscrimination law when it refused to serve a same-sex couple.</p> <p>In <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop</em>, Kennedy observed, “[I]t is a general rule that [religious] objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.”</p> <p>More cases like these will make their way to the court. For example, this fall, the court will be asked to hear <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-hails-appeals-court-decision-that-mich-funeral-home-cant"><em>EEOC v. R.G. &amp; G.R. Harris Funeral Homes</em></a>, in which a funeral home claims a religious freedom right to violate the Civil Rights Act’s bar on sex discrimination in employment. Other cases may challenge Trump administration rules that create religious exemptions that put people’s access to basic health care at risk, or state laws that allow adoption and foster-care agencies to use religion to deny kids loving homes and vital services.</p> <p>A long line of cases prohibit religious exemptions that result in harm to others, but the balance of the court could turn against this critical constitutional protection.</p> <p><strong><em>The separation of church and state ensures that taxpayer dollars aren’t used to build houses of worship or fund religious activities</em></strong><strong>.</strong> In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2017-church-state/featured/a-hole-in-the-wall"><em>Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer</em></a> that the state of Missouri could not exclude a church from a taxpayer-funded grant program that pays to resurface playgrounds. This decision was unprecedented, as it held that a state <em>must</em> cut a check to a church under certain conditions. This upends the bedrock constitutional principle that we each get to decide for ourselves whether and how our money goes to support religion.</p> <p>The decision was explicitly limited to the facts of the case and applies only to playground resurfacing. Some concurring justices, however, would have broadly extended the decision. And since the ruling, the case has been used to argue that the government should provide funding to rebuild houses of worship; that state constitutional provisions prohibiting private school vouchers should be nullified; and that the government must be required to give grants to foster-care providers that discriminate against Jewish, Catholic and LGBTQ families. The Supreme Court will likely hear a case in the coming years about the scope of <em>Trinity Lutheran</em>, and the constitutional limits on the use of taxpayer dollars hang in the balance. </p> <p><strong><em>The separation of church and state ensures that public-school students should not be forced to pray in school</em></strong><strong>.</strong> Because students in the public schools are impressionable and a captive audience, the Supreme Court has for more than five decades held that public schools must not sponsor prayer, promote religion or coerce students to participate in religious activities. Yet public schools across the country continue to violate the Constitution: There are currently cases brought by students and parents challenging the actions of public-school teachers who recite prayers in the classroom, public school officials who lead prayer at school events and coaches at public schools who tell players to pray in the locker room. In the last two school-prayer cases considered by the Supreme Court, <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1991/90-1014"><em>Lee v. Weisman</em></a> and <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1999/99-62"><em>Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe</em></a>, Kennedy sided with students and their families who objected to school-sponsored prayer. This core constitutional protection is now on the line. Students and their parents – not public schools – should determine whether and how to participate in religious activities. And no students should be made to feel like outsiders in their own public schools for not participating.</p> <p><strong><em>The separation of church and state ensures that public schools teach science and not religion in science classrooms</em></strong><strong>.</strong> In <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1986/85-1513"><em>Edwards v. Aguillard</em></a>, the Supreme Court struck down a law that required public schools to teach creationism if they also taught evolution. The court has changed entirely since that ruling, and the balance of the court could now reverse this fundamental protection for religious freedom. The court could be required to rule on whether to allow teaching creationism or intelligent design in science class, teaching the Bible in a devotional manner or teaching history classes that present America as a “Christian nation.” To protect the religious freedom of all students and their parents, public schools must be neutral toward religion, neither promoting religion nor disparaging it.</p> <p><strong><em>The separation of church and state ensures that people of all faiths and people who are nonreligious are treated equally</em></strong><strong>.</strong> The government may not favor the practice and values of a particular religion over other religions, or religion in general over nonreligion. Nor may the state show hostility to or disparage a particular religion, religion in general, or nonreligion. In <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop</em>, the Supreme Court ruled that the government must not make policy based on hostility to a religion. In that case, which involved perceived hostility to Christianity, the court explained that we cannot tolerate “even ‘subtle departures’” from religious neutrality. Yet, a few weeks later in <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-denounces-supreme-court-opinion-permitting-implementation-of"><em>Hawai’i v. Trump</em></a>, the court was willing to ignore the blatant religious animus behind Trump’s Muslim ban. The divergence between the two cases – one going out of its way to label behavior as hostile to Christians, and the other going out of its way to dismiss Trump’s hostility to Muslims – is troubling. </p> <p><strong><em>People should be able to go to court to challenge laws that violate the separation of church and state.</em></strong> The protections provided by the Constitution don’t mean much if you can’t get into court to enforce them. Over the last several decades, the Supreme Court had been chipping away at “taxpayer standing” – the rule that taxpayers can challenge government expenditures that support religion and violate church-state separation. In <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/2006/06-157"><em>Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation</em></a>, Kennedy wrote a concurrence rejecting arguments that taxpayer standing in church-state cases should be entirely abolished. A future court without Kennedy could rule differently.</p> <p>As you can see, much is at stake. Please <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/s3Y8Cw64tUmftdOibS4f3Q2">let your senators know</a> that you expect the next Supreme Court justice to uphold separation of church and state.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/taxpayer-funding-of-religion" hreflang="en">Taxpayer Funding Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/schools" hreflang="en">Schools</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/classroom-instruction" hreflang="en">Classroom Instruction</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/school-sponsored-prayer" hreflang="en">School-Sponsored Prayer</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/private-school-vouchers" hreflang="en">Private School Vouchers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-against-customers" hreflang="en">Discrimination Against Customers</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/anthony-kennedy" hreflang="en">Anthony Kennedy</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/brett-kavanaugh" hreflang="en">Brett Kavanaugh</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/creationism" hreflang="en">Creationism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/burwell-v-hobby-lobby-stores" hreflang="en">Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/masterpiece-cakeshop-v-colorado-civil-rights-commission" hreflang="en">Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/eeoc-v-harris-funeral-homes" hreflang="en">EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/trinity-lutheran-church-of-columbia-v-comer" hreflang="en">Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/lee-v-weisman" hreflang="en">Lee v. Weisman</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/santa-fe-independent-school-district-v-doe" hreflang="en">Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/edwards-v-aguillard" hreflang="en">Edwards v. Aguillard</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 09 Jul 2018 15:40:05 +0000 boston 14127 at https://www.au.org How The Trump Administration Continues To Erode The Church-State Wall https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/how-the-trump-administration-continues-to-erode-the-church-state-wall <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">How The Trump Administration Continues To Erode The Church-State Wall </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/67749" lang="" about="/user/67749" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Hassanein</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 07/06/2018 - 10:45</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rokia-hassanein" hreflang="und">Rokia Hassanein</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Trump%20VVS%20Arms%20Wide.JPG?h=a5ce3033&amp;itok=vIFVu7rY" width="1700" height="525" alt="Trump " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Yesterday’s <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/opinion/sunday/church-state-supreme-court-religion.html"><em>New York Times </em></a><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/opinion/sunday/church-state-supreme-court-religion.html">featured a disturbing op-ed</a> about President Donald J. Trump administration’s efforts to erode the church-state wall.</p> <p>Penned by <a href="http://www.susanjacoby.co/">Susan Jacoby</a>, an author who often writes about religion and secularism, the article highlights some of the latest efforts from the Trump administration to merge religion (in this case, fundamentalist Christianity) with government.</p> <p>“Attacks on the wall of separation established by the founders – which the religious right likes to call ‘a lie of the left’ – are nothing new,” Jacoby wrote. “What has changed under Mr. Trump is the disproportionate political debt he owes to extreme religious conservatives, whose views on church-state issues – ranging from the importance of secular public education to women’s and gay rights – are far removed from the American mainstream.”</p> <p>Jacoby is right about Trump’s debt to the Religious Right. He gives, and they reward. As of April, Trump’s <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/trumps-popularity-with-white-evangelicals-hits-a-new-high">popularity among white evangelicals hit a new high</a>. A <a href="https://www.prri.org/spotlight/white-evangelical-support-for-donald-trump-at-all-time-high/">Public Religion Research Institute poll showed that</a> 75 percent of white evangelicals approve of Trump, despite multiple scandals that go against the “values” and “morals” these folks so often boast about championing.  </p> <p>Jacoby asserted that this explains why Americans shouldn’t have been surprised when <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/06/14/jeff-sessions-points-to-the-bible-in-defense-of-separating-immigrant-families/">Attorney General Jeff Sessions used the Bible to justify</a> Trump’s family separation policy at the border. She quoted Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser who said, “The separation of church and state means that we don’t base public policy on the Bible or any religious book.”</p> <p>Observed Jacoby, “This scriptural justification for a political decision should not have surprised anyone, because Mr. Trump’s administration has consistently treated the separation of church and state as a form of heresy rather than a cherished American value.”</p> <p>As Jacoby pointed out, Trump has infused his administration with officials who continue to chip away at the church-state wall.</p> <p>That includes Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who prioritizes funneling public money from public schools to private school voucher programs that often go to religious schools that pick and choose which students to serve while lacking accountability. And it includes Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, who says protecting church-state separation is “political correctness.”</p> <p>The list of Trump administration officials invoking religion to justify their policy is hefty. But, as Jacoby notes, the Religious Right conveniently ignores evangelicals – present and past – who didn’t favor aligning their faith with government power.  </p> <p>“Many evangelical Christians do not share such theocratic fantasies. These evangelicals, like former President Jimmy Carter, are spiritual descendants of Roger Williams, who was banished from the Puritan theocracy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded the first Baptist congregation in colonial America,” Jacoby wrote. “Williams is an inconvenient figure for today’s religious right, which asserts that the only purpose of the ‘wall of separation’ was to protect religion from government – not government from religion. That was true in early colonial America, but the other side of the equation was well understood by the time the Constitution – which never mentions God and explicitly bars all religious tests for public office – was written.”</p> <p>Now, with the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/us/politics/anthony-kennedy-retire-supreme-court.html">announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement</a> from the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump is now poised to nominate a new justice. He has said we shouldn’t trust government but should trust God. Will his nominee to the Supreme Court share that view? The situation is especially precarious because this justice could shift the balance on the court, and nothing less than the future of church-state separation is at stake. That’s why we urge you to contact your Senators today and tell them to <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/s3Y8Cw64tUmftdOibS4f3Q2">oppose any nominee who will undermine the separation of church and state</a>.</p> <p>America should be a place where people of all religions and non-religious backgrounds should be welcome. It should also be a place where religion isn’t used to discriminate against women, LGBTQ people, minorities and other marginalized people.</p> <p>Although the Religious Right has a seat at the table and the ear of Trump, we at Americans United will continue fighting to protect the church-state wall, regardless of what policies the administration proposes.</p> <p>The leaders and followers of the Religious Right may be distorting the true meaning of religious freedom, but we know they don’t represent the majority of people of faith in America. If you are a faith leader who wants to get involved in protecting true religious freedom through Faith Leaders United, sign up <a href="https://americansunited.wufoo.com/forms/z19yjgwz1kblsxe/">here</a>. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/foundations-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">Foundations of Church-State Separation</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/trump-administration" hreflang="en">Trump Administration</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/anthony-kennedy" hreflang="en">Anthony Kennedy</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 06 Jul 2018 14:45:29 +0000 Hassanein 14119 at https://www.au.org A Theocratic ‘Powerhouse’ Is Gaining Influence In The Courts https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/a-theocratic-powerhouse-is-gaining-influence-in-the-courts <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">A Theocratic ‘Powerhouse’ Is Gaining Influence In The Courts </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 07/05/2018 - 10:32</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/US%20Supreme%20Court%20cropped.jpg?h=591f0dba&amp;itok=xvqm2zwV" width="1700" height="525" alt="Supreme Court" title="Supreme Court of US " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Back in 1993, a band of TV and radio preachers came together to form a new Religious Right group called Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) that would focus on the courts.</p> <p>Although there had been previous efforts by the Religious Right to influence the legal system, the original idea behind ADF was a little different: It would serve as a funding pool. The radio and television evangelists would tap the power of their massive audiences for $25 million in donations that would be parceled out to Religious right legal groups. I once referred to the group as a “giant ATM for the Religious Right’s legal work.”</p> <p>But that model didn’t last. Soon, ADF was hiring its own lawyers and taking on cases itself. (The group also changed its name to Alliance Defending Freedom.) As the organization grew with an annual budget topping $40 million, many of the legal groups it had once funded became less prominent. The ADF <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/march-2013-church-state/featured/gods-lawyers">pioneered a more sophisticated legal strategy</a>, basing many of its arguments on “religious freedom” and “free speech.”</p> <p>Today’s <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/inside-the-christian-legal-powerhouse-that-keeps-winning-at-the-supreme-court/2018/07/04/fffa6aa0-7adb-11e8-93cc-6d3beccdd7a3_story.html?utm_term=.89441292d4c1">includes a profile of the ADF</a>, focusing mainly on one of the group’s attorneys Kristen Waggoner. <em>The Post</em> refers to the ADF as a “powerhouse,” and the feature highlights the string of victories the group has won lately, including the <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop</em> case.</p> <p>The extent of that victory is debatable. The ADF represented a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding. The ADF and its allies in the Religious Right had hoped the high court would use the case as a vehicle to announce a broad new rule giving Christian fundamentalists the right to refuse to serve LGBTQ people and others on the ground of religion. That didn’t happen. The court ruled for the baker on the <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-supreme-courts-masterpiece-cakeshop-ruling-what-really-happened">narrowest of grounds</a>, declaring that the proceedings in Colorado had been tainted by religious bias. In the lead opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy made it clear that LGBTQ people may not be subjected to “indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”</p> <p><em>The Post</em>’s story, which appears in the newspaper’s Style section, focuses mainly on Waggoner and even delves into some aspects of her personal life. It’s a breezy read that doesn’t really go deep into what ADF hopes to do. I’ve met some ADF staffers over the years (but not Waggoner) and have found them, on a personal level, to be nice people -- but I am always aware of the organization’s larger goals, and those remain alarming.</p> <p>The ADF is avowedly theocratic. Its goal is to infuse its brand of Christian fundamentalism in every aspect of our lives. The church-state wall, it believes, is an “artificial” barrier. The ADF would happily strip women of their right to legal abortion, reduce access to birth control, infuse Christian symbols at the seat of government, politicize house of worship by nullifying the <a href="http://projectfairplay.squarespace.com/">Johnson Amendment</a> and take away the rights of LGBTQ Americans.</p> <p>This last point is important and in many ways has been the crux of ADF’s work of late. The group just doesn’t seem to like LGBTQ people very much. The ADF denies having an anti-gay animus, but its actions indicate otherwise.</p> <p>Time after time, the ADF has worked to strip LGBTQ Americans of basic rights. The group fought doggedly to block marriage equality, and when that failed after the Supreme Court upheld it in 2015, the group shifted gears. It started taking on cases like the one concerning the Colorado bakery seeking to secure a legal right to discriminate.</p> <p>Most recently, the ADF has also been leading the way with a new flock of cases that target the transgender community. The ADF has long been obsessed with enforcing traditional gender roles. Its first president, Alan Sears, wrote a book in 2003 called <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Homosexual-Agenda-Exposing-Principal-Religious/dp/0805426981/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1530797413&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=the+homosexual+agenda&amp;dpID=51Rfo3rFaRL&amp;preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&amp;dpSrc=srch"><em>The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today</em></a><em> </em>that attacked wacky comedy films such as “Some Like It Hot” and “Tootsie” for promoting cross-dressing.</p> <p>And while the group takes pains to portray itself as an organization that promotes “religious freedom,” it defines that term in a way that would allow Christian fundamentalists to impose their narrow version of Christianity on everyone else.</p> <p>For years, the ADF has sponsored a “Freedom Legal Academy” for attorneys and summer training for law students called the <a href="http://www.blackstonelegalfellowship.org/">Blackstone Legal Fellowships</a>. Faculty for the Blackstone program at one time included discredited “Christian nation” advocate David Barton and two men – Gary DeMar and Andrew Sandlin – who are members of the extreme Christian Reconstructionist movement that seeks to replace American democracy with Old Testament “biblical law.”</p> <p>The goal of the program is equally shocking. The ADF stated bluntly on its website that the program aims to “recover the robust Christendomic theolo­gy of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries.”</p> <p>This all-too-frank line has since been removed, but I have no doubt that its spirit remains alive and well at the ADF.</p> <p>What would it be like to live in a 21st century nation with laws based on the time of the officially Christian Byzantine Empire? Unless Americans start fighting back against groups like the ADF and stand up to President Donald Trump’s attempts to stack the federal judiciary with far-right judges, we may all be unfortunate enough to find out.  </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/legal-foundations-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">Legal Foundations of Church-State Separation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/johnson-amendment" hreflang="en">Johnson Amendment</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/alan-sears" hreflang="en">Alan Sears</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/david-barton" hreflang="en">David Barton</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/gary-demar" hreflang="en">Gary DeMar</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/christian-nation-myth" hreflang="en">Christian nation myth</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/christian-reconstruction" hreflang="en">Christian Reconstruction</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 05 Jul 2018 14:32:52 +0000 boston 14064 at https://www.au.org Fireworks For The Fourth: No, The United States Was Not Founded To Be A ‘Christian Nation’ https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/fireworks-for-the-fourth-no-the-united-states-was-not-founded-to-be-a-2 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Fireworks For The Fourth: No, The United States Was Not Founded To Be A ‘Christian Nation’</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 07/04/2018 - 06:41</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/family%20cookout%20cropped.jpg?h=71fb6ae4&amp;itok=85PBfI9E" width="1700" height="525" alt="cookout" title="family gathering" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em>Note: Today’s blog post originally ran in 2015 to mark Independence Day. For more information about the “Christian nation” myth, see <a href="https://www.au.org/resources/publications/is-america-a-christian-nation">this Americans United brochure</a>.</em></p> <p>Today is Independence Day, and many of us will be meeting up with family for cook-outs, picnics, reunions and other events.</p> <p>While I’m certainly not recommending that you get into an argument with your Uncle Lou who watches too much Fox News, I acknowledge that it might happen. If it does and the topic of America as a “Christian nation” comes up, here is some information you might find useful.</p> <p><em>Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does that document state that America is a Christian nation. </em>This is kind of the slam-dunk argument because it’s fatal to the Christian nation advocates. If our founding document were intended to promote Christianity, it would say that front and center. It doesn’t.</p> <p>It’s telling that Christian nation proponents rarely talk about the Constitution. Instead, they point to obscure 19th century court opinions, proclamations by politicians or comments by figures who lived years after the Constitution was adopted. Why don’t they talk about the Constitution? Because that document is wholly secular. Nowhere in the body of text do the words “Christian,” “Christ,” “Jesus” or “God” even appear.</p> <p>Advocates of church-state separation rightly point to the First Amendment, which, through its language prohibiting laws “respecting an establishment of religion” and protecting the “free exercise thereof,” creates the separation of church and state. What’s sometimes overlooked is the language at the end of Article VI, which states that there shall be “no religious test” for federal office. Article VI makes it clear that public office is open to everyone, despite where they worship or whether they worship at all. That’s an odd provision for an officially Christian nation to make. </p> <p><em>Key founders did not support the Christian nation concept. </em>Thomas Jefferson, author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which is widely considered a precursor to the First Amendment, opposed anything like an official government-backed church. Jefferson’s protégé, James Madison, is one of the primary authors of the First Amendment. Like Jefferson, Madison was a strong opponent of church-state union, as his writings and his actions make clear. The writings of both men make it apparent that they were strong foes of the Christian nation idea.</p> <p>Were there some founders who backed the Christian nation concept? Probably. But their views failed to carry the day. If they had won, the Constitution would look quite different.</p> <p><em>At the time of its adoption, everyone knew that the Constitution was secular. </em>Some clergy and political leaders of the day complained about the secular nature of the Constitution and its lack of Christian references. A few pastors went so far as to assert that the American political experiment would not succeed because the Constitution failed to acknowledge Christianity.</p> <p>This type of carping continued into the 19th century. After the Civil War, a movement arose among conservative pastors to amend the Constitution by adding references to God, Jesus and Christianity. (Obviously there would have been no need for this if the Constitution had already set up a Christian order.) The movement collapsed, yet in the modern era the spiritual descendants of this drive began claiming, against all available evidence, that the United States was indeed founded to be a Christian nation.</p> <p>Lately, some Christian nation advocates have gotten so desperate that they have taken to arguing that it was not necessary for the Constitution to explicitly mention Christianity because that document is obviously based on the Bible.</p> <p>Really? Governments in the Bible are run by autocratic kings and emperors. Concepts like representative democracy, checks and balances and the separation of powers don’t appear therein.</p> <p>One more thing: The Christian nation idea is not a harmless belief. The myth of an officially Christian America sends a message of exclusion. Americans hold many religious and philosophical beliefs. Many are Christian (and even there we see great variety), but others are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, humanist and so on.</p> <p>All Americans should be equal in the eyes of the government, yet the Christian nation concept sends the message that there is a “true” religion – Christianity – and all other beliefs are merely tolerated, at best. Adherents of these “lesser” belief systems are told that they are second-class citizens, that they are little more than guests in their own nation.</p> <p>In short, the Christian nation concept doesn’t celebrate the remarkable achievement of this nation – a story of religious freedom resting on a secular state that does not presume to meddle in private matters of theology. Instead, it buries that success story under a pile of far-right politics wedded to often dangerous forms of religious extremism and nationalism.</p> <p>It is counter to the ideas we celebrate on the Fourth of July.</p> <p>P.S. Getting involved with Americans United is a great way to protect our nation’s founding principles. <a href="http://www.au.org/get-involved">Learn more here</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/james-madison" hreflang="en">James Madison</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/thomas-jefferson" hreflang="en">thomas jefferson</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/christian-nation-myth" hreflang="en">Christian nation myth</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/civil-war" hreflang="en">Civil War</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/constitution" hreflang="en">Constitution</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 04 Jul 2018 10:41:07 +0000 boston 14063 at https://www.au.org