The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/ en Five Reasons To Celebrate The Constitution – Tomorrow And Every Day https://www.au.org/blogs/Constitution-Day-2021 <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Five Reasons To Celebrate The Constitution – Tomorrow And Every Day</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Sep 16, 2021 - 08:47</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-authored-by--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-authored-by.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-authored-by.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/us%20constitution%202%20.jpg?h=119335f7&amp;itok=WgchCqED" width="1700" height="525" alt="US Constitution" title="US Constitution" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Tomorrow is <a href="https://www.loc.gov/extranet/cld/constitution.html">Constitution Day</a>, which marks the signing of the Constitution by the framers on Sept. 17, 1787. In honor of the day, here are five fast facts about how the Constitution deals with religion and government to keep in mind:</p> <p><strong>1. The body of the Constitution contains no references to God, Jesus Christ, Christianity or any other religion: </strong>It was common for government documents of Western nations in the 18th century to contain references to God and the Christian religion. America’s founders chose a different path. As we <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/constitution-day-secular">noted on the blog last year</a> for Constitution Day, our governing charter is wholly secular, a framework that leaves decisions about religion in the hands of the individual. What a remarkable achievement! We should be justly proud of it.</p> <p><strong>2. Religious leaders of the time knew full well that the new U.S. Constitution was secular – and some of them didn’t like it.</strong> When the text of the Constitution started to circulate, some conservative religious leaders read its secular language and went ballistic. They attacked the “godless” charter in sermons, with some even suggesting it would lead to our nation’s downfall. Theocrats and advocates of an officially “Christian nation” have always been with us, but when the Constitution was drafted, their views failed to carry the day.</p> <p><strong>3. Article VI of the Constitution contains an important, if often overlooked, religious freedom guarantee. </strong>When people think of religious freedom in the Constitution, they tend to focus on the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which was appended to the Constitution in 1791. But at the end of Article VI, you will find language stating, “[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” This means anyone can hold federal office in America – be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Humanist, etc. The provision, which was <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/december-2016-church-state/featured/pickneys-promise">the handiwork of delegate Charles Pinckney</a> of South Carolina, was incredibly progressive for the times and is further evidence debunking the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” myth.</p> <p><strong>4. Familiar statements of civil religion have nothing to do with the Constitution. </strong>Concepts like “In God We Trust” being stamped on money, the phrase being used as a national motto and “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were not endorsed by the founders; they are of much more recent vintage. The Pledge of Allegiance, <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/julyaugust-2002-church-state/featured/a-preacher-the-pledge-and-patriotism">originally written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy</a>, was secular. “Under God” was added in 1954. “In God We Trust” first appeared on money in northern states during the Civil War and was not codified for use on all currency until 1955. “In God We Trust” was adopted as the national motto in 1956. (So, what was going on in the 1950s that brought all of this about? America’s epic struggle with “godless communism” in the Soviet Union.)</p> <p><strong>5. James Madison wrote the First Amendment’s religious freedom provisions, but you can see the hand of Thomas Jefferson as well. </strong>James Madison is called the Father of the Constitution and was a primary author of the Bill of Rights. But when it comes to the First Amendment, Madison took inspiration from his ally Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson introduced his <a href="https://virginiahistory.org/learn/thomas-jefferson-and-virginia-statute-religious-freedom">Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom</a> in 1776, but it didn’t become law until Madison pushed it through the General Assembly in 1786. The law did two things: It stated that no Virginian “shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever,” and it guaranteed all “shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.” Those two key concepts – no forced support for religion and a guarantee of religious freedom – surfaced again in the First Amendment.</p> <p>We know that the Constitution wasn’t perfect. It embraced slavery, and it left too many people out of the American experiment. That’s why we’ve had to occasionally amend it. But here’s what the framers got exactly right: secular government and church-state separation. Celebrate them both on Constitution Day.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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 class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/constitution" hreflang="en">Constitution</a></div> <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/ceremonial-deism" hreflang="en">Ceremonial Deism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/under-god" hreflang="en">under god</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/pledge-allegiance" hreflang="en">Pledge of Allegiance</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/francis-bellamy" hreflang="en">Francis Bellamy</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/article-vi" hreflang="en">Article VI</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/charles-pinckney" hreflang="en">Charles Pinckney</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/virginia" hreflang="en">Virginia</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Thu, 16 Sep 2021 12:47:47 +0000 boston 17003 at https://www.au.org Gaining Momentum, Do No Harm Act Reintroduced In U.S. Senate https://www.au.org/blogs/Senate-Booker-Do-No-Harm-Act <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Gaining Momentum, Do No Harm Act Reintroduced In U.S. Senate</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Sep 15, 2021 - 10:46</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Capitol%20Building%20cropped_0.jpg?h=3cbf8026&amp;itok=l6-Dqi5s" width="1700" height="525" alt="US Capitol" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today re-introduced an important piece of legislation called the Do No Harm Act (DNHA) in the Senate. The Senate bill was previously sponsored by Vice President Kamala Harris when she served in the Senate. It’s about time that this bill becomes law.</p> <p>Here’s why we need the Do No Harm Act:</p> <p>In 1993, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed a bill called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA for short. The legislation was a response to <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1989/88-1213">a 1990 Supreme Court decision</a> that changed the test that applied to free exercise cases making it harder for religious minorities to win the religious freedom cases in court.</p> <p>A diverse coalition, including AU, supported RFRA because it was intended to restore those protections – namely, by requiring that the government prove it has a compelling reason for policies that place substantial burdens on someone’s religious practices.</p> <p>Unfortunately, in the years since, RFRA has been misused in ways many of its original backers would never have supported. For example, RFRA has been cited as the rationale to deny employees and university students insurance coverage for birth control, allow government contractors and other taxpayer-funded organizations to discriminate in employment for jobs in government-funded programs and let taxpayer-funded foster care agencies turn away potential parents because they are the “wrong” religion or LGBTQ, denying children in foster care the opportunity to find loving homes.</p> <p>It’s vital that we restore RFRA back to its original purpose and make it clear that religious freedom is a shield to protect us all, not a sword to harm others.</p> <p>That’s where the Do Harm Act comes in. It will amend RFRA to ensure that no one misuses it to undermine nondiscrimination laws, deny access to health care, thwart workplace protections, refuse to provide government-funded services or evade child labor laws.</p> <p>Sen. Booker joined U.S. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), who currently sponsor this bill in the House, to push for the passage of this important legislation. Be sure to contact your Senators and Representative and ask them to <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/At9c5otS2U26aVX-eeb3yA2?ms=web_0221">cosponsor</a> this important legislation.</p> <p>You can learn more about the Do No Harm Act <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/do-no-harm-act">here</a>.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-health-care" hreflang="en">Denials of Health Care</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/do-no-harm-act" hreflang="en">Do No Harm Act</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/cory-booker" hreflang="en">Cory Booker</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/senate" hreflang="en">Senate</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Wed, 15 Sep 2021 14:46:23 +0000 LHayes 17002 at https://www.au.org Trump Evangelical Advisers Gear Up For A Possible Second Coming https://www.au.org/blogs/trump-evangelical-group <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Trump Evangelical Advisers Gear Up For A Possible Second Coming</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Sep 14, 2021 - 08:36</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-authored-by--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-authored-by.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-authored-by.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Trump%20VVS%20Arms%20Wide_2.JPG?h=e19c73c8&amp;itok=mr7NBwdt" width="1700" height="525" alt="Trump VVS" title="Trump VVS" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Yesterday this blog examined <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/NACL-in-states">a new effort by Christian nationalists</a> to push their theocratic agenda in the states. At the risk sounding like a late-night TV infomercial huckster, today we’re compelled to say, “But wait! There’s more!”</p> <p>The “more” in this case is news that former President Donald Trump is <a href="https://religionnews.com/2021/09/04/trump-and-his-religion-advisors-launch-new-national-faith-advisory-board/">pulling together his old gang of far-right evangelical advisers</a> in what is likely to be an effort to intervene in the 2022 midterm elections and perhaps pave the way for another Trump run in 2024.</p> <p>According to Religion News Service reporter Jack Jenkins, TV preacher Paula White, who led faith-based efforts during the Trump presidency, held a conference call earlier this month with “70 executives” from various conservative groups and houses of worship to jumpstart the effort.</p> <p>White referred to a shadowy <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/october-2018-church-state/cover-story/all-the-presidents-men-and-women-members-of">Evangelical Advisory Board</a> that existed during Trump’s time in office and was studded with Christian nationalist leaders.</p> <p>“It grew to the most robust coalition in modern-day history,” White claimed. “Our unity brought unprecedented victories, influence and access.”</p> <p>Jenkins reported that White was joined on the call by Jennifer Korn, who served as a special assistant to Trump through his White House Office of Public Liaison. Korn remarked that the new advisory board would be “continuing the work of the White House Office of Public Liaison on the outside to make sure that we are one strong voice.”</p> <p>Trump joined the call, and, not surprisingly, took up most of the time by blustering about an election that he still won’t accept he lost. Jenkins reported that the former president groused about the fact that he didn’t do better with Catholic and Jewish voters in 2020 and criticized President Joe Biden’s record on religion issues – that record being Biden’s efforts to reverse Trump policies that misused religious freedom to justify discrimination and harm to LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities and the nonreligious, among others.</p> <p>Trump also repeated the false claim the election was stolen from him, and he lied, again, about the role of religious groups in politics. He claimed that he “totally obliterated” the <a href="https://religionnews.com/2017/05/04/the-splainer-what-is-the-johnson-amendment-and-why-did-trump-gut-it/">Johnson Amendment</a>, a federal law that bars tax-exempt nonprofits, including houses of worship, from intervening in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates. Trump did issue an executive order in 2017 dealing with the Johnson Amendment, but it was mere verbiage that did not affect the status of the law.</p> <p>At the end of the call, Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church near Dallas issued a prayer seeking spiritual correction for “those Americans that voted the wrong way” – that is, for Biden – then added a hefty dose from the Big Lie that the election was stolen: “I pray, Lord, that you will do something even, also, Lord, for our election system. That we will never have another election stolen from the American people, from the American people. We should be concerned about that. So, Lord, whatever we need to do to fix the electoral process, I pray for that.”</p> <p>During the call, Trump referred to policies that might be pursued “if we’re able to get back in.” Trump has not formally announced any plans for 2024 yet, but the formation of this group is an indication that if he makes another run, Christian nationalists will be prepared to do whatever it takes, including spreading lies, to ease his way back.</p> <p><em>Photo: Donald Trump addresses the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit</em></p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/paula-white" hreflang="en">Paula White</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/evangelical-advisory-board" hreflang="en">Evangelical Advisory Board</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/evangelical-christianity" hreflang="en">Evangelical Christianity</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/johnson-amendment" hreflang="en">Johnson Amendment</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Tue, 14 Sep 2021 12:36:10 +0000 boston 16998 at https://www.au.org Christian Nationalists Have A New Scheme To Take Over The Country https://www.au.org/blogs/NACL-in-states <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Christian Nationalists Have A New Scheme To Take Over The Country</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon Sep 13, 2021 - 08:30</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-authored-by--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-authored-by.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-authored-by.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/La.%20statehouse%2C%209.13.21.jpg?h=da1ed59e&amp;itok=nsUr14HU" width="1700" height="525" alt="Louisiana legislature" title="Louisiana legislature" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Frederick Clarkson, a longtime researcher of Christian nationalism and an ally of Americans United, has written <a href="https://religiondispatches.org/bill-mill-ennialism-arkansas-end-times-politics-may-be-coming-to-a-state-near-you/">a powerful exposé</a> for “Religion Dispatches” about a new effort to swamp state legislatures with bills that would undermine church-state separation.</p> <p>You may be thinking, “Isn’t that <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/project-blitz">Project Blitz</a>?” And yes, that Christian nationalist drive is still going full steam. This new project, in fact, involves some of the same cast of characters, chief among them Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway).</p> <p>Clarkson reports:</p> <p>“The former Chairman of the Arkansas State Legislative Prayer Caucus, (AKA <a href="https://religiondispatches.org/tag/project-blitz/">Project Blitz</a>) Rapert founded an offshoot bill mill in 2019 called the <a href="https://christianlawmakers.com/">National Association of Christian Lawmakers</a> (NACL). This emerging Christian Right network now has chapter chairs in 23 states, has held two small national conferences, enjoys the backing of some major leaders of the Christian Right, and, in August 2021, launched a weeknight <a href="https://1011fmtheanswer.com/radioshow/9728">radio talk show</a>, with Rapert as host, on a Little Rock station (part of the Christian Right Salem Media network.) Most of his early guests have been NACL leaders but Rapert plans to expand to national platforms. NACL is currently little known outside the leadership and the farther reaches of the Christian Right but it may be a bellwether of the movement’s evolution as a new generation of leaders emerges and movement strategy continues to mature.”</p> <p>For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “bill mill” is an outside organization that drafts model legislation, then hands off to friendly lawmakers in state governments. This explains why certain bills, such as proposals to plaster “In God We Trust” signs in public schools or bills that would sneak creationism into public schools under the guise of “teaching the controversy,” seem to appear in waves – they have a central source.</p> <p>One of the best-known bill mills out there is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a far-right organization that focuses mainly on issues like school vouchers, taxes and schemes to shrink the size of the government. Clarkson, citing another writer, notes that ALEC is clearly the model for NACL.</p> <p>“According to a <a href="https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/12/02/alec-host-free-speech-dinner-anti-lgbt-group-arizona/">report</a> by David Armia of the Center for Media and Democracy, the venerable rightwing business-focused bill mill American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) provided a forum to NACL at its annual meeting in Austin, Texas in December 2019,” writes Clarkson. “There, Rapert claims to have secured <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/6xa8edc">nine state chairs</a>. He says that NACL is modeled after ALEC and seeks to convene legislators like ALEC does, but ‘to address major policy concerns from a Biblical worldview,’ and to ‘train and elect Christians to serve in public office so that our nation honors God once again.’”</p> <p>Be wary of the term “Biblical worldview.” The people who use it mean a very <em>specific</em> interpretation of the Bible (theirs) – one that is anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-science, anti-women’s rights and anti-religious freedom and pluralism. They recognize no division between church and state. And when these folks use the word “Christian,” they don’t mean the nice, moderate Episcopalians down the block from you. To them, the only true Christians are extreme religious fundamentalists who are obsessed with using the government to force everyone to believe the same way they do. They yearn for theocracy.</p> <p>Recent events have underscored the damage the people who hold this mindset can do. Just look at Texas, with its new <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Denounce-Texas-Abortion-Ban">anti-abortion law</a> that’s so dystopian it sounds like it came from the pages of a <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Handmaids-Tale-by-Atwood">Margaret Atwood novel</a> (and – surprise! – it’s already being <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/571392-red-states-eye-texas-abortion-law-as-new-model">exported to other states</a>).</p> <p>Clarkson’s article is a warning. Despite the problems this nation faces with the coronavirus pandemic, the unsettled state of the economy and threats from abroad, Christian nationalists are bound and determined to make the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election all about divisive culture war issues.</p> <p>We know what’s coming. We’d better be prepared to meet it.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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 class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/project-blitz" hreflang="en">Project Blitz</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/fred-clarkson" hreflang="en">Fred Clarkson</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/sen-jason-rapert" hreflang="en">Sen. Jason Rapert</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/arkansas" hreflang="en">Arkansas</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/alec" hreflang="en">ALEC</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/abortion" hreflang="en">Abortion</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Mon, 13 Sep 2021 12:30:07 +0000 boston 16997 at https://www.au.org AU Student Essay Contest Finalist: The Do No Harm Act Reflects The Values Of My Christian Faith https://www.au.org/blogs/Essay-Sarah-Geist <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">AU Student Essay Contest Finalist: The Do No Harm Act Reflects The Values Of My Christian Faith</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Sep 09, 2021 - 07:00</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Sarah%20Geist%20banner.png?h=d25a63f0&amp;itok=tZY83bBP" width="1700" height="525" alt="Sarah Geist" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><strong>By Sarah Geist</strong></p> <p><em>Editor’s Note: Sarah Geist, a 2021 high school graduate from San Diego who will attend Wellesley College in Massachusetts this fall, supports the Do No Harm Act because it promotes the values of her Christian faith. Sarah’s essay placed second in AU’s 2021 Student Essay Contest, winning a $1,000 prize. You can learn more about the contest and the other finalists <a href="https://www.au.org/essaycontest2021">here</a>.</em></p> <hr /> <p>I am a Christian, and I support the <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/do-no-harm-act">Do No Harm Act</a>. My fellow Christians, particularly those on the Religious Right, have tried to frame this bill as being anti-religion. This is simply untrue.</p> <p>Unlike the opposition to the Do No Harm Act, its supporters are an extremely <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/2021-02-25%20-%20DNHA%20Endorsing%20Organizations.pdf">diverse coalition</a> of religious and atheist groups, civil rights organizations and health organizations. Several of these groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, supported the <a href="https://www.au.org/content/religious-freedom-restoration-act-rfra">Religious Freedom Restoration Act</a> in 1993 because they saw that it would prevent harm to vulnerable people: members of minority religions that did not have the institutional power that Christianity had.</p> <p>In 2014, in <em><a href="https://www.au.org/our-work/legal/lawsuits/burwell-v-hobby-lobby-stores-inc">Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores</a></em>, the Supreme Court decided that closely held for-profit corporations can be exempt from government regulations if said regulations conflict with their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby had refused to provide birth control coverage to its employees, and was allowed to continue doing so despite the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. That is to say, being associated with a powerful majority religion, which in this case is Christianity, allowed Hobby Lobby to be above the law. It could use the cover of religious freedom to impede its employees’ right to health care. This decision, and the Trump administration’s advocacy for similar policies and decisions, played a significant role in the shift in support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.</p> <p>Our democracy is based on the principle that no one is above the law, and no one has the right to interfere with another person’s freedom. These principles are closely linked with the separation of church and state: No religion, no matter how powerful, has the right to cause harm; no religion is above the law. The Christian Right does not acknowledge the need for a separation of church and state, even denying its existence. They instead only see religious freedom as a cover to force their beliefs – my beliefs – onto vulnerable and marginalized people. It is clear that this is un-American: As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/march-2021-church-state-magazine/featured/a-word-from-john-adams-a-224-year-old-treaty">Treaty of Tripoli</a>, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”</p> <p>Tragically, the abuse of religious freedom goes beyond defying the statements of our Founding Fathers. In my experience, it has also caused great harm to the Christian faith. As Christians misuse the sacred right to the freedom of religion, several acquaintances of mine, who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, come to associate my faith with hate, discrimination and injustice. They choose not to be associated with a religion that they see as an evil religion. No greater harm can be done to the Christian church than to be hated for the actions of its own members, and yet this is an acceptable price to opponents of the Do No Harm Act.</p> <p>This does not come as a surprise: My fellow Christians have cited religious freedom as a defense of their discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The most well-known cases of this are the Supreme Court case <em><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-supreme-courts-masterpiece-cakeshop-ruling-what-really-happened">Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</a></em> and the actions of the county clerk <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-twisted-saga-of-anti-lgbtq-clerk-kim-davis-ends-with-her-unemployment">Kim Davis</a>. In <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop</em>, the business had cited its belief in Christianity to defend not baking a wedding cake for a gay couple, whereas Davis refused to issue marriage licenses for gay couples based on her faith.</p> <p>These examples illustrate the belief that Christians in particular are prohibited from any form of participation in same-sex marriage, a prohibition that even extends to baking a wedding cake or providing a marriage license for gay couples. These Christians, as the argument goes, are directly harmed by being forced to disobey the precepts of their religion to avoid offending the LGBTQ+ community.</p> <p>This argument has two significant flaws. The first is that the harm that is done to the LGBTQ+ community by being refused service and by facing discrimination at the hands of religion is much greater than the harm to these Christians, a discrepancy that is exemplified most tragically by the high suicide rate among the LGBTQ+ community. Secondly, Christianity does not prohibit its followers from playing a role in same-sex marriage. We as Christians are in fact commanded to love our neighbors as well as our enemies, unconditionally and without judgement. This commandment is disobeyed by those who use their faith to excuse discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.</p> <p>The Do No Harm Act is also accused of interfering with the separation of church and state, despite being intended to defend this principle. It will supposedly enable government interference in religious practices that are defended by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which opponents of the bill argue will drive religion out of the public sphere. This is, again, an inaccurate and misleading characterization. The Do No Harm Act does not prohibit public expressions of religion or religious practices that do not harm other people. The action taken in the Do No Harm Act is limited to preventing freedom of religion from being misused to cause harm, and as such will not interfere with religious beliefs or their public expression.</p> <p>I support the Do No Harm Act as an American and as a human being because it will minimize the harm to the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our society; I support it as a Christian because it will promote the true values and principles of my faith – to love unconditionally and protect those around us from harm. To act on these American and Christian values, it is imperative to fight for the passage of the Do No Harm Act: <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/At9c5otS2U26aVX-eeb3yA2?ms=web_0221">Contact your representatives</a> in Congress and make your support for the bill clear. Encourage your friends, colleagues and neighbors to do likewise. The time has come to fight for equal rights. As President Joe Biden, another Christian, would say: We must restore the soul of America.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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/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/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/marriage-equality" hreflang="en">Marriage Equality</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/do-no-harm-act" hreflang="en">Do No Harm Act</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/hobby-lobby" hreflang="en">Hobby Lobby</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/kim-davis" hreflang="en">Kim Davis</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Thu, 09 Sep 2021 11:00:52 +0000 LHayes 16985 at https://www.au.org AU Student Essay Contest Finalist: The Do No Harm Act Would Help Protect Transgender Rights https://www.au.org/blogs/Essay-Oliver-Petersen <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">AU Student Essay Contest Finalist: The Do No Harm Act Would Help Protect Transgender Rights</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Sep 08, 2021 - 08:00</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Oliver%20Petersen%20Banner.png?h=0bbe682b&amp;itok=X0Vcuc0G" width="1700" height="525" alt="Oliver Petersen" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><strong>By Oliver Petersen</strong></p> <p><em>Editor’s Note: Oliver Petersen, a 2021 graduate from the School Without Walls High School in Washington, D.C., writes about how the Do No Harm Act will help protect the rights of transgender people. Oliver’s essay placed third in AU’s 2021 Student Essay Contest, winning a $500 prize. You can learn more about the contest and the other finalists <a href="https://www.au.org/essaycontest2021">here</a>.</em></p> <hr /> <p>In the past decade, transgender people have become much more widely recognized and accepted within the United States. Prominent transgender figures, such as Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Elliot Page, have used their platforms to garner public support concerning trans issues, which has helped drastically shift public opinion. In fact, <a href="https://www.prri.org/research/americas-growing-support-for-transgender-rights/">recent polling</a> by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2019 found that 62% of Americans reported that they have become “more supportive toward transgender rights compared to their views five years ago.”</p> <p>As a transgender person myself, the rise in support and understanding amongst friends and family due to increased awareness and representation in the past few years has been palpable. However, despite these positive changes, transgender people in the U.S. still face discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives, effecting their physical and mental well-being, as well as their ability to lead normal and healthy lives.</p> <p>Over the past 5 years, especially during the Trump administration, constant streams of policies have been introduced and passed on both the state and federal levels that negatively impact transgender people, specifically in the realms of health care, education and employment. Notably, many of these bills allowed and encouraged the right to deny transgender people services and care on religious grounds, due to exploitation of the <a href="https://www.au.org/content/religious-freedom-restoration-act-rfra">Religious Freedom Restoration Act</a> (RFRA).</p> <p>This act, which was put in place to provide heightened but not unlimited protections for religious minorities, has been used in bad faith for decades. Although RFRA was created with the best of intentions, and at its creation was backed by many civil rights groups, it has been abused in cases like <em><a href="https://www.au.org/our-work/legal/lawsuits/burwell-v-hobby-lobby-stores-inc">Burwell v. Hobby Lobby</a> </em>and <em><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/supreme-court-bostock">EEOC v. R.G. &amp; G.R. Harris Funeral Homes</a></em>, and has been used as precedent to attack almost every aspect of transgender people’s lives, effectively setting back many of the strides that have been made as a country regarding anti-discrimination laws.</p> <p>The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been particularly harmful with its anti-transgender policies. In 2018 <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/denial-of-care-rule">HHS proposed a policy</a> called the Denial of Care Rule that the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) <a href="https://transequality.org/the-discrimination-administration">said</a> “encouraged medical providers to use religious grounds to deny treatment to transgender people,” and in 2019 published the final rule “encouraging hospital officials, staff, and insurance companies to deny care to transgender patients based on religious or moral beliefs.” This policy, even if eventually challenged and <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/judge-throws-out-trumps-denial-of-care-rule-in-case-brought-by-americans">blocked</a> in court, is extremely threatening as it sets a dangerous precedent and increases mistrust transgender people have of the health care system.</p> <p>In fact, according to the <a href="https://www.ustranssurvey.org/">2015 U.S. Transgender Survey</a>, almost 25% of respondents reported avoiding medical help when they needed it due to fear of being discriminated against. These fears held by transgender people are not in any way unfounded, as the same survey found that “33% of respondents reported having at least one negative experience with a health care provider in the past year related to being transgender.” The barriers established by the HHS’s discriminatory policies make it harder for transgender people to seek routine health care that is unrelated to their transgender identity, leaving individuals vulnerable to illness and larger health issues later in life.</p> <p>Anti-transgender legislation with religious justification has also been pushed by the Department of Labor, affecting employment. In 2019, the department announced a <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/employment-discrimination-rule">proposed rule</a> that NCTE said would radically expand “the ability of federal contractors to exempt themselves from equal employment opportunity requirements, allowing employers to impose ‘religious criteria’ on LGBT employees.” As with health care, this kind of legislation affects transgender people’s quality of life, and exacerbates the existing barriers to employment.</p> <p>This problem is outlined in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, in which it is reported that the unemployment rate for transgender people is 3 times the national average, and that “30% of transgender employees reported having been fired, denied a promotion, or experienced another form of mistreatment in the workplace due to their gender identity or expression.” With limited access to workplaces that are safe and affirming, transgender people are put at greater risk for poverty, homelessness and involvement with criminalized work.</p> <p>Discriminatory anti-transgender policies favoring religious institutions also affect transgender youth in America’s schools. In 2019 the Department of Education “<a href="https://transequality.org/the-discrimination-administration">published regulations</a> permitting religious schools to ignore nondiscrimination standards.” These policies are extremely dangerous to vulnerable transgender youth, many of whom are struggling with their identities and are not accepted by their families. In school, students must feel comfortable in order to foster an effective learning environment; however, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that “84% of transgender students do not always feel safe in the classroom.” This not only affects a student’s ability to learn, but also can be detrimental to their mental and physical well-being. These issues are some of main factors as to why 17% of transgender students drop out of school before the age of 18, according to the survey. By ignoring nondiscrimination policies, these schools put transgender youth at a serious risk of harassment or violence. (<em>Editor’s note: The Department of Education <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Education-Department-Reconsider-Discrimination-Rule">recently announced it is reconsidering this rule</a>, which Americans United is challenging in court</em>.)</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/do-no-harm-act">Do No Harm Act</a> would be monumental for the protection of transgender rights as they relate to church and state separation. Over the years, we’ve seen people attempt to and successfully use the freedom of religion as a front to openly push hateful and discriminatory legislation, which must come to an end. Those in opposition, such as the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, say that this act will “do significant harm to the landscape of legal protections foundational to America’s first freedom,” when, in reality, the Do No Harm Act will continue protecting freedom of religion, while strengthening RFRA to make sure that individuals, businesses and government bodies cannot use said freedom to trample on those most vulnerable.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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/transgender-rights" hreflang="en">Transgender Rights</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-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/do-no-harm-act" hreflang="en">Do No Harm Act</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/employment-discrimination-rule" hreflang="en">Employment Discrimination Rule</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/denial-of-care-rule" hreflang="en">Denial of Care Rule</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/us-department-education" hreflang="en">U.S. Department of Education</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/title-vii" hreflang="en">Title VII</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Wed, 08 Sep 2021 12:00:00 +0000 LHayes 16986 at https://www.au.org Announcing AU’s 2021 Student Essay Contest Winners – All Supporters Of The Do No Harm Act https://www.au.org/blogs/Essay-Contest-2021-Announcement <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Announcing AU’s 2021 Student Essay Contest Winners – All Supporters Of The Do No Harm Act</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Sep 07, 2021 - 08:40</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-authored-by--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-authored-by.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-authored-by.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/alicia-johnson" hreflang="en">Alicia Johnson</a></div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Essay%20Contest%20Landing%20Pager%20Banner.png?h=d058159d&amp;itok=7tS3kgOn" width="1700" height="525" alt="Michael Hallinan, Sarah Geist &amp; Oliver Petersen" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>“The Do Not Harm Act would bring about an immeasurable amount of safety, security and above all hope,” says Michael Hallinan, in his first-place submission to Americans United’s 2021 Student Essay Contest. Young people across the country agreed with Michael – we were blown away to receive over 330 submissions to this year’s contest, which asked high school students to make the case for the <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/do-no-harm-act">Do No Harm Act</a>, important federal legislation to protect religious freedom and equality for all.</p> <p>Regular readers of this blog and longtime supporters will know that <a href="https://www.au.org/essaycontest2021">AU’s annual essay contest</a> is one way we encourage young people to reflect on why religious freedom and church-state separation are important to them, their peers, their families and their communities. And now I’m thrilled to share the 2021 winners with you. </p> <p>In his winning essay, Hallinan, a resident of Lakewood, Colo., shares his perspective as a gay, Christian teenager fighting for equality for all, including in foster care and adoption programs. Sarah Geist of San Diego won second place for her essay which makes the case for why her fellow Christians should support the Do No Harm Act despite the flawed claims of the Religious Right. And Oliver Petersen of Washington, D.C., wrote about the importance of the Do No Harm Act to address discrimination against transgender people, especially in health care and employment.</p> <p>These three essays rose to the top of hundreds submissions from across the country that included personal experiences, compelling storytelling, historical research, policy analysis and more. The AU team read meticulously through these thoughtful and well-written submissions throughout the spring. We first narrowed the submissions down to fifteen finalists, then a panel of youth leaders and staff from across the organization read, discussed and chose the three winners from among the finalists. </p> <p>It was difficult to choose just three winners, but we think you’ll agree: The prize-winning essays are passionately written, well-researched and articulate a strong argument for how the Do No Harm Act would impact church-state separation and the real lives of people in the United States. The contest winners received prizes of $500-1,500 and will have their essays published on this blog this week. Our top prize winner was also featured in <em>Church &amp; State </em>magazine this month; you can read that article <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2021-church-state-magazine/featured/art-science-and-activism-meet-michael">here</a><em>.</em> </p> <p>Keep visiting <a href="https://www.au.org/">au.org</a> and our social media channels @americansunited on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/americansunited">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/americansunited">Twitter </a>and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/americansunited/">Instagram</a> over the next three days as we share more about the third-, second- and first-place prize winners, and be sure to share them with your networks to help us amplify the voices of the youngest generation fighting for church-state separation.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/student-essay-contest" hreflang="en">Student Essay Contest</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/essay-contest" hreflang="en">Essay Contest</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/do-no-harm-act" hreflang="en">Do No Harm Act</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Tue, 07 Sep 2021 12:40:14 +0000 LHayes 16993 at https://www.au.org AU Student Essay Contest Winner: Do No Harm Act Would Bring Safety And Hope For LGBTQ People https://www.au.org/blogs/Essay-Michael-Hallinan <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">AU Student Essay Contest Winner: Do No Harm Act Would Bring Safety And Hope For LGBTQ People</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Sep 07, 2021 - 06:01</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Hallinan%20banner.png?h=71fa26c7&amp;itok=Pj2hFpOm" width="1700" height="525" alt="Michael Hallinan" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><strong>By Michael Hallinan</strong></p> <p><em>Editor’s Note: Michael Hallinan, a 2021 graduate from Lakewood High School in Colorado who will attend the Colorado School of Mines this fall, reflects on how the Do No Harm Act would help protect the rights of LGBTQ people like him. Michael’s essay placed first in AU’s 2021 Student Essay Contest, winning a $1,500 prize. You can learn more about the contest and the other finalists <a href="https://www.au.org/essaycontest2021">here</a>.</em></p> <hr /> <p>Religion is one of the few social concepts that can shape and define an individual’s life. It can determine how we choose to interact, the clothes we wear, the people we associate with, the beliefs we have and how we choose to perceive the world. Religion can be beautiful and instrumental, but it can also be harmful.</p> <p>When the <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/pences-pandora-problem-ind-governor-signs-troubling-religious-freedom-bill">Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act</a> (RFRA) was introduced in 2015, the focus was never on maintaining freedom and beauty, but preserving discrimination and the ability to subjugate others to one’s own beliefs. Fortunately, activists are currently trying to purge the impurities and injustice lurking in the <a href="https://www.au.org/content/religious-freedom-restoration-act-rfra">federal RFRA</a> through the <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/do-no-harm-act">Do No Harm Act</a> (DNHA), which seeks to prevent protections granted by the federal RFRA from being weaponized and manipulated to harm others.</p> <p>As a gay teenager, one of the most worrying aspects of the RFRA to me surrounds the ability to adopt children. Children are one of the most beautiful parts of life for most people. They can be an outlet for creating a unique and often unbreakable life­long bond and bring more meaning to one’s own life. However, for some people like me, having kids biologically isn’t an option. I often daydream about my future, hopefully being able to have a husband and eventually adopting some beautiful kids, fulfilling some of my lifelong goals. However, the reality of my dreams is appearing more like an unattainable fantasy as I hear about cases like <em><a href="https://www.au.org/tags/fulton-v-the-city-of-philadelphia">Fulton v. City of Philadelphia</a></em>.</p> <p>Within <em>Fulton v. City of Philadelphia</em>, <a href="https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/foster-adoption-lgbtq-gay-same-sex-philly-bethany-archdiocese-20180313.html">Megan Pazko</a>, a future foster parent who was thoroughly prepared, applied to make her and her partner’s dreams of fostering happen. However, all of that was crushed when she was told that they (the foster care agency) “didn’t want to waste two hours of our time” as they didn’t work with LGBTQ people because of the agency’s religious beliefs, although the city had a paid contractual relationship with them. Fortunately, the agency Pazko worked with caved because of their contract being threatened; however, a similar group, Catholic Social Services (CSS), has not. Upon Philadelphia’s termination of CSS’s contract because of their LGBT discrimination, the case has been brought to the Supreme Court, with the outcome still being undetermined as of May 2021. <em>(Editor’s Note: <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/Supreme-Court-Fulton">The court narrowly backed CSS in June</a></em>.)</p> <p>Existing as an LGBT individual is already challenging enough, but knowing that your government, a body who is supposed to protect and support your rights, lacks the backbone to fully protect you, leaves you feeling vulnerable, uncertain and, worst of all, hopeless. People like me and Pazko aren’t the only ones left exposed though. This extends to all the United States’ population whether it’s in health care that cases like <em><a href="https://www.au.org/our-work/legal/lawsuits/burwell-v-hobby-lobby-stores-inc">Burwell v. Hobby Lobby</a></em> try to eliminate or the evading of child labor laws.</p> <p>The Do No Harm Act would bring about an immeasurable amount of safety, security and, above all, hope. People of different backgrounds, whether it’s me, Pazko, or any other individual would no longer have to fear for their ability to foster and adopt because of their difference in sexual orientation or their religious background. Additionally, the amount of children desperately needing loving homes would decrease signifi­cantly with this obstacle being removed.</p> <p>Furthermore, these protections extend far past adoption, preventing all facets of religious-oriented workplace discrimination and remove the ability for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to be weaponized. It would rather function as a safeguard for religious believers from all backgrounds, as it was originally intended to. Without the ability to be weaponized, everyone, not just religious minorities or LGBT individuals, will have a tremendous step toward true freedom. This means no longer having to question if your birth control might be denied by your employer, no longer worrying that you might get turned away from a government-funded job because of who you are and the liberating idea that a religious belief may not be weaponized against you, but be shielded from it.</p> <p>Outside of the individual protections both emotional and physical, the Do No Harm act would beautifully enable and uphold the principle of separation of church and state. As an avid Christian myself, it’s extremely challenging to straddle this wall of believing in my religion, whilst still maintaining my identity as a gay man, although many people who share my religion rarely share the idea that my identity is valid or acceptable. This paradox has created a huge emotional rift in myself, with parts of me feeling rejected and outcast, and the other parts of me wanting to engage and advocate for religious freedom, something I’m sure a plethora of Americans might experience.</p> <p>Some may argue the Do No Harm act usurps separation of church and state, or limits religion. However, the Do No Harm Act creates the perfect middle ground for these feelings. It allows for the practice of religion to be sustained, supporting the advocacy side, whilst still enabling protections for my identity and many other institutions and people like it, making this bill necessary for a more equal and free America. The RFRA was never meant to allow the religious beliefs of others to infringe or subjugate outsiders but sanctify personal expression. After all, one can believe whatever they want, but with the RFRA as it currently stands, it doesn’t just stop there. It allows those beliefs to extend and be enforced on others through the law, which encroaches on the idea of separation of church and state, further reinforcing the net positive impact of Do No Harm.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/foster-care" hreflang="en">foster care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/fulton-v-the-city-of-philadelphia" hreflang="en">Fulton v. The City of Philadelphia</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/do-no-harm-act" hreflang="en">Do No Harm Act</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/rfra-0" hreflang="en">RFRA</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Tue, 07 Sep 2021 10:01:00 +0000 LHayes 16984 at https://www.au.org Know Your Rights! How The Ten Commandments Led Me To Americans United https://www.au.org/blogs/Ten-Commandments-School <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Know Your Rights! How The Ten Commandments Led Me To Americans United</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Sep 02, 2021 - 08:34</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-authored-by--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-authored-by.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-authored-by.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/liz-hayes" hreflang="und">Liz Hayes</a></div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Ten%20commandments%20_0.jpg?h=33fe1054&amp;itok=OsDsTGdA" width="1700" height="525" alt="Ten Commandments " title="Ten Commandments " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>In a roundabout way, it was a Ten Commandments display at a public high school that led me to Americans United.</p> <p>I was a journalist in 2012 when <a href="https://archive.triblive.com/local/westmoreland/new-kensington-arnold-responds-to-ten-commandments-monument-lawsuit/">I began reporting on a legal challenge</a> involving a huge Ten Commandments monument in front of a public high school outside Pittsburgh. Local families, assisted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, had filed lawsuits after that school district and another in the region refused to remove the displays.</p> <p>Although I’d grown up in the area and had been to this high school countless times for work, I typically used doors around the side of the building and had never seen the display up close. I had assumed the taller-than-me stone monument in front of the building was inscribed with the name of the school, or perhaps a dedication to students or school leaders. I was stunned and disappointed to learn the district had been displaying the Ten Commandments between the school gym and student parking lot for more than half a century.</p> <p>I was equally disappointed, but not terribly surprised, by the community’s reaction to the lawsuit. Insults and threats were lobbed at the mom who was the lead plaintiff. Rallies and prayer vigils were held, and a Facebook group was created in support of the monument. School officials made what seemed to be conflicting arguments for keeping the display – hardly anyone even knew it was there, but also it was an important historical touchstone for the community. There was little compassion for children who might feel ostracized by a monument declaring a particular religious view.</p> <p>This was essentially my community. I had grown up nearby and attended the neighboring public school district. From what I can recall, I think my small district generally did a decent job respecting the separation of church and state. I don’t remember any prayers or Bible reading in school, and I didn’t learn until I was an adult that some people didn’t believe in evolution.</p> <p>And yet, from the classroom Christmas parties and Christmas carols, to Easter holiday breaks, to my school bus that also stopped at a local Catholic private school, there was a presumption that everyone was Christian. It was anxiety-inducing when I realized in high school that I didn’t believe in God – it felt like something I should hide to avoid being singled out. My school didn’t have a Ten Commandments display (that I know of), but that probably was less because of respect for students’ religious freedom and more because the school hadn’t been built yet in the 1950s when Eagles clubs were donating thousands of monuments to schools and communities across the nation.</p> <p>The phrase “Christian nationalism” wasn’t in my vocabulary then, but I felt it nonetheless – the impression I was somehow less patriotic, less American because I wasn’t Christian like I assumed everyone else was. It felt like such a daring thing to my 16-year-old self when I stopped saying the words “under God” when we recited the Pledge of Allegiance (I certainly wasn’t brave enough to stop saying the Pledge altogether, as was within my rights, unbeknownst to me).</p> <p>That’s why, 15 or so years later, I thought it was very brave for the mom, Marie Schaub, to speak up and challenge that Ten Commandments display. By trying to make her daughter’s high school more welcoming and inclusive for all students, she was challenging the perhaps subconscious – but very real – Christian nationalist mindset of the community. And they let her know they didn’t appreciate her efforts.</p> <p>Although Americans United didn’t represent Marie, AU was one of the organizations that <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/february-2016-church-state/people-events/au-files-legal-briefs-in-two-cases-dealing">filed a legal brief</a> supporting her case. As <a href="https://archive.triblive.com/news/ten-commandments-monument-legal-battle-continues-in-new-kensington-arnold-school-district/">I reported on the litigation</a>, I learned about AU, and its vision really resonated with me – that the separation of church and state is what protects the rights of everyone to believe, or not, as we choose. There can be no religious freedom, no equality, without it. And so, it felt like it was meant to be a few years later when I saw a job posting for AU just as I was looking to leave journalism and move to advocacy communications.</p> <p>I’m proud of the work AU does – including the “<a href="https://www.au.org/knowyourrights">Know Your Rights</a>” guides we just released. My teenage self would have benefitted from knowing what my rights were, and the assurance that not everyone has the same beliefs about religion. And not only is that OK, but it’s inherently, fundamentally American.</p> <p>My only regret is that I didn’t get to report on Marie’s victory in the case. Just a few months after I left the newspaper, <a href="https://archive.triblive.com/news/ten-commandments-to-be-removed-from-valley-high-school-in-new-kensington/">the district agreed to donate the monument to a private Catholic school in the community</a>. It was such an obvious solution that benefited everyone. I just wish it had been reached five years – or five decades – sooner.</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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 class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/schools" hreflang="en">Schools</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/knowyourrights" hreflang="en">Know Your Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/ten-commandments" hreflang="en">Ten Commandments</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/pennsylvania" hreflang="en">Pennsylvania</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/display-of-religious-symbols" hreflang="en">display of religious symbols</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Thu, 02 Sep 2021 12:34:36 +0000 boston 16992 at https://www.au.org Know Your Rights! A Coach At My High School Wanted To Pressure Students To Pray. Americans United Made Him Stop. https://www.au.org/blogs/NJ-prayer-coach <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--title--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--title.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--title.html.twig * field--string.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Know Your Rights! A Coach At My High School Wanted To Pressure Students To Pray. Americans United Made Him Stop.</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--title.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--uid--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--uid.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--uid.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'username' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> <a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/user/username.html.twig' --> </span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--uid.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--created--blog-post.html.twig x field--node--created.html.twig * field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field--created.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Sep 01, 2021 - 08:46</span> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/field--node--created.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'links__node' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: x links--node.html.twig x links--node.html.twig * links.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/content/links--node.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-authored-by--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-authored-by.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-authored-by.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/samantha-sokol" hreflang="und">Samantha Sokol</a></div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-image--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-image.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-image.html.twig * field--image.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_formatter' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image_style' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'image' --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/high%20school%20football%2C%209.1.21.jpg?h=b1a91ebe&amp;itok=GyWyGepv" width="1700" height="525" alt="football " title="football players" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-style.html.twig' --> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'core/themes/classy/templates/field/image-formatter.html.twig' --> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--body--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--body.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--body.html.twig * field--text-with-summary.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>The public high school I attended, East Brunswick High School in central New Jersey, was and still is a microcosm of our country’s religious diversity. My classmates were Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Egyptian Copts, Catholics, Protestants and atheists. While there wasn’t perfect harmony all the time, our school district aimed to protect the religious freedom rights of everyone. But in 2005, when I was in the 8th grade, that goal was put to the test.</p> <p>That year, a few football players, cheerleaders and parents alerted the superintendent that the high school football coach was leading Christian prayers before games, at team dinners and in the locker room. Coach Marcus Borden – or Señor Borden, as I knew him, because he also taught Spanish class – was leading prayers, taking a knee, bowing his head in participation and asking that all students stand and join in. And he told students who were uncomfortable during the prayer that they could wait in the bathroom until it was over.</p> <p>Right away, our school did the right thing. The superintendent told Borden that he could not lead, encourage or participate in student prayer. This is exactly what the U.S. Constitution requires. Federal courts have consistently held that public school employees are forbidden to lead, initiate or participate in religious activities involving students, even when those activities occur before or after school. School staff must not participate in the students’ prayer in any way, and this means that coaches may not take a knee for player-led prayer before or after games. To be clear, <em>students </em>can lead genuinely voluntary and student-initiated prayer as long as it is not coercive or disruptive. But Borden wanted to violate the law and participate.</p> <p>Unfortunately, Borden sued the school district, alleging that they had violated his religious freedom rights. But the district had simply followed the Constitution. The case wound its way through the courts, and eventually, <a href="https://www.au.org/our-work/legal/lawsuits/borden-v-school-district-of-the-township-of-east-brunswick">the school district got a new set of lawyers in their effort to protect students’ religious freedom</a>: the attorneys at Americans United for Separation of Church and State! A federal appeals court not only rejected Borden’s arguments that he had a First Amendment right to lead or join his students in prayer, but also concluded that his conduct actually violated that amendment. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2009, thus preserving AU’s victory on the school district's behalf.</p> <p>While I wouldn’t work at AU for another decade, I already knew that Borden’s conduct was wrong in 2005. Public schools are a unifying force in our diverse community. But a coach and teacher leading Christian prayers made many students – including me – feel alienated in our own school. I remember Borden as a great coach and enthusiastic Spanish teacher. But even if they don’t mean to, a coach and teacher leading a prayer sends the message that every kid should join in – or they might never make it off the bench at the game or get extra credit in Spanish class. While I wasn’t on the football team or the cheerleading squad, I remember feeling frustrated that a coach and teacher was imposing his religious beliefs on our classmates.</p> <p>As a Jewish student, hearing a Christian prayer endorsed by a teacher at a school event would really hurt. And unfortunately, some other students who supported Borden made hateful and anti-Semitic comments online about the Jewish students they believed had complained to the district in the first place. It divided our community and made religious minorities, including me, feel unsafe and unwelcome. All of this could have been avoided if the coach had simply followed the law.</p> <p>But there’s a hero in this story: my public school district! I feel fortunate that I attended a public school that defended the religious freedom rights of all students. Their actions protected students like me and ensured that our school could remain welcoming to students of all faiths and none for years to come.</p> <p>If you’re a student or teacher at a public school, you should get familiar with our new <a href="https://www.au.org/knowyourrights">Know Your Rights guides</a> so that you can be a defender of religious freedom too. If you see a violation like this one in your public schools, you can report it to us <a href="https://www.au.org/get-involved/report-a-violation/FAQ">here</a>. Who knows – one day, Americans United attorneys might be headed to court in your town to advocate for your religious freedom!</p></div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-issues--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-issues.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-issues.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <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 class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/schools" hreflang="en">Schools</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <!-- THEME DEBUG --> <!-- THEME HOOK: 'field' --> <!-- FILE NAME SUGGESTIONS: * field--node--field-tags--blog-post.html.twig * field--node--field-tags.html.twig x field--node--blog-post.html.twig * field--field-tags.html.twig * field--entity-reference.html.twig * field.html.twig --> <!-- BEGIN OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/knowyourrights" hreflang="en">Know Your Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/new-jersey" hreflang="en">New Jersey</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/coercive-prayer" hreflang="en">coercive prayer</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/east-brunswick-high-school" hreflang="en">East Brunswick high school</a></div> </div> </div> <!-- END OUTPUT from 'themes/custom/au/templates/field/field--node--blog-post.html.twig' --> Wed, 01 Sep 2021 12:46:35 +0000 boston 16990 at https://www.au.org