June 2006 Church & State | Featured

This special issue of Church & State takes a look at the top 10 Religious Right groups in America. It is only fitting, therefore, that we provide 10 things you can do to oppose the Religious Right.

1. Be active in Americans United. If you are not a member, become one. Support AU financially. Sign up for AU’s Activist Network at AU’s Web site: www.au.org/register. Join an AU chapter if there is one in your area. If not, consider forming one.

2. Get involved politically. Register to vote and pay attention to what candidates say about church-state issues. Attend voter forums and ask questions. Participate in voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. (Note: You may do what you want in politics as a private citizen, but remember that houses of worship and non-profit groups may not intervene in partisan politics.)

3. Speak out in public to defend the separation of church and state. Respond to letters to the editor attacking church-state separation or spreading misinformation about the principle. Remember that many people are undecided about these issues and need to see both sides.

4. Mobilize the faith community. If you attend a house of worship, ask your religious leaders to publicly support church-state separation. When religious leaders speak out in favor of church-state separation, it debunks the Religious Right canard that separation is hostile to faith.

5. Support public education. Pub­lic schools are often the Religious Right’s public enemy number one. Support public schools, even if you don’t have children attending them. Public education free from sectarian control is in everyone’s interest. Oppose Religious Right efforts to starve our schools by denying them an adequate tax base.

6. Expose Religious Right extremism. Remind your friends and neighbors that the Religious Right holds extreme views, far outside the mainstream. Use Church & State and the AU Web site to demonstrate the theocratic goals of the Religious Right.

7. Educate the public. Find out if your local public library will accept a free subscription to Church & State. Also consider donating books that promote AU’s point of view.

8. Contact your member of Con­gress. If legislation is introduced that threatens the separation of church and state, speak up. Write a letter, send an e-mail or send a fax to your senators and representative in the House. Let him or her know where you stand. (AU’s Church-State Action Center can help you with this. Go to www.au.org and click on “Legislative Action.”)

9. Speak to your local lawmakers. If there is a church-state controversy in your community, speak up. Address lawmakers at a public meeting. Gather supporters to your side. For more advice, contact Americans United.

10. Report a violation of church-state separation. If you are concerned that an action or legislation in your local public schools, local government or state government may violate separation of church and state, report it to Americans United’s Legal Department. Go to www.au.org and click on “In the Courts” and then “Report a Violation” for more information.

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Remember, Americans United has an array of publications, fact sheets and other materials to help you make the case for separation of church and state. For more information, e-mail AU at americansunited@au.org or call (202) 466-3234. You can also write Americans United at: 518 C St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002.