The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/ en Is Trump’s Christian Nationalist ‘History’ Coming To A School Near You? https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/Trump-Rewrite-History <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Is Trump’s Christian Nationalist ‘History’ Coming To A School Near You?</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 09/29/2020 - 11:09</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Sad%20student%20in%20classroom%20cropped_0.jpg?h=93498c1b&amp;itok=qJnVw3IN" width="1700" height="525" alt="Sad student in classroom" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Amid the battle over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor, it’s easy to forget that other things are happening out there in the world – and some of them are very troubling.</p> <p>Consider, for example, President Donald Trump’s effort to determine how history is taught in our schools.</p> <p>On Constitution Day (Sept. 17, the anniversary of when our founding document was signed in 1787), Trump announced the <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/516941-trump-announces-commission-to-further-patriotic-education">formation of a commission</a> to “teach our children about the miracle of American history.” Like many who want to ignore systemic racism in the United States, he bemoaned the release of curriculum materials associated with the <a href="https://pulitzercenter.org/lesson-plan-grouping/1619-project-curriculum">1619 Project</a>, the Pulitzer Prize-winning effort launched by <em>The New York Times</em> last year that prods schools to do a better job explaining the role slavery played in the development of our nation.</p> <p>There are a couple of problems with Trump’s approach, however. One is that we don’t have a national curriculum in this country. State officials work with local public school systems to set educational standards. Local control used to be something conservatives extolled – until some schools started doing things the far-right doesn’t like, such as teaching a more accurate, balanced view of history.</p> <p>The second problem is that Trump doesn’t understand what history is or what it’s supposed to do. The purpose of history is to relate what happened and why. If we can learn from that or avoid repeating past mistakes, all the better, but the idea is not to mold people into patriots, persuade them to adopt “my country right or wrong” rhetoric or relate “miracle” stories.</p> <p>Facing history square-on can be an uncomfortable task, but it’s a necessary one. It means that you deal with the good, the bad and the ugly – and that you avoid the temptation to turn famous figures into secular saints. When we talk about separation of religion and government, for example, we must grapple with the fact that many of the same founders who wrote eloquently about human rights and freedoms also embraced slavery and considered Blacks to be 3/5 of a person. Their moral flaws and contradictions are a vital part of the story. Telling that story isn’t meant to take away from their achievements but to remind us that we were a nation birthed in liberty only for some. To deny the stories of those who were not included isn’t teaching history; it’s a whitewash.</p> <p>Christian nationalists, of course, have their own version of our nation’s founding. Just as creationists decided they were offended by evolution and came up with a fact-free alternative called “creationism,” Christian nationalists have crafted a fictionalized story of America; it’s the tale of a “Christian nation” especially loved by God whose Manifest Destiny was to march from sea to shining sea – and it says little or nothing about the people who were crushed underfoot along the way.</p> <p>This story collapses because of what it omits. There’s no recounting of how the land originally belonged to native inhabitants or how this allegedly God-ordained expansion was all too often built on the backs of people brought here in chains.</p> <p>The Christian nationalists’ story – let’s not pretend it’s history – is a tired retelling of simplistic hero stories set against a relentless backdrop of “USA! USA!” chants. Its central claim is that since our “miracle” must have been right, how can we ever have done wrong? This is unsatisfying, and we can hope that our young people will surely know better than to swallow it.</p> <p>But a better answer would be to make certain they are never confronted with it in the first place by keeping it out of our public schools.  </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/schools" hreflang="en">Schools</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/classroom-instruction" hreflang="en">Classroom Instruction</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 29 Sep 2020 15:09:48 +0000 LHayes 16391 at https://www.au.org Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett: A Threat To Religious Freedom For All https://www.au.org/blogs/Amy-Coney-Barrett-nomination <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett: A Threat To Religious Freedom For All</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Sat, 09/26/2020 - 17:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/barrett%20annoucement%202%20cspan.png?h=254e0647&amp;itok=q9yV-xt0" width="1700" height="525" alt="Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>President Donald Trump continued his assault on church-state separation tonight with his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court – Amy Coney Barrett, 48, who has served as a judge for less than three years (Trump appointed her to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017).</p> <p>From Barrett’s short time on the bench and her writings and professional affiliations, it’s clear that she will follow in the path of Trump’s two other Supreme Court appointees and support their efforts to undermine the separation of religion and government and to allow religious freedom to be misused as a sword to harm others, rather than as a shield to protect people.</p> <p>Americans United strongly opposes Barrett’s nomination. With the presidential election already underway, the American people should decide who succeeds Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – a staunch advocate for religious freedom and equality for all. The Senate should not consider Justice Ginsburg’s successor until the people have spoken and the next presidential term has begun. Religious freedom for all Americans hangs in the balance.</p> <p>Republicans are falsely claiming that opposition to Barrett is based on her religious views and personal affiliations. But a nominee's religious beliefs are not relevant; her record on church-state separation is. And Barrett’s record isn’t good:</p> <p><strong>Religious Freedom Means Do No Harm:</strong> The Constitution forbids our government from granting religious exemptions that would harm others. As Ginsburg herself has quoted, “[y]our right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.” Barrett’s record indicates that she does not respect this “do no harm” principle and is willing to grant religious exemptions that put our civil rights, health care access and religious freedom at risk, particularly for women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities and the nonreligious.</p> <p>For example, the Affordable Care Act ensures workers have access to no-cost birth control through their health insurance plans. But Barrett believes employers should be able to claim religious objections to deny coverage, even if it means workers won’t be able to afford vital reproductive health care; she signed a letter prepared by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty arguing this. She has also served as a presenter for a training program of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which – like Becket – is a legal group that frequently sues for harmful religious exemptions to our shared secular laws. And just this month Barrett joined an opinion that allows Illinois to exempt religious services from limits on large gatherings imposed by an emergency public health order meant to protect people from COVID-19.</p> <p><strong>Religious Freedom For Public Schoolchildren</strong>: Public schools must be inclusive spaces that welcome all children, regardless of their religious beliefs. That’s why the U.S. Supreme Court for more than a half-century has protected students’ religious freedom by preventing public schools from sponsoring prayer, promoting religion or coercing students to participate in religious activities. Yet in 2017 Barrett praised the view of the late Justice Antonin Scalia (for whom she clerked) that a landmark Supreme Court decision prohibiting prayers at public school graduations was wrongly decided.</p> <p><strong>Religious Freedom For Taxpayers: </strong>That no one should be forced to pay for or support someone else’s religion is a fundamental component of religious freedom as envisioned by America’s founders. To enforce this constitutional protection, taxpayers can challenge the government in court. But in August, Barrett wrote an opinion that was hostile to the rights of taxpayers to sue, and she previously praised Scalia’s criticism of those rights – suggesting that she could vote to overturn precedents that give taxpayers standing to challenge religious-freedom violations.</p> <p>Indeed, Barrett has written extensively about her belief that Supreme Court justices should not be bound by legal precedent when deciding constitutional questions. One of the precedents she views as open to reconsideration is the Supreme Court’s “Lemon Test” for determining if a church-state violation has occurred. For nearly 50 years courts have relied on this test, under which a government action is unconstitutional if it has the primary purpose or effect of advancing religion or excessively entangles government with religion.</p> <p><strong>Reproductive Freedom and LGBTQ Rights: </strong>Religious freedom protects everyone’s right to choose what we believe about religion, who we love, and what we do with our own bodies. But Barrett has demonstrated hostility to both reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights. She has three times dealt with cases involving abortion, twice voting in favor of or signaling support for draconian abortion regulations, and once suggesting that Supreme Court precedent permitting states to limit anti-choice protesters’ ability to block clinic entryways should be overturned. These opinions, combined with an article she wrote suggesting that <em>Roe v. Wade</em> is not a fundamental precedent that should be immune from being overturned, and her willingness to support religious exemptions that deny access to birth control, demonstrate that reproductive rights are at stake.</p> <p>Barrett has also misgendered transgender people; said that Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in public schools and colleges, should not protect transgender people; and defended the dissenting justices in the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality case, <em>Obergefell v. Hodges</em>. ADF, for whom she presented at a training program, is widely viewed as an anti-LGBTQ organization. Her statements, professional involvements and willingness to use religion to discriminate demonstrate that she will undermine the rights of LGBTQ people.</p> <p>***</p> <p>The Senate should not confirm a Supreme Court justice until after the presidential inauguration in January. And even then, the Senate should not confirm Amy Coney Barrett – she’s a threat to church-state separation, which protects religious freedom for all of us.</p> <p><em>(PHOTO CREDIT:<a href="https://www.c-span.org/video/?476190-1/president-trump-nominates-amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court&amp;vod"> </a><a href="https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-znD3NgL/0/XL/i-znD3NgL-XL.jpg">C</a><a href="https://www.c-span.org/video/?476190-1/president-trump-nominates-amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court&amp;vod">-SPAN screenshot</a>.)</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div 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/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/taxpayer-funding-of-religion" hreflang="en">Taxpayer Funding Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/schools" hreflang="en">Schools</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/school-sponsored-prayer" hreflang="en">School-Sponsored Prayer</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/threattorf" hreflang="en">Amy Coney Barrett</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/honor-rbg-hold-the-seat" hreflang="en">Honor RBG, Hold the Seat</a></div> </div> </div> Sat, 26 Sep 2020 21:43:58 +0000 LHayes 16390 at https://www.au.org What’s At Stake At The Supreme Court: The Rights Of Non-Christians And Non-Believers https://www.au.org/blogs/court-minority-rights <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">What’s At Stake At The Supreme Court: The Rights Of Non-Christians And Non-Believers</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 09/24/2020 - 09:21</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/muslim%20woman.jpg?h=9eb57b46&amp;itok=-0pFcPJu" width="1700" height="525" alt="Muslim woman" title="Muslim woman" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em><strong>Editor’s Note:</strong></em><em> Americans United staff members have been pulling together material to illustrate what’s at stake in the battle over filling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat. We've been exploring these issues over the past few days. Today’s final installment looks at how the rights of non-Christians and non-believers might be affected.  </em></p> <p>Among other things, separation of church and state means that all people, whether they choose to be religious or not, will be treated equally by the government. A government that is neutral on religion does not care how, where, when or if a citizen worships.</p> <p>That’s the ideal. But any fair reading of American history shows that it took a lot of hard work, often through the courts, to bring this promise to life. The country’s Christian majority often assumed a position of privilege, and non-Christian faiths and non-believers had to fight for their rights.</p> <p>This battle still rages today. Americans United was among several organizations that fought President Donald Trump’s cruel <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/people-are-being-harmed-by-president-trumps-muslim-ban-here-are-some-of">Muslim Ban</a>. Over the years, we’ve also tracked a number of cases dealing with Muslim groups that sought to win zoning variances to build mosques. These variances were routinely granted to Christian churches but denied to Islamic groups.</p> <p>In a host of other issues touching on questions like the rights of prison inmates, the rights of students in public schools, the right to receive service in a public business and others, religious minorities and non-believers had to engage in protracted legal or political battles to secure rights that the Christian majority takes for granted. (In 2006, Americans United had to <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/bush-administration-agrees-to-approve-wiccan-pentacle-for-veteran-memorials">go to court</a> to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow a Wiccan symbol to appear on the headstone of a fallen soldier, a right that was granted to many other religious groups automatically.)</p> <p>The Supreme Court has already moved to grant the majority faith special status in some cases. A towering Christian cross on public land in a Maryland community was deemed an acceptable war memorial in 2019 <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-condemns-us-supreme-courts-decision-to-allow-bladensburg">simply because of its age</a>. The high court has also upheld private school voucher plans, even though most of the taxpayer money ends up in the coffers of private Christian schools.</p> <p>The government also constantly promotes the idea that being religious is a good thing, that it is closely linked to being a true American. Proof of this can be found in the coins jingling in your pocket, and you’ll hear it the next time you recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Non-believers are especially troubled by these examples of civil religion.</p> <p>Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg understood that the government must never make anyone feel like an outsider based on what they believe or don’t believe about God. During her 1993 confirmation hearings, she remarked, “I am alert to discrimination. I grew up during World War II in a Jewish family. I have memories as a child, even before the war, of being in a car with my parents and passing a place … with a sign out in front that read: ‘No dogs or Jews allowed.’” </p> <p>Ginsburg’s passing means that the rights of religious minorities and of those who hold no religious beliefs are definitely at risk. Our next Supreme Court justice must acknowledge the reality of religious diversity in America and ensure that the government does not grant preference to members of the majority faith or take away the rights of those who belong to minority religions or who don’t believe at all.</p> <p>Americans United is fighting to ensure that Ginsburg’s replacement is someone who understands the real promise of church-state separation. You can help by <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">supporting our work</a></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/nontheists-rights" hreflang="en">Nontheists&#039; 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> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg" hreflang="en">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/islam" hreflang="en">Islam</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/ceremonial-deism" hreflang="en">Ceremonial Deism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/wiccans" hreflang="en">Wiccans</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/display-of-religious-symbols" hreflang="en">display of religious symbols</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/god-we-trust" hreflang="en">in god we trust</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/zoning" hreflang="en">zoning</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/prisoners-religious-liberty-rights" hreflang="en">prisoners religious liberty rights</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 24 Sep 2020 13:21:17 +0000 boston 16387 at https://www.au.org What’s At Stake At The Supreme Court: The Religious Freedom Rights Of Public School Students https://www.au.org/blogs/school-prayer-shift <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">What’s At Stake At The Supreme Court: The Religious Freedom Rights Of Public School Students</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 09/23/2020 - 08:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/public%20school%20students.jpg?h=9d3946d3&amp;itok=8bNTHzSq" width="1700" height="525" alt="children in school" title="public school students " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em><strong>Editor’s Note:</strong></em><em> Americans United staff members have been pulling together material to illustrate what’s at stake in the battle over filling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat. We’ll be exploring these issues over the next few days. Today’s installment looks at the question of religious coercion in public schools. </em></p> <p>Nearly 60 years ago, <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/march-2020-church-state/cover-story/say-your-prayers-kids-or-well-force-you-christian">the Supreme Court ruled</a> that coercive forms of public school-sponsored prayer and worship, such as Bible reading, are unconstitutional.</p> <p>For decades those decisions have stood undisturbed, and they’ve ensured that our public schools welcome all students, no matter what their religious or non-religious beliefs may be.</p> <p>Now those time-tested rulings stand in jeopardy. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg means that the high court may shift dramatically and begin to reexamine long-established precedent on church-state separation. The rulings dealing with the role of religion in public schools may be among them.</p> <p>Despite the age of the school prayer decisions and their clear command that public schools must not sponsor devotional activity, they are not always respected. Some misguided school officials attempt to meddle in the religious lives of students – and they are backed by Christian nationalist legal groups that have been working in the courts for decades to undermine the school prayer rulings. One recent example is a case from Washington state, <em><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/october-2017-church-state/featured/penalty-flag">Kennedy v. Bremerton</a>,</em> where an assistant football coach is insisting he has a right to pray with players and students at the 50-yard line after games. This case in pending in a federal appeals court and could end up before the Supreme Court.</p> <p>American society is more diverse on matters of religion than is has ever been. Polls show that the number of Americans who call themselves Christian has dropped below 70%. At the same time, the number of self-professed “nones,” people who say they have no particular religion, is skyrocketing. Our country is also home to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Pagans and a host of other belief systems.</p> <p>Any attempt to reintroduce school-sponsored prayer or worship, or teach religious doctrines like creationism in science classes, is bound to violate the rights of students and their families. But the Christian nationalist organizations that are determined to use the engine of the state to push their narrow version of faith onto as many impressionable children as possible don’t care. If their views prevail, our public schools could become religious battlegrounds.</p> <p>The Supreme Court has not taken up a school prayer case since 2000, <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1999/99-62">when it ruled</a> that a Texas school district could not sponsor prayers before football games. Justice Ginsburg sided with students and their families who objected to having prayer imposed on them by the school. Sadly, this core constitutional protection is now on the line. </p> <p>As the only national organization dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom by shoring up separation of religion and government, Americans United will demand that the next Supreme Court justice be someone who understands why school-sponsored religion is a violation of the fundamental right of conscience. We would love to have <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/y7MuxS6RZkGkZoQlDkHO_g2">your support</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/school-sponsored-prayer" hreflang="en">School-Sponsored Prayer</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/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/public-education" hreflang="en">public education</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/washington" hreflang="en">Washington</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg" hreflang="en">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/honor-rbg-hold-the-seat" hreflang="en">Honor RBG, Hold the Seat</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 12:53:52 +0000 boston 16386 at https://www.au.org What’s At Stake At The Supreme Court: Your Right To Be Free From Discrimination Based On Someone Else’s Religion https://www.au.org/blogs/court-religious-freedom-stake <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">What’s At Stake At The Supreme Court: Your Right To Be Free From Discrimination Based On Someone Else’s Religion</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 09/22/2020 - 11:50</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/RBG%20honored.jpg?h=71976bb4&amp;itok=1Ecs-A8y" width="1700" height="525" alt="honoring RBG" title="remembering RBG" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><strong><em>Editor’s Note:</em></strong><em> Americans United staff members have been pulling together material to illustrate what’s at stake in the battle over filling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat. We’ll be exploring these issues over the next few days. Today’s installment looks at the question of religious freedom being used to discriminate against or to harm others.</em></p> <p>The Supreme Court may be on the verge of adopting a new definition of religious freedom, one that grants sweeping powers to use that principle to discriminate against others and cause them harm by denying people health care, employment or services.</p> <p>Religious freedom is a cherished right, but it is not absolute. Over the years, the high court has grappled with the question of the limits on religious freedom but, generally speaking, has rejected arguments that the Constitution requires religious exemptions that result in harm to others. For example, in 1968 the Supreme Court refused to entertain the notion that a restaurant owner in South Carolina could refuse to serve non-whites, even if he claimed that it was his sincere belief that the Bible called for segregation of the races. The court called the argument<a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/religious-freedom-should-not-be-a-license-to-discriminate"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/religious-freedom-should-not-be-a-license-to-discriminate">“patently frivolous.”</a></p> <p>This standard is now being eroded. In recent years, for example, business owners have demanded a “religious freedom” right to deny their employees access to no-cost birth control guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act (even though the employers are not required to pay for it). Some owners of stores and small businesses have insisted that, due to their religious beliefs, they will not serve certain classes of people, such as LBGTQ customers, non-believers, Muslims, etc.</p> <p>The Supreme Court has not yet ruled that the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom grants an affirmative right to discriminate in secular settings, but it has issued a series of rulings that chip away at the idea that religious freedom should “do no harm.”</p> <p>Religious Right legal groups have brought several cases in the hopes of securing a religious-freedom-based right to discriminate. In November, the Supreme Court will hear<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Fulton-Brief-Supreme-Court"> </a><em><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Fulton-Brief-Supreme-Court">Fulton v. City of Philadelphia</a></em>, in which a taxpayer-funded, faith-based foster care agency wants the court to create a constitutional right to discriminate against qualified families because they are LGBTQ or otherwise don’t follow an agency’s religious tenets.</p> <p>An adverse ruling in this case could have far-reaching ramifications and could extend beyond foster care agencies and create a sweeping license to use religion to discriminate in other taxpayer-funded services.</p> <p>Justice Ginsburg was a strong proponent of the idea that religious freedom should never be used to harm others. As she observed in one case, “[y]our right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”</p> <p>The next Supreme Court justice must also acknowledge the “do no harm principle” and apply it correctly. Our civil rights, health care and religious freedom are at stake.</p> <p>Americans United will be on the front lines advocating for a new Supreme Court justice who respects the constitutional principle of church-state separation.<a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Become a member</a> to join us in this battle.</p> <p><em>Photo: People gather outside the Supreme Court to honor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div 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/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg" hreflang="en">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/honor-rbg-hold-the-seat" hreflang="en">Honor RBG, Hold the Seat</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:50:31 +0000 boston 16384 at https://www.au.org Trump Wants To Fill The Supreme Court Vacancy Quickly. Americans United Is On The Case. https://www.au.org/blogs/trump-judicial-nominee <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Trump Wants To Fill The Supreme Court Vacancy Quickly. Americans United Is On The Case.</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:58</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/us%20supreme%20court%20_1.jpg?h=c81e2d46&amp;itok=lu6H3Cor" width="1700" height="525" alt="Supreme Court" title="US Supreme Court" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Media reports indicate that President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are moving swiftly to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat – and that means Americans United is acting fast, too.</p> <p>Trump has said he plans to nominate a woman to the seat and that he might announce a name as early as<a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/trump-says-he-ll-probably-name-supreme-court-pick-friday-n1240590"> </a><a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/trump-says-he-ll-probably-name-supreme-court-pick-friday-n1240590">the end of this week</a>. Four names have been floated on Trump’s short list: Amy Coney Barrett, Allison Jones Rushing, Barbara Lagoa and Kathryn L. Todd. Barrett, Rushing and Lagoa are currently judges who sit on federal courts of appeals (all three are Trump appointees). Todd is deputy counsel to Trump in the White House.</p> <p>Americans United has conducted detailed research on all of these potential candidates and more than two dozen others whom Trump has identified as potential nominees. Barrett, for example, was on the short list for the seat that went to Brett Kavanaugh, and during that process, we collected a lot of information about her record on church-state issues.  (Spoiler: It’s not good.) We’ve combed through the others’ records as well, and rest  assured that we’ll keep digging. If there’s relevant information out there, we will find it and be ready to share it with legislators on Capitol Hill, the media and the public when an announcement is made.</p> <p>Much is at stake in this nomination. Freedom of religion and our rights are at risk. As the only national organization dedicated solely to defending the separation of religion and government, Americans United intends to play a leading role as this process plays out.</p> <p>We’ll keep you updated. Watch this space, <a href="https://www.au.org/get-involved/updates">sign up for our emails</a> and follow us on social media @americansunited to stay informed throughout this process.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg" hreflang="en">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/brett-kavanaugh" hreflang="en">Brett Kavanaugh</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/honor-rbg-hold-the-seat" hreflang="en">Honor RBG, Hold the Seat</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 16:58:55 +0000 boston 16383 at https://www.au.org Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Justice For All https://www.au.org/blogs/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Justice For All</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Sat, 09/19/2020 - 15:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/RBG%20Screenshot%20NPR.png?h=7520e89c&amp;itok=4KEdOtvd" width="1700" height="525" alt="RBG" title="Justice Ginsburg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>When President Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, the response was, on balance, positive. The nominee process was not always so politicized back then, and most Senators reacted favorably.</p> <p>There were a handful of exceptions. Among them was U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who noted that Ginsburg had done some work for the American Civil Liberties Union and said he would not support her. At the time, I remember thinking, “If Helms, a consistent opponent of civil rights, is against this judge, she must be all right.”</p> <p>Ginsburg, who won confirmation on a 96-3 vote, turned out to be more than all right. She was a veritable champion of church-state separation and individual freedom, and she’ll be remembered as one of the strongest advocates for that cause ever to grace the high court bench.</p> <p>Over the years, I had the privilege of watching Ginsburg in action while I was covering oral arguments in church-state cases at the Supreme Court. I’m not a lawyer, but even I could tell that her questions were succinct and right to the point. She had a way of cutting through the fog that can surround legal arguments. I often got the impression that she was putting things through a simple filter: Would this policy advance human rights or take them away? Would it make anyone feel like a lesser part of the American experiment?</p> <p>Indeed, <a href="https://forward.com/news/obituaries/454773/ruth-bader-ginsburg-in-her-own-words-highlights-from-the-forwards-2018/">Ginsburg told <em>The Forward</em></a> in 2018, that her experiences in life had led her to understand the plight of anyone deemed to be an “outsider.”</p> <p>“Perhaps I should start by saying, I grew up in the shadow of World War II,” she said. “And we came to know more and more what was happening to the Jews in Europe. The sense of being an outsider – of being one of the people who had suffered oppression for no … no sensible reason … it’s the sense of being part of a minority. It makes you more empathetic to other people who are not insiders, who are outsiders.”</p> <p>A statement of her church-state philosophy is perhaps best summed up in her dissent in <em>American Legion v. American Humanist Association </em>(2019), the case involving the towering <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-condemns-us-supreme-courts-decision-to-allow-bladensburg">Bladensburg Cross </a>on public land near Washington, D.C., in which she observed that church-state separation “protects the integrity of individual conscience in religious matters” and “guards against the anguish, hardship, and bitter strife that can occur when the government weighs in on one side of religious debate.” As she put it, “separating the two preserves the legitimacy of each.”</p> <p>Ginsburg understood that religious freedom should not be used to take away the rights of others or cause them harm. As the Trump administration, a handful of employers and a lot of Christian nationalists attacked the birth control benefit in  the Affordable Care Act, Ginsburg supported it every time. Most recently, she wrote in her final dissent, in <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/supreme-court-decision-in-birth-control-cases-undermines-both-religious-and"><em>Trump v. Pennsylvania</em></a> this summer, “Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the <em>nth </em>degree.”</p> <p>Our nation is a poorer place today because Justice Ginsburg is no longer with us. By all means, take some time to mourn her passing, but bear in mind that her death is sure to spark a bruising partisan battle over her replacement. Although Republican leaders in the Senate refused to consider allowing President Barack Obama to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016, arguing that nine months was too close to an election, they’ve already said they won’t impose that condition this time. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed there will be a vote on a Trump nominee this fall.</p> <p>Let’s get to work: The fate of separation of church and state has never been in a more precarious position, and we’re going to have to fight with all we’ve got to preserve it. <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Join us.</a></p> <p>I have a feeling Justice Ginsburg would approve.</p> <p><em>Photo: Screenshot from an NPR video</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg" hreflang="en">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/bill-clinton" hreflang="en">Bill Clinton</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/antonin-scalia" hreflang="en">Antonin Scalia</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/mitch-mcconnell" hreflang="en">Mitch McConnell</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/display-of-religious-symbols" hreflang="en">display of religious symbols</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/honor-rbg-hold-the-seat" hreflang="en">Honor RBG, Hold the Seat</a></div> </div> </div> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 19:53:07 +0000 boston 16382 at https://www.au.org On Constitution Day, Let’s Celebrate Secular Government – And Vow To Defend It https://www.au.org/blogs/constitution-day-secular <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">On Constitution Day, Let’s Celebrate Secular Government – And Vow To Defend It </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 09/17/2020 - 08:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/constitution_0.jpg?h=51a72048&amp;itok=zQZU1Al8" width="1700" height="525" alt="constitution" title="US Constitution" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Alexander Hamilton, as the story goes, was once accosted by a man who was outraged that the governing document Hamilton had helped create, the U.S. Constitution, contained no references to God. A rather flippant Hamilton is said to have cheekily replied, “I declare, we forgot it!”</p> <p>The tale is considered apocryphal, but beneath it lurks an intriguing fact that is well worth celebrating on this <a href="https://loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/constitution-day.php">Constitution Day</a>: Our national charter’s wholly secular nature.</p> <p>In the late 18th century, it was common for government documents to contain religious language. Many early state constitutions, for example, include appeals to God – yet such pious platitudes are absent from the federal Constitution.</p> <p>The Bill of Rights and the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and church-state separation were added to the Constitution a few years after the signing of that document in 1787. But one could argue that the Constitution’s secular nature is itself an affirmation of the principle of separation of religion and government. The new American government saw no need to include appeals to the divine its foundational charter, a powerful signal that when it came to religion, this nation wouldn’t presume to tell people what to believe or not to believe.  </p> <p>Conservative pastors at the time understood that the Constitution was in no way Christian. After ratification, many of them attacked the document from their pulpits, blasting its “godless” nature. One New York minister called the lack of references to God in the Constitution “an omission which no pretext whatever can palliate.” He opined that an angry deity would soon seek vengeance for the slight and “overturn from its foundations the fabric we have been rearing and crush us to atoms in the wreck.”</p> <p>This drumbeat continued, reaching a peak during the Civil War when a band of conservative pastors joined forces to create a kind of proto-Christian nationalist organization called the National Reform Association. The group had many goals, but chief among them was correcting what they saw as the founders’ mistake by rewriting the Preamble to the Constitution to add references to God, Jesus Christ and Christianity.</p> <p>The National Reform Association’s proposed Preamble read: “We, the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, His revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian government, and in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the inalienable rights and blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”</p> <p>The proposal languished in Congress for several years until the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives agreed to vote on it in 1874. The committee rejected it, pointing out in a statement that unions of church and state had done great damage in “so many nations of the Old World.”</p> <p>Despite this history, today’s advocates of “Christian nation” mythology insist, against all available evidence, that our Constitution somehow officially established a Christian government. They say it over and over and some may even believe it, but they can’t get around the one thing that is fatal to their claim: the actual text of the Constitution.</p> <p>But that doesn’t mean we can be complacent. We know that Christian nationalists won’t stop their efforts to insert their narrow interpretation of Christianity into America’s laws; look no further than the <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/project-blitz">Project Blitz</a> campaign in the states and the Trump administration’s catering to far-right evangelicals’ policy demands. Americans United won’t stop protecting our shared secular laws that are based on our secular Constitution – and we need your support. <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Join us</a>!</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/founding-fathers" hreflang="en">Founding Fathers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/foundations-of-american-law-and-government" hreflang="en">Foundations of American Law and Government</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/project-blitz" hreflang="en">Project Blitz</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/constitution" hreflang="en">Constitution</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/christian-nation-myth" hreflang="en">Christian nation myth</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 17 Sep 2020 12:48:58 +0000 boston 16380 at https://www.au.org Americans United’s National Advocacy Summit Is Over – But Your Activism Must Continue https://www.au.org/blogs/get-active-ideas <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Americans United’s National Advocacy Summit Is Over – But Your Activism Must Continue</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 09/16/2020 - 09:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Rachel%20and%20JeffHorizontal%202.png?h=1b8f9d90&amp;itok=kL8GkQ4S" width="1700" height="525" alt="NAS" title="NAS panel" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Americans United’s first-ever National Advocacy Summit concluded yesterday. It was an amazing virtual event that drew more than 800 participants. Our goal was to help people learn, connect and advocate. Mission accomplished!</p> <p>Whether you attended the Summit or not, we urge you to get active to defend the separation of religion and government – the only principle that can protect the right to worship or not as you see fit as long as you don’t harm others.</p> <p>Here are five easy things you can do to boost your activism:</p> <ul> <li><strong>JOIN Americans United.</strong> If you’re not a member, <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">please sign up</a>. We’d love to have your support; we need it to continue our important work. Being a member of Americans United is a great way to stay informed and amplify your voice as you join in solidarity with others who want to protect the bedrock principle of church-state separation. With your membership, you’ll receive a subscription to AU’s <em><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state">Church &amp; State magazine</a></em>.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>SIGN up for Americans United’s alerts.</strong> You’ll get emails about breaking news, special alerts on actions you can take and a weekly newsletter. It’s the best way to stay on top of things in a fast-moving world. You can sign up on <a href="https://www.au.org/">AU’s homepage</a>.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>REPORT a potential church-state violation</strong>. Is there something going on in your community or state that you believe might violate separation of church and state? Does something look just not quite right? Let us know about it using <a href="https://www.au.org/get-involved/report-a-violation/form">this form</a>. Our attorneys will check it out.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>LEARN more about the history</strong> of religious freedom in America. Boning up on the critical role church-state separation plays in protecting religious freedom gives you the tools to debunk the Christian nationalists’ bogus claims about our past – and it will inspire you to defend our legacy of freedom. A great place to start is <a href="https://www.au.org/issues/foundations-of-church-state-separation">this page of historical resources</a>.  Additional resources were listed in the <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/june-2020-church-state-magazine/cover-story/inside-information-spending-more-time">June issue</a> of <em>Church &amp; State</em>.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>SPEAK out.</strong> Defend separation of church and state with whatever tools you’re comfortable using. That includes social media, letters to the editor, discussion groups or other forums. Follow us 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> and share our content with your friends and family. As several speakers stressed during the National Advocacy Summit, separation of religion and government is under assault today like never before. That principle needs defenders. Be one of them!</li> </ul> <p>If you missed the summit, you can still watch all the sessions online at AU’s <a href="https://www.facebook.com/americansunited">Facebook</a> page – including Monday’s opening session on religious freedom being at the intersection of many social justice issues; the keynote conversation between AU President and CEO Rachel Laser and literary journalist Jeff Sharlet; and Tuesday’s kickoff rally to launch our <a href="https://www.au.org/DayofAction">National Day of Action</a> around getting Congress to pass the Do No Harm Act.</p> <p><em>Photo: Rachel Laser and Jeff Sharlet at AU's National Advocacy Summit</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/rachel-laser" hreflang="en">Rachel Laser</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/jeff-sharlet" hreflang="en">Jeff Sharlet</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/congress" hreflang="en">Congress</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 16 Sep 2020 13:54:27 +0000 boston 16379 at https://www.au.org On This Day Of Action, Help Americans United Pass The Do No Harm Act https://www.au.org/blogs/day-of-action <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">On This Day Of Action, Help Americans United Pass The Do No Harm Act</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 09/15/2020 - 08:52</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/day%20of%20action.png?h=1b7b0745&amp;itok=UoWvJuPY" width="1700" height="525" alt="Day of Action" title="Day of Action " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>As part of Americans United’s <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?extid=uhrmWLMSAld7QtLw&amp;v=2702913609997232&amp;ref=watch_permalink">National Advocacy Summit</a>, we are rallying today to press Congress to pass the Do No Harm Act.</p> <p>This critical legislation will make changes to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 law that was intended to protect religious minorities but that has been misinterpreted by federal courts to allow religious freedom to be misused in ways that harm others.</p> <p>The Do No Harm Act will restore RFRA to its original intent by making it clear that RFRA cannot be used to allow for discrimination or harm. The Do No Harm Act will protect the rights of women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities and others in cases like health care, employment discrimination and access to government-funded services. More than 200 members of the House of Representatives and 30 in the Senate are co-sponsoring the bill.</p> <p>Many Summit attendees today are virtually visiting members of Congress and their staffs to express their support for the Do No Harm Act. Even if you aren’t signed up for virtually lobbying with AU, you can still take action to show your support for the Do No Harm Act.</p> <p><a href="https://www.au.org/DayofAction">This special section of AU’s site</a> has toolkits you can use to take action to support the Do No Harm Act, such as by posting about it on social media. writing a letter to the editor and using a convenient form that makes it possible for you to contact your members of Congress.</p> <p>Check out these resources and help AU make the Do No Harm Act law!</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/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> Tue, 15 Sep 2020 12:52:20 +0000 boston 16378 at https://www.au.org