Editor’s note: This blog post by AU President and CEO Rachel Laser originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of AU's Church & State magazine.

Six months into this job, I am happy to report that I’m loving it. Every day I’m more grateful for the opportunity to use the platform you’ve helped build to fight for our fundamental freedoms. 

I hope you’ve had a chance to watch the new video “We Are Americans United” that we created about AU’s work over the last six months. If you haven’t, please visit our website at au.org and you won’t be able to miss it! 

The video showcases some of the strategy I’m bringing to our already excellent work: reaching younger adults through social media content, displaying human faces and stories to show what’s at stake and connecting the dots between LGBTQ equality, reproductive freedom and the many other issues inextricably linked to church-state separation.

We hit the trifecta with this strategy when it came to our top-notch group of interns this summer. These young women not only brought an infusion of ener­gy, but many of them volunteered to make short videos as part of our #saveSCOTUS campaign to explain why they are personally vested in a Supreme Court that upholds church-state separation. 

These videos have been a hit on social media. (If you want to see them, visit our Facebook page.) 

Amy, who identifies as gay, tells us in her video, “My right to marriage, which is only three years old, and my right to adopt are being picked away at by legislation and legal cases fueled by those who wish to use religion as a way to discriminate against the queer community.” 

What’s at stake for Amy? In her own powerful words: “These legal cases will be seen by the Supreme Court, and Trump’s nominee could be the one to decide whether I’m equal.”

Amy brings it all home with the words: “So if you care about LGBTQ rights, you should care about the Supreme Court upholding church and state separation.”

 

Emily, who identifies as queer, movingly explains, “At my public high school, queer students were forced to read from the Bible and slurs were heard in the hallway every day. Now I fear that when I need a wedding cake or wedding flowers, I won’t be served because businesses have personal religious objections. 

“So if you care about LGBTQ+ rights, you should care about the Supreme Court upholding church-state separation.”

 

Mackenzie tells a different but an equally personal story about the importance of the contraceptives she uses to treat medical conditions. Staring bravely into the camera, she shares, “Before I started using birth control, some days I was in so much pain I had to stay home from work or from school. And my ability to have kids was being put in jeopardy without my ever knowing it. Luckily, I do have access to birth control, but some women with the exact same issue don’t. And Brett Kavanaugh supported letting employers and universities use their religious beliefs to deny these women ... access to contraceptive coverage. So if you care about health care, you should care about the Supreme Court upholding church-state separation.”

 

Alex was also willing to put her personal life on display to help underscore what’s at stake with church-state separation. She remarks, “After years of struggling to find a birth control pill that worked for me, my doctor and I decided that I should get an IUD. But after getting the IUD, I had some complications and needed a few follow-up procedures to make sure everything was okay. Both the IUD and these follow-up procedures would have each cost thousands of dollars, but I was lucky because my insurer covered all of it. 

“Brett Kavanaugh has previously supported using one’s religious beliefs to deny contraception coverage. … So if you care about health care, you should care about the Supreme Court upholding church-state separation.” 

 

Take a minute to think about what’s at stake for you when it comes to church-state separation and then share it with a friend or online. Please also consider sharing it with us at americansunited@au.org.

Your voices, stories and faces are the power behind our movement.

(Photo: Americans United interns Amy Fallaw, Alexandra Willingham, Mackenzie Price and Emily Midyette.)