The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/blogs/feed en People Are Being Harmed By The Muslim Ban. Here Are Some Of Their Stories. https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/people-are-being-harmed-by-the-muslim-ban-here-are-some-of-their-stories <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden"> People Are Being Harmed By The Muslim Ban. Here Are Some Of Their Stories. </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/67749" lang="" about="/user/67749" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Hassanein</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:38</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/author/rokia-hassanein" hreflang="und">Rokia Hassanein</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/Image%20uploaded%20from%20iOS%20%28372%29.jpg" width="2048" height="1155" alt="Awesome Women " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em>The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the </em><a href="https://www.au.org/tags/muslim-ban"><em>Muslim ban</em></a><em> case April 25. It’s a legal tussle that many American Muslims and Americans perceived to be Muslim are watching closely, and for good reason: The ban has extended beyond public policy and has also increased Islamophobic rhetoric, harassment and hate crimes. That’s why this month, we’ve been speaking to Muslims (and those targeted because they’re perceived to be Muslim) about how the current political climate is impacting their lives in the United States</em>.</p> <p>Aden Hassan is a Somali refugee who came to the United States in 2017, only to be separated from his family because of President Donald J. Trump’s Muslim and refugee ban.</p> <p>“My mother and my family were supposed to follow, but because of the Muslim ban, my family has been unable to come,” Hassan said. “They are still not yet allowed to come.” </p> <p><img alt="Muslim Ban " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="825d04b4-e086-4666-9ab1-3b740214010b" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/MB_Banners_Aden.png" /></p> <p>Sarah Faizy, an Afghan-American Muslim, said that while the ban doesn’t restrict her traveling or her family members’ traveling, the ban is hurting her sense of security in the United States.</p> <p>“In a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it is ironic that the highest branch of government would impose such an absurd Muslim ban,” Faizy said. “My family and I have never felt more unsafe at any point of our lives living in the USA, until now.”</p> <p>Faizy said that many people seeking refuge and immigrating to the U.S. are escaping wars and other horrors, adding that it’s shameful the same people often end up feeling unsafe in this country due to hate speech and crimes.</p> <p>“Running away from a war zone, you would think that these types of security and safety issues would be in our past, but unfortunately that isn’t the case anymore,” she said. “I am constantly worried every time my mother steps out of the house. Since my mother has a very thick accent and has the typical Afghan look.” </p> <p><img alt="Muslim Ban " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b3107aca-4ec6-4ed8-837c-affcdc6d477b" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/MB_Banners_Sarah.png" /></p> <p>Faizy reiterated that hateful rhetoric from the Trump administration should not be overlooked because it continues to marginalize the American Muslim community and other religious minorities.</p> <p>“While the Muslim ban doesn’t affect some Muslim Americans directly, [Trump’s] rhetoric validates the racists’ and Islamaphobes’ hatred and violence against minorities,” Faizy said. </p> <p>Huma Moinuddin, an American Muslim student, agrees.</p> <p>“Mandating a ban against some Muslim-majority countries has had a finger pointing effect – as if Muslims are the problem,” Moinuddin said. “I’ve noticed this created an environment where people feel more comfortable in expressing their racism. It's disturbing to witness.” </p> <p><img alt="Muslim Ban " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1b9f9f5c-6b25-4d22-808c-2180bd4e01a4" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/MB_Banners_Huma.png" /></p> <p>We agree that the Muslim ban is discriminatory, hateful and targets Muslims based solely on their religion. We hope the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the right side of history by blocking the ban and ending this shameful policy. </p> <p>Our country is at its best when people of all religions feel welcome here. For people of all religions and for people who don’t claim any religion at all – religious freedom means that the law treats everyone equally regardless of faith. Americans United will continue to protect this ideal no matter what discriminatory policies the Trump administration tries to implement. </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> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/islamophobia" hreflang="en">Islamophobia</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/storytelling" hreflang="en">Storytelling</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-discrimination" hreflang="en">religious discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/hate-crimes" hreflang="en">hate crimes</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:38:16 +0000 Hassanein 13842 at https://www.au.org New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Church-State Separation, Strikes Down Publicly Funded Grants For Churches https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/new-jersey-supreme-court-upholds-church-state-separation-strikes-down <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Church-State Separation, Strikes Down Publicly Funded Grants For Churches</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">Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:14</span> <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> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/St.%20Peter%20Episcopal%20Church%20Morristown%20NJ%20cropped.jpg" width="2681" height="885" alt="St. Peter Episcopal Church Morristown, NJ" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>In a victory for church-state separation, the New Jersey Supreme Court <a href="https://www.dailyrecord.com/story/news/local/morris-county/2018/04/18/nj-supreme-court-unconstitutional-taxpayer-funds-repair-restore-churches/524292002/">unanimously ruled</a> yesterday that public money can’t be used to repair or maintain active churches.</p> <p>Americans United, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Jersey, had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, <em>Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders</em>. We explained that New Jersey’s constitution has a no-aid clause that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to build or restore houses of worship.</p> <p>In defiance of this constitutional protection, Morris County’s board of chosen freeholders (the equivalent of county commissioners) distributed more than $4.5 million in tax revenue to a dozen active Christian churches through an historical preservation program from 2012-2015. (The churches received nearly half of the total grant money distributed.)</p> <p>“Historical preservation is a worthy goal, but it doesn’t justify violating the constitution and individuals’ religious liberty,” <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/new-jersey-supreme-court-was-right-to-strike-down-tax-aid-to-houses-of-worship">said</a> AU Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser, who <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/in-two-church-state-cases-au-urges-new-jersey-supreme-court-to-support">presented arguments</a> before the New Jersey high court last fall. “Public funds should support buildings that can benefit all members of a community equally, not houses of worship that are used primarily by members of one particular faith.”</p> <p>In its <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-04/FFRF%20v%20Morris%20County%20Opinion%204.18.18.pdf">opinion</a>, which reversed a lower court’s decision, the state high court noted that New Jersey’s constitution has one of the oldest and most detailed no-aid provisions of the 39 state constitutions that include them.</p> <p>“The Religious Aid Clause has been a part of New Jersey’s history since the 1776 Constitution,” the court wrote. “The clause guarantees that ‘[n]o person shall … be obliged to pay … taxes … for building or repairing any church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry.’ The clause reflects a historic and substantial state interest. We find that the plain language of the Religious Aid Clause bars the use of taxpayer funds to repair and restore churches, and that Morris County’s program ran afoul of that longstanding provision.”</p> <p>AU is awaiting a decision from New Jersey’s Supreme Court in a <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2013-church-state/featured/jersey-barrier">similar case</a> that challenges $11 million in grants that were awarded by the state to two divinity schools. AU and the ACLU filed <em>ACLU of New Jersey v. Hendricks</em> in 2013 on behalf of three New Jersey taxpayers (including AU Delaware Valley Chapter member Gloria Schor Andersen) and the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey. That case was argued the same day as the FFRF case.</p> <p>Last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court also <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/massachusetts-supreme-court-agrees-with-au-and-stops-town-from-funding">issued an opinion</a> in a similar AU case, blocking a town’s attempt to give a church a taxpayer-funded historic preservation grant to restore stained-glass windows featuring religious imagery. Still to be determined in that case, <em>Caplan v. Town of Acton,</em> is whether the grant money can be used to fund a master plan to restore that church. That case was brought by AU (in partnership with the Venable LLP law firm) on behalf of 13 taxpayers and was spurred by concerns from AU’s Massachusetts chapter.</p> <p>Both the Massachusetts and New Jersey high courts distinguished their opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in <a href="https://www.au.org/content/trinity-lutheran-church-of-columbia-v-comer-a-serious-threat-to-religious-freedom"><em>Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer</em></a>, which said Missouri’s no-aid provision could not be enforced to prevent a church from participating in a state-funded grant program that would allow it to resurface its playground. The state courts noted the distinction between the cases – Trinity wanted to use the money for a non-religious purpose (resurfacing its playground), whereas the churches in the Massachusetts and New Jersey cases want to use the money in ways that are explicitly religious (restoring religious images and worship spaces).</p> <p>When the <em>Trinity</em> opinion came out last June, AU promised to protect religious freedom by ensuring that opponents of church-state separation don’t misuse the ruling to <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2017-church-state/featured/a-hole-in-the-wall">push the boundaries</a> of using public money to support religion. That’s what we did in the Massachusetts and New Jersey cases, and that’s what we’ll continue to do nationwide.</p> <p><em>(Photo of St. Peter Episcopal Church in Morristown, N.J., which received grant funds to repair the interior of its church tower. Photo credit: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MORRIS_DISTRICT,_MORRISTOWN,_NJ.jpg">Jerrye &amp; Roy Klotz MD</a>)</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-chapter field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Chapters</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/chapters/massachusetts" hreflang="en">Massachusetts</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/chapters/delaware-valley" hreflang="en">Delaware Valley</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/taxpayer-funding-of-religion" hreflang="en">Taxpayer Funding Of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/new-jersey" hreflang="en">New Jersey</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/massachusetts" hreflang="en">Massachusetts</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/no-aid-clauses" hreflang="en">no-aid clauses</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/ffrf-v-morris-county-board-of-chosen-freeholders" hreflang="en">FFRF v. Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/caplan-v-town-of-acton" hreflang="en">Caplan v. Town of Acton</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/trinity-lutheran-church-of-columbia-v-comer" hreflang="en">Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/aclu-of-new-jersey-v-hendricks" hreflang="en">ACLU of New Jersey v. Hendricks</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Apr 2018 15:14:02 +0000 LHayes 13841 at https://www.au.org History Teaches Us Why There Should Be No Muslim Ban https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/history-teaches-us-why-there-should-be-no-muslim-ban <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">History Teaches Us Why There Should Be No Muslim Ban </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/67749" lang="" about="/user/67749" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Hassanein</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:29</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/author/rokia-hassanein" hreflang="und">Rokia Hassanein</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/awesomemuslimwomen_0.jpg" width="2118" height="900" alt="Muslim Women " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>One week from today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/muslim-ban">Muslim ban</a> case. We hope the justices vote on the right side of history and rule that there should be no Muslim ban, ever.</p> <p>The ban has had an inhumane effect on American Muslims. That’s why Americans United and allies filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court on behalf of <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/families-harmed-by-trumps-muslim-ban-urge-supreme-court-to-stop-the-ban">people impacted</a> by the ban, urging the high court to strike it down.   </p> <p>Our brief highlights real people suffering real harm. Among them are an elderly Maryland couple who desperately want to see their son, who’s blocked from entering the United States from Iran. The brief includes two American women separated from the men they love, a married couple separated from family and a public-school teacher who has been unable to see her brother.</p> <p>These individuals and two organizations – Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) and the Iranian Students’ Foundation at the University of Maryland – also are plaintiffs in <a href="https://www.au.org/lawsuit/iaab-v-trump"><em>IAAB v. Trump</em></a>, a lawsuit filed by AU and allies that was the first to challenge Muslim Ban 3.0.</p> <p>The human impact illustrates why this case is so important. History can also be an important guide here. An <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/us/politics/travel-ban-japanese-internment-trump-supreme-court.html?smid=fb-nytimes&amp;smtyp=cur">article in </a><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/us/politics/travel-ban-japanese-internment-trump-supreme-court.html?smid=fb-nytimes&amp;smtyp=cur"><em>The New York Times </em></a><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/us/politics/travel-ban-japanese-internment-trump-supreme-court.html?smid=fb-nytimes&amp;smtyp=cur">this</a> week noted that the Supreme Court has a chance to avoid repeating a bad mistake. It pointed out that while he was on the campaign trail, President Donald J. Trump referenced Japanese internment during World War II as his precedent for banning Muslims.</p> <p>As <em>The Times</em> explained, that period of U.S. history is hardly one of our proudest moments.</p> <p>“The justices will consider how much weight to give to Mr. Trump’s campaign statements. And they will act in the shadow of their own decision in <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/323us214"><em>Korematsu v. United States</em></a>, which endorsed [President Franklin] Roosevelt’s 1942 order and is almost universally viewed as a shameful mistake,” observed the story.</p> <p>Indeed it was. And that’s why children of Japanese-Americans held in the detention camps warned the Supreme Court that the Muslim ban case has historical parallels.</p> <p>“History teaches caution and skepticism when vague notions of national security are used to justify vast, unprecedented exclusionary measures that target disfavored classes,” the Japanese American Citizens League <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/17/17-965/41752/20180330140501240_No.%2017-965%20Amicus%20Brief%20-%20Japanese%20American%20Citizens%20League.pdf">wrote</a> to the high court.</p> <p><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/americans-united-stands-with-our-allies-in-saying-no-muslim-ban-ever">When I attended the No Muslim Ban Ever March</a> in October, I heard similar stories. Among the most powerful speakers at the march was Holly Yasui, the daughter of <a href="http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Minoru_Yasui/">Min Yasui</a>, a lawyer who challenged the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during the war. She reminded us that we should learn from history, not repeat it.</p> <p>“He [her father] believed it was unconstitutional and absolutely wrong for the U.S. government to single out and punish a group of people solely on the basis of race or national origin,” Yasui said. “2017 is not 1942, but sadly – shamefully – we hear echoes of the Japanese-American internment today…. Back then, it was Japanese-Americans. Today, it is Muslims.” </p> <p>As I spoke with American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, I noticed a similar fear. Many people understand the ban has extended beyond public policy; it has also sparked an uptick in Islamophobic rhetoric, harassment and hate crimes. That’s why we’re continuing to share American Muslims’ <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/many-americans-have-been-affected-by-president-trumps-muslim-ban-here-are">stories</a> and <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/people-are-being-harmed-by-president-trumps-muslim-ban-here-are-some-of">amplify their voices</a> this month leading up to the argument next week.</p> <p>Yasui’s words are powerful and right. The Muslim ban is unconstitutional because it discriminates against Muslims based solely on their religion. Our country should learn from shameful moments in history rather than attempt to target a different group.</p> <p>America is at its best when people of all religions feel welcome here. For people of all faiths and for people who don’t claim any faith at all – religious freedom means that the law treats everyone equally regardless of faith. Americans United will continue to protect this ideal no matter what discriminatory policies the Trump administration tries to implement.</p> <p>AU will be joining allies outside the Supreme Court the day of the argument, April 25, to say that there should be #NoMuslimBanEver. We encourage you to <a href="http://bit.ly/2Hwim9H">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/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/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-discrimination" hreflang="en">religious discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/hawaii-v-trump" hreflang="en">Hawaii v. Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/iaab-v-trump" hreflang="en">IAAB v. Trump</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:29:44 +0000 Hassanein 13839 at https://www.au.org Have You Or A Loved One Ever Been Discriminated Against Because Of Someone Else’s Religion? We Want To Hear Your Story. https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/have-you-or-a-loved-one-ever-been-discriminated-against-because-of-someone <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Have You Or A Loved One Ever Been Discriminated Against Because Of Someone Else’s Religion? We Want To Hear Your Story. </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/67749" lang="" about="/user/67749" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Hassanein</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 04/17/2018 - 13:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/author/rokia-hassanein" hreflang="und">Rokia Hassanein</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/samsexcoupleandsuch_0.jpg" width="2238" height="1150" alt="same sex couple " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Unwilling to accept the advances in LGBTQ rights, religious extremists are asking state legislatures, Congress and the courts for a trump card to undermine this progress. They want to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to deny health care, refuse to provide services and ignore laws protecting Americans from discrimination and abuse.</p> <p>One example of this is the U.S. Supreme Court case <a href="http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/masterpiece"><em>Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</em></a>. In this case, a Colorado bakery wants businesses to be able to use religion as a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. We are fighting back because public businesses should be open to all regardless of religion, sexual orientation, race and gender identity.</p> <p>Before reaching the Supreme Court, a Colorado state court said that a suburban Denver bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law – which bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – when it refused to provide a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a same-sex couple, for their wedding reception. The court ruled that neither the bakery nor its owner had a religious-freedom right to violate the law. Americans United filed <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55672ab5e4b03d7bf298564a/t/59f76605e4966b82ca718b95/1509385734147/Masterpiece+SCOTUS+amicus+brief+10.30.17.pdf">a friend-of-the-court brief in the case</a>, arguing that religious freedom is not an excuse to discriminate against others.</p> <p>The owner of the shop asked the Colorado Supreme Court to hear the case, but it declined. His attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom, a Religious Right legal group that often defends people who want to discriminate in the name of religion, then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.</p> <p>This is an important case that will have significant implications on nondiscrimination laws that protect everyone, especially LGBTQ people, women and minorities. Masterpiece Cakeshop wants to use religious beliefs to treat LGBTQ folks like second-class citizens, but religious freedom is not a license to discriminate.</p> <p>That’s why we need your help to ensure all Americans understand how a wrong decision in <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop</em> would bring harm to real people. Today, we’re launching a storytelling project. Have you or a loved one ever been discriminated against because of someone else’s religion? <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/aMQLtyB3pkm9jc-bAKiHTg2">Share your story with us</a>, and we may post it on social media and through blogs and articles leading up to and after the Supreme Court decision.</p> <p>We hope the Supreme Court will reach the same conclusion in <em>Masterpiece</em> as the lower courts: A business cannot use religion as an excuse to discriminate.</p> <p>Americans United fights for religious freedom and equality. But right now, all of these values are under attack, and we want to hear from you. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-against-customers" hreflang="en">Discrimination Against Customers</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/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ 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/storytelling" hreflang="en">Storytelling</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/nondiscrimination-laws" hreflang="en">Nondiscrimination laws</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/masterpiece-cakeshop-v-colorado-civil-rights-commission" hreflang="en">Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:19:56 +0000 Hassanein 13836 at https://www.au.org Teachers Explain Just How Underfunded Public Schools Are. The Trump Administration Wants To Underfund Them Even More. https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/teachers-explain-just-how-underfunded-public-schools-are-the-trump <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Teachers Explain Just How Underfunded Public Schools Are. The Trump Administration Wants To Underfund Them Even More.</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, 04/17/2018 - 11:26</span> <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> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/Overworked%20Teacher%20cropped.jpg" width="5390" height="2378" alt="Overworked teacher" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Thousands of public school teachers across the country <a href="https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/04/12/teacher-strikes-oklahoma-city-kentucky-west-virginia-217849">have made headlines in recent weeks</a> as they <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2018/04/13/which-states-might-experience-the-next-wave-of-teacher-strikes/">protested the lowest</a> per-pupil spending and lowest inflation-adjusted teacher salaries in a decade.</p> <p>Amid this national school-funding crisis, President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continue to push for expanding federally funded private school voucher schemes that would underfund public schools even more. Their <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/trump-budget-proposal-would-funnel-1-billion-to-private-mostly-religious">proposed education budget</a> would divert $1 <em>billion</em> from public education to private, mostly religious schools.</p> <p>It’s hard to fathom how public schools and the educators who already spend significant portions of their own paychecks supplying students will survive if the Trump administration takes away even more funding from the public schools that educate 90 percent of American schoolchildren.</p> <p>On Monday, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/reader-center/us-public-schools-conditions.html"><em>The New York Times</em></a> published a powerful series of personal stories from teachers from across the nation who wrote in to explain how dire the funding situation already is in their schools:</p> <ul><li>Kelsey Pavelka, a Nevada elementary school teacher, explained that she was provided with six laptops – many with broken keys and chargers – to teach a classroom of 42 fifth-graders how to type and to prepare them for a state standardized test.  She turned to crowdfunding to buy 10 more laptops for her students.</li> <li>Kathryn Vaughn, a Tennessee art teacher, is tasked with providing 800 students art lessons on a total annual supply budget of $100. “I’ve had to become incredibly resourceful with the supplies,” she said. Her resourcefulness was showcased in a photo she provided of pickle jars full of used markers soaking in water – her homemade attempt at manufacturing watercolor paints.</li> <li>In DeVos’ home state of Michigan, high school media specialist Elliot Glaser photographed the sparse shelves of new books he was able to purchase for his library this year: about 30 total books for a school of 1,650 students, a quarter of whom are described as English Language Learners – students who don’t speak English well or at all and need as many resources for reading as possible. His school’s library had a $500 materials budget this year, up from zero the past two years. “I am lucky, since our elementary and middle school libraries received no budget at all for the fourth straight year.”</li> </ul><p>Teachers aren’t alone in pointing out the results of reduced public school funding. In a recent story by <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/04/10/what-betsy-devos-seems-to-be-missing-about-the-oklahoma-teachers-strike/?utm_term=.42cc5c53b047"><em>The Washington Post</em></a> about the teacher protest in Oklahoma and DeVos’ <a href="https://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/2018/04/06/us-secretary-education-striking-teachers-oklahoma-keep-adult-disagreements-schools">clueless response</a> to it, the author included a <a href="https://twitter.com/jamiebh73/status/979547778496987137?tfw_creator=valeriestrauss&amp;tfw_site=WashingtonPost&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fnews%2Fanswer-sheet%2Fwp%2F2018%2F04%2F10%2Fwhat-betsy-devos-seems-to-be-missing-about-the-oklahoma-teachers-strike%2F">social media post</a> from an Oklahoma parent that featured a photo of a textbook with no cover and a crumbling binding. “This is a textbook from my daughter’s class,” the parent tweeted. “It’s a history book and the current President in it is George W. Bush. We can do better Oklahoma.”</p> <p>Americans United has repeatedly pointed out that <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/dont-fall-for-the-school-choice-week-hype-private-school-vouchers-are-0">private school vouchers are bad public education policy</a>: They strip civil rights protections from students, can lead to decreases in students’ academic achievement, lack accountability and violate religious freedom by requiring taxpayer to pay for religious education. (All of these concerns and more are summarized in this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa5-oqMpLXE&amp;feature=youtu.be">video AU produced</a>).</p> <p>Public dollars should fund public schools. Taxpayers can’t afford to fund two education systems – one public and one private. It’s disgraceful that the Trump administration and some states are even considering vouchers during a time when so many public schools are cash strapped.</p> <p>And yet Trump and DeVos continue to ignore what’s best for American children – adequately funded public schools that serve everyone. In addition to their proposal to increase federal voucher funding in the education budget, DeVos supports a Heritage Foundation-backed bill in Congress that would take federal money from the public schools serving the children of military families and divert that money to pay for a voucher-type program for military-connected children.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/04/10/military-groups-to-devos-drop-plan-for-private-school-vouchers-we-dont-want-them/?utm_term=.a473195ff7ea">noted by The Military Coalition</a> – a consortium of more than 25 organizations representing more than 5.5 million active and former members of the U.S. military and their families – the bill, called the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act, would be “financially devastating for many school districts, critically compromising the quality of the education they could provide to military children and their civilian classmates.” The National Coalition for Public Education, which AU co-chairs, <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/military-families-deserve-fully-funded-public-schools-not-harmful-voucher">also opposes</a> the bill.</p> <p>As we noted during Public Schools Week last month, Americans United <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/americans-united-has-a-long-proud-record-of-supporting-public-schools">has supported strong, secular, public education</a> throughout our 71-year history, and we don’t plan to stop now. You can <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/RM4O1EoCXEGiUm_lgArhQA2">join us by urging your state and federal lawmakers</a> to oppose private school voucher legislation.</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/private-school-vouchers" hreflang="en">Private School Vouchers</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/betsy-devos" hreflang="en">Betsy DeVos</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 17 Apr 2018 15:26:16 +0000 LHayes 13835 at https://www.au.org Someone Else’s Religion Should Have No Power To Make You Invisible https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/someone-elses-religion-should-have-no-power-to-make-you-invisible <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Someone Else’s Religion Should Have No Power To Make You Invisible </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, 04/16/2018 - 10:31</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/images/blog_post/same%20sex%20guys%20cropped.jpg" width="6663" height="3265" alt="same-sex couple male " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>I traveled to Ashland, Ore., recently to give two speeches. After one of them, a man approached me to say that while he mostly agreed with what I had said during my talk, he took issue with one part: He didn’t understand why the owner of a business, in this case, a bakery, should have to serve LGBTQ people. After all, they could just go somewhere else, right?</p> <p>This question, which, by the way, usually comes from people who don’t have to worry about being denied services anywhere, surfaces often enough that it deserves an answer. And anyone looking for one should start with <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/longing-for-the-freedom-to-not-hide-myself/2018/04/15/201c7680-3f30-11e8-a7d1-e4efec6389f0_story.html?utm_term=.f361181ff83f">a column</a> in today’s <em>Washington Post</em> by  Ria Tabacco Mar, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who is representing Charlie Craig and David Mullins in <em>Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</em> <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/the-masterpiece-cakeshop-case-is-about-discrimination-not-dessert">currently pending</a> before the Supreme Court.</p> <p>Mar, who is married to a woman, points out that, despite the progress our country has made in securing LGBTQ rights in recent years, folks in this community still feel the need to be invisible sometimes.</p> <p>She writes about how simple actions undertaken by an opposite-sex couple, such as showing affection to your partner in a public place, can be difficult for a same-sex couple. She notes that when she’s out alone with her child and someone assumes she has a husband at home, she has to make a choice: explain that her partner is a woman or just let it go. (Paul Smith, a professor at Georgetown Law School who argued the landmark LGBTQ rights <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/2002/02-102"><em>Lawrence v. Texas </em>case</a>, made similar points in a <a href="https://balkin.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-real-cost-of-masterpiece-its.html?m=1">recent blog post</a>.)</p> <p>Now project that onto a larger screen: Prior to the Supreme Court’s <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf">ruling upholding marriage equality</a>, I knew same-sex couples who hired lawyers to help them own homes together and provide for one another in the case of sickness or death. It wasn’t easy to craft these arrangements; it took time and money.</p> <p>Some people could respond to that by saying, “Well, they could do it, right? They could get those benefits if they really wanted them.” But that’s cold and unsatisfying. The fact is, same-sex couples had to jump through several hoops and spend lots of money to secure the same rights, privileges and benefits that my wife and I acquired as soon as we said, “I do,” and signed a piece of paper. Our nation’s shared value of equal treatment, as well as simple decency, required us to level the playing field.</p> <p>Yes, some same-sex couples in Rowan County, Ky., could have driven to another county to get a marriage license (although others might have lacked the means to do this), because County Clerk Kim Davis <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/kim-davis-refused-to-recognize-marriage-equality-and-now-kentucky-taxpayers">refused to issue</a> licenses to them due to her religious beliefs – but they shouldn’t have to. And yes, Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover, a same-sex couple in Gilmer County, W. Va., whom AU represented in a federal lawsuit last year, were eventually given a marriage license, after being <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-and-fairness-west-virginia-announce-settlement-for-w-va-same">insulted and preached to</a> by a county official – but they shouldn’t have had to put up with that.</p> <p>These cases present serious dignity harms, which aren’t nullified by the fact that a shop across town might be willing to serve a same-sex couple. (And, of course, in the case of government agencies, there is nowhere else to go.) As Mar notes, “Laws against discrimination can’t protect us from violence, but they can protect us from going about our daily lives in fear of being turned away from stores, banks and hotels simply because of who we are.”</p> <p>She's right. Being told, “Your kind isn’t welcome here, so go somewhere else,” only adds to the pain and sting of being treated like you are a lesser person who should just remain invisible.</p> <p>Religious Right groups have worked hard to make the owner of the Colorado bakery that turned away Craig and Mullins into a victim of persecution and a hero. He is neither. He’s simply a person who wants to take an entire segment of our population and treat them poorly because of his narrow interpretation of a religious book.</p> <p>The baker is a practitioner of discrimination, plain and simple, and there’s nothing heroic about that. We’ve worked too hard to eradicate discrimination in America to give it new life under the guise of “religious freedom.”</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/marriage-equality" hreflang="en">Marriage Equality</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-against-customers" hreflang="en">Discrimination Against Customers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</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/protect-thy-neighbor" hreflang="en">Protect Thy Neighbor</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/kim-davis" hreflang="en">Kim Davis</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/amanda-abramovich" hreflang="en">Amanda Abramovich</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/samantha-brookover" hreflang="en">Samantha Brookover</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/charlie-craig" hreflang="en">Charlie Craig</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/david-mullins" hreflang="en">David Mullins</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/masterpiece-cakeshop-v-colorado-civil-rights-commission" hreflang="en">Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:31:48 +0000 boston 13834 at https://www.au.org People Are Being Harmed By President Trump’s Muslim Ban. Here Are Some Of Their Stories. https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/people-are-being-harmed-by-president-trumps-muslim-ban-here-are-some-of <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">People Are Being Harmed By President Trump’s Muslim Ban. Here Are Some Of Their Stories. </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/67749" lang="" about="/user/67749" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Hassanein</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 04/13/2018 - 09:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/author/rokia-hassanein" hreflang="und">Rokia Hassanein</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/Image%20uploaded%20from%20iOS%20%28964%29_2.jpg" width="2040" height="876" alt="Awesome Women " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em>The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the </em><a href="https://www.au.org/tags/muslim-ban"><em>Muslim ban</em></a><em> case April 25. It’s a legal tussle that many American Muslims and Americans perceived to be Muslim are watching closely, and for good reason: The ban has extended beyond public policy and has also increased Islamophobic rhetoric, harassment and hate crimes. That’s why this month, we’ve been speaking to Muslims (and those targeted because they’re perceived to be Muslim) about how the current political climate is impacting their lives in the United States</em>.</p> <p>For Safoura Kashfipour, an Iranian-American Muslim, President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban has had tangible, negative effects: It has separated her from her family.</p> <p>“My uncle had been in line for a visa for the longest time. With the Muslim Ban, he was denied entry and now he had to move his whole life outside of Iran and try to apply again from another country not listed on the ban,” Kashfipour said. “It’s preposterous to say the least.”</p> <p>Policies like the Muslim ban, Kashfipour says, are inhumane and hurt people.</p> <p>“The ban affects people’s lives directly,” she said. “It spreads ignorance, allows for xenophobia to take fold and enforces prejudices of beautiful people and countries that the education system fails to recognize. It’s sad.” </p> <p><img alt="Muslim Ban " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b4eeedbb-24a1-4606-9501-ec8a1ee2dc07" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/MBbanners_SAFOURA.png" /></p> <p>Stories like Kashfipour’s are why Americans United is fighting on <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/families-harmed-by-trumps-muslim-ban-urge-supreme-court-to-stop-the-ban">behalf of people separated from their loved ones</a>. Trump’s Muslim ban violates America’s promise of religious freedom. That’s why we told the U.S. Supreme Court in a brief that the ban is hurting American Muslims by cruelly separating them from their families and inflaming anti-Muslim rhetoric that endangers all American Muslims and Americans perceived to be Muslim.</p> <p>It’s important to remember that the ban has a discriminatory ripple effect on anyone perceived to be Muslim. It’s impacting people of color since many white nationalists racialize Islam and have a perception of Muslims as brown-skinned.</p> <p>This includes people like <a href="http://monica-ahuja.com/">Monica Ahuja</a>, an American Hindu fashion blogger. Ahuja said that after the Muslim ban, she began to experience a spike in discrimination and racial profiling, especially at airports. </p> <p>“Especially since the Muslim ban went into effect, as a Hindu person from Pakistan, I’ve noticed heightened hostility towards my community and other religious minorities,” Ahuja said. “Getting pulled over at the airport when I travel with my passport has become a new norm for me.” </p> <p><img alt="Muslim Ban " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="4d077cc7-b6db-4df9-b14c-0814bd966375" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/MBbanners_MONICA.png" /></p> <p>This hostility towards marginalized communities is why Suzanna Anani, a Palestinian-American Muslim, calls the Muslim ban a racist policy that serves to promote white Christian nationalism.  </p> <p>“The Muslim ban furthers Islamophobia and targets an entire community full of innocent people. There are no true benefits for this form of discrimination,” Anani said. “Trump is more concerned with maintaining white supremacy. Who’s the real threat?” </p> <p><img alt="Muslim Ban " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="21051d8a-57e0-4c8b-9b3e-9f9654791454" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/MBbanners_SUZANNA.png" /></p> <p>We agree that Trump’s Muslim ban is plain discrimination. That’s why we hope the Supreme Court is on the right side of history and blocks the ban.</p> <p>Our country is at its best when people of all religions feel welcome here. For people of all faiths and for people who don’t claim any faith at all – religious freedom means that the law treats everyone equally regardless of faith. Americans United will continue to protect this ideal no matter what discriminatory policies the Trump administration tries to implement. </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> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/hate-crimes" hreflang="en">hate crimes</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/islamophobia" hreflang="en">Islamophobia</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-discrimination" hreflang="en">religious discrimination</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 13 Apr 2018 13:57:29 +0000 Hassanein 13833 at https://www.au.org AU Backs The March For Science In Support Of Sound Science In Schools And Government https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/au-backs-the-march-for-science-in-support-of-sound-science-in-schools-0 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">AU Backs The March For Science In Support Of Sound Science In Schools And Government </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/67749" lang="" about="/user/67749" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Hassanein</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 04/12/2018 - 09:08</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/author/rokia-hassanein" hreflang="und">Rokia Hassanein</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/Image%20uploaded%20from%20iOS%20%28369%29_2.jpg" width="4018" height="2438" alt="March for Science " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Americans United is proud to be an official partner of the <a href="https://www.marchforscience.com/">March for Science</a> this Saturday in Washington, D.C., and around the country. We encourage our members, supporters and activists to take part, either in Washington, D.C., or through one of <a href="https://www.marchforscience.com/">the sister marches around the country</a>. You can download and print an AU sign in support of sound science <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-04/ScienceMarch2018_Rally-2Color.pdf">here</a>. </p> <p>AU fully supports the use of sound science in public schools and in public policy. We believe that the constitutional principle of church-state separation gives public servants and public school teachers the freedom to believe – or not believe – as they see fit while ensuring that public policy decisions and public school curricula are <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/science-not-religion-must-guide-public-policy">supported by scientific evidence</a>.  </p> <p>We believe that public health policy should reflect what medical experts and research tell us and that no one should be denied access to health care because of someone else’s beliefs. That’s why, through our <a href="http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/">Protect Thy Neighbor</a> campaign, we’re fighting the Trump administration’s proposals that would allow employers and universities to cite religion as an excuse <a href="http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/contraception-regulations">to deny women access</a> to insurance that covers no-cost birth control and would allow medical professionals <a href="http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/2017-2018-federal-legislation/2018/1/19/proposed-health-and-human-services-religious-freedom-rule">to refuse to provide any care</a> at all.   </p> <p>We believe that public schools should educate students on issues such as evolution, climate change and sex education in a way that does not reference religious teachings. That’s why we continue to fight against attacks on sound science in the public education system. We track and oppose anti-science legislation, such as the bills that were proposed and died in the <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/were-fighting-in-state-legislatures-to-ensure-all-kids-feel-welcome-at">Florida legislature</a> this year. And we challenge public schools that try to teach creationism as scientific fact, which is one of the many religious freedom violations we cited in our <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/does-1-7-v-bossier-parish-school-board">lawsuit against Bossier</a> Parish Schools in Louisiana.   </p> <p>President Donald Trump’s administration also could threaten the sound science taught to school children. Trump and his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, continue to push for <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/secretary-of-education-betsy-devos-again-defends-private-school-voucher">federal funding for private school voucher schemes</a>, which would divert public funds to private religious schools that don’t prioritize sound science education.</p> <p>Strong public policy and public schools require that we unite around shared values and agreed facts, including scientific facts. Join us in standing up to the many threats to sound science by participating in the March for Science!</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> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/science" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/creationism" hreflang="en">Creationism</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:08:32 +0000 Hassanein 13832 at https://www.au.org Mike Pompeo, With His Anti-Muslim Views, Is A Poor Candidate For Secretary Of State https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/mike-pompeo-with-his-anti-muslim-views-is-a-poor-candidate-for-secretary <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Mike Pompeo, With His Anti-Muslim Views, Is A Poor Candidate For Secretary Of State</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">Wed, 04/11/2018 - 10:29</span> <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> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/Mike%20Pompeo%20cropped.jpg" width="1021" height="499" alt="Mike Pompeo speaks at 2011 Values Voter Summit" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Americans United <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-04/LCCHR%20Pompeo%20Letter%204.9.18.pdf">joined allies</a> this week in urging U.S. senators to oppose the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Pompeo’s <a href="https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/nomination-041218">confirmation hearing</a> before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. EDT Thursday.</p> <p>With his record of anti-Muslim rhetoric and hostility toward the LGBTQ community, women, refugees and others, Pompeo is a poor candidate to represent to the world American ideals of religious freedom and equality.</p> <p>Concerns about Pompeo’s anti-Muslim views and how they would impact U.S. foreign policy <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-security-picks-deepen-muslim-worries-about-an-anti-islamic-white-house/2016/11/18/d7796cc6-add6-11e6-8b45-f8e493f06fcd_story.html?utm_term=.f599b34bb568">were raised</a> shortly after President Donald Trump was elected and named Pompeo to be his CIA director. Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian ambassador to the United States who now oversees research into the Middle East for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, in Nov. 2016 voiced his concerns about Pompeo and two other Trump national security nominees.</p> <p>“While the region has the same commitment to fight terrorism, it needs a nuanced view of Islam and of Muslims, rather than treating all Muslims with a broad brush,” Muasher told <em>The Washington Post</em>. “The cause of fighting terrorism will not be helped if the new administration treats the Muslim world as a problem rather than as part of the solution.”</p> <p>But Pompeo hasn’t demonstrated a “nuanced view.” He has <a href="http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2016/11/18/mike-pompeo-cia-trump-anti-muslim/">maintained close ties</a> with anti-Muslim groups and individuals that propagate conspiracy theories about Islam, including ACT for America, considered to be the country’s <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/act-america">largest anti-Muslim hate group</a>.</p> <p>Pompeo has a troubling history of equating terrorists with Muslims and has portrayed the fight against terrorism as a war for Christian supremacy. “They abhor Christians,” <a href="https://theintercept.com/2016/11/23/mike-pompeo-religious-war/">he said</a> to a Wichita, Kan., church group in 2014. He added that, to fight terrorism, “(We must) make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”</p> <p>Before he was appointed CIA director, Pompeo served three terms in the U.S. House representing Kansas. During his <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/31/raj-goyle-mike-pompeo-billboard_n_776659.html">first congressional campaign</a> in 2010, his opponent was an American-born citizen of Indian descent. Pompeo’s campaign shared an article full of slurs, labeling the man a “turban topper” who “could be a muslim, a hindu, a buddhist etc who knows.” Pompeo also failed to condemn xenophobic billboards posted by a supporter that implied the opponent was not a citizen and that “True Americans Vote For Pompeo.”</p> <p>Following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Pompeo <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2018/03/13/pompeo-new-role-reignites-muslims-worries-about-his-views/ToBt2riebKzoA7BR0q6nPJ/story.html">claimed</a> that American Muslim groups were “potentially complicit” for not adequately denouncing the attack, a dangerous and inaccurate claim because the American Muslim community was unequivocal in its condemnation. Pompeo <a href="http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article69548302.html">similarly called out a Wichita mosque</a> in 2016 for not posting an online condemnation of a foreign terrorist attack.</p> <p>As a congressman, Pompeo also <a href="https://www.advocate.com/politics/2018/3/13/secretary-state-pick-mike-pompeo-brings-anti-lgbt-record-him">repeatedly debased</a> the humanity of LGBTQ Americans – condemning U.S. Supreme Court decisions recognizing the rights of same-sexual couples, opposing the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and supporting federal legislation aimed at undermining marriage equality. He has voted to <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/5-ways-mike-pompeo-different-rex-tillerson-2622438">restrict women’s access</a> to reproductive health care both in the U.S. and abroad; and he has <a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/15/house-republicans-seek-blanket-ban-on-all-refugees/">cosponsored legislation</a> that would ban all refugees from the U.S.</p> <p>That’s why Americans United has<a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2018-04/LCCHR%20Pompeo%20Letter%204.9.18.pdf"> joined a broad coalition</a> of almost 180 organizations in calling on the U.S. Senate to block his confirmation.</p> <p>“Pompeo has a troubling history of statements and policy positions that have alienated marginalized communities, which raises serious doubts about his ability to represent all in America and promote human rights for all individuals abroad,” we wrote.</p> <p>“The Secretary of State is one of our most important positions for promoting and protecting human rights,” the letter continued. “Pompeo’s documented anti-Muslim bias is dangerous to American foreign policy, will cripple his ability to develop essential relationships with Muslim-majority countries, and will irreparably undermine his ability to lead the State Department workforce.”</p> <p>It’s bad enough that Pompeo has these views and is leading the CIA, but putting him in charge of diplomacy and promoting religious freedom and equality on an international level with the Department of State is even worse.</p> <p><em>(Photo: Mike Pompeo, then a U.S. representative for Kansas, speaking at the 2011 Values Voter Summit. Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/6236327445">Gage Skidmore via Flickr</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/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/marriage-equality" hreflang="en">Marriage Equality</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive 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/mike-pompeo" hreflang="en">Mike Pompeo</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/islam" hreflang="en">Islam</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/kansas" hreflang="en">Kansas</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 11 Apr 2018 14:29:14 +0000 LHayes 13830 at https://www.au.org Oklahoma Adoption Agencies Should Focus On Children And Reject Discrimination https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/oklahoma-adoption-agencies-should-focus-on-children-and-reject <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Oklahoma Adoption Agencies Should Focus On Children And Reject Discrimination</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, 04/10/2018 - 12:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/nik-nartowicz" hreflang="en">Nik Nartowicz</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/images/blog_post/Male%20gay%20couple%20with%20baby%20cropped.jpg" width="5145" height="1961" alt="Male gay couple with baby" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Tomorrow, an Oklahoma House committee will take up <a href="http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/2018-state-legislation/2018/3/13/oklahomasb-1140">Senate Bill 1140</a>, a bill that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care entities to deny kids good homes in the name of religion.</p> <p>Longstanding child welfare law says that child-placing agencies must provide services based solely on what is in the best interest of the child they are serving. SB 1140, however, would undermine this bedrock child welfare standard by putting the religious beliefs of agencies ahead of the best interests of the children.</p> <p>Under this bill, agencies could refuse to perform, assist or participate in any child placement in the name of religion. That means private agencies that receive state funding could discriminate against prospective adoptive and foster parents because they are a same-sex couple, are interfaith or were previously divorced.</p> <p>This bill not only harms devoted and loving potential parents who will be denied the ability to adopt or foster children. It also harms the children themselves, who will be forced to stay in foster care longer and will have a harder time finding their forever home.</p> <p>There are nearly <a href="https://okfosters.org/">9,000 kids</a> in state custody. And the state needs <a href="https://okfosters.org/">more than 1,000 foster families</a> in 2018. Oklahoma agencies need to <em>open </em>their doors to more qualified families, not close them. Passing this bill would make Oklahoma’s foster care problems worse because many potential parents who are looking to adopt or foster will be turned away. And it will discourage others who are thinking about expanding their families from even trying to adopt or foster because they will know they are not welcome in their state. In the end, fewer potential parents means children will be denied the loving, stable and permanent homes they deserve.</p> <p>So far this year, legislators in a handful of states have introduced bills that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate in the name of religion.</p> <p>In Georgia, fierce opposition helped kill its bill before the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill was opposed by civil rights and business groups, as well as Georgia business leaders, who feared it would hurt the state’s reputation, particularly when trying to attract Amazon’s new headquarters. An Atlanta Chamber of Commerce official <a href="http://variety.com/2018/film/news/georgia-anti-lgbtq-adoption-bill-hollywood-response-1202712455/">explained</a>, “Legislation that sanctions discrimination and limits options for children in need of a permanent home takes us further away from our goal of attracting investments that improve the lives of Georgia families.” Oklahoma should take this message to heart.</p> <p>Religious freedom guarantees all of us the freedom to believe or not as we see fit, but it does not give state-funded agencies the right to use religion as an excuse to harm children and families. State-funded agencies should not be allowed to use religion to justify denying children loving homes.</p> <p>We <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55672ab5e4b03d7bf298564a/t/5ac6320e562fa7487478d72a/1522938382715/2018-4-4+OK+SB+1140+Letter+-Adoption+FINAL.pdf">wrote</a> to the House Judiciary Committee and urged them to reject this bill. You can add your voice and <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/9LUJCHFxakqwOAfV5sm78g2">tell Oklahoma’s legislature</a>: Put children first.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/oklahoma" hreflang="en">Oklahoma</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/adoption" hreflang="en">Adoption</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protect-thy-neighbor" hreflang="en">Protect Thy Neighbor</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:53:59 +0000 LHayes 13829 at https://www.au.org