Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United, will take part in "My Faith and My Government: When Should They Mix?" -- an event taking place October 16th, from 1-8 PM, in San Antonio. Read more
The official Americans United blog covering local activism and events.
On Saturday, October 16th, at 2:00 PM Orange County AU will host Dean Erwin Chemerinsky speaking on "The Supreme Court and the Future of Church-State Separation."
One of Dean Chemerinsky's longstanding causes has been the separation of church and state. He represented plaintiffs who sought to remove granite Ten Commandments from the Texas State Capitol. He supports abortion rights and was on the board of the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union for a decade.
He has also favored removing the words "under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Chemerinsky opposed Prop. 8 and said allowing it to pass would be an "incalculable blow to progress." Read more
NORTH SHORE (IL)AU
Rounding out the month, the North Shore AU chapter will host an event on September 30 to discuss the next strategies in the evolution/creationism wars. Chapter president Matt Lowry recently had an opportunity to go "into the lion's den" and attend a talk by Casey Luskin, Fellow of the Discovery Institute. Matt will share the information he picked up from this event, and from recent research, on what the Discovery Institute's next assault against science and the church-state separation wall might be.
The program takes place Thursday, September 30th, from 7:00-9:00 PM at the Northbrook Public Library in the Pollack Room. The library is located at 1202 Cedar Lane, Northbrook, IL. The talk is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided. If you live in the Chicago area you won't want to miss this! Read more
FLAGLER COUNTY (FL) AU
Because religion and partisan politics shouldn't mix, the Flagler County AU chapter hosted a discussion on September 21st to review and formulate a response under Project Fair Play to local concerns. In recent years, a small but aggressive band of political and religious leaders has pushed to politicize America’s houses of worship. These activists want to turn churches into cogs in a political machine that will elect candidates of their choice. The drive has reached a fever pitch.
Chapter leaders shared with community members the understanding that federal tax law is not intended to penalize churches and other tax-exempt entities or restrict their free speech rights. The rules are in place simply to distinguish between religious, educational and charitable institutions, which are entitled to tax exemption, and political organizations, which are not.
Area residents were encouraged to share their experiences with house of worship politicking. Read more
GREATER HOUSTON AU
On September 20th the Greater Houston chapter, along with co-sponsors Planned Parenthood and The Houston Federation of Teachers, hosted a discussion on how religion is influencing what public schoolchildren are taught.
The panel includes Meryl Cohen, vice president of education with Planned Parenthood, who talked about sexuality education. Chris Comer, former director of science in the curriculum division of the Texas Education Agency, who spoke about science. And Andrew Dewey, high school history teacher and executive vice president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, who talked about how history is taught in public schools.
On September 16 the Austin AU chapter was back in action hosting the Rev. Steven Baines, who led a workshop on religious outreach. The success of AU's work in preserving the separation of church and state often requires the cooperation of people of all religious and philosophical backgrounds. Effective communication is essential to this work, and that is what Rev. Baines touch upon is his presentation. Read more
Our Louisiana chapter asked the question "Same Sex Marriage: Is It a Church-State Issue?" at their September 14th event. Law Professor John Devlin, from the LSU Law Center, and long time LGBT activist Joe Traigle presented compelling information about same-sex marriage and how it relates to advocacy on church-state separation. Read more
CENTRAL VIRGINIA/GREATER RICHMOND AU
Central Virginia/Greater Richmond AU hosted the Rev. Steven Baines on September 14. Rev. Baines is the assistant field director for religious outreach at AU's national office. He spoke on the topic of "How Separation of Church and State is good for Religion." A message that is counter to what Religious Right advocates want people to believe. To get involved with the chapter contact David Sacks at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more
Austin AU, one of our newest chapters, had an action-packed September. Chapter members distributed AU's Project Fair Play letters to houses of worship in their community. They also held a discussion on national church-state separation issues, such as the Park 51 Islamic Center proposed to break ground near 'Ground Zero' in NYC, and a recent court decision on embryonic stem cell research. They rounded out the discussion by talking about a local issue regarding discrimination faced by Equality Texas members at St. Edward's University in Austin.
Our Nashville chapter held an event on September 11. A three way dialogue on separation of church and state featured Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU-Tennessee, Rev. David Kidd, a retired Presbyterian minister, and Nashville AU chapter vice president Charles Sumner. Each of the panelists has a long history of advocacy on behalf of church-state separation.