March 2020 Church & State | AU In Action

Americans United staff members and local activists have been promoting church-state separation in a number of ways lately.

Here’s some information about recent activities:

Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser wrote an op-ed column for The Washington Post Jan. 21. In the column, Laser warned about a pending Supreme Court case from Montana that could result in more taxpayer money flowing to private religious schools.

“No taxpayer should be forced to fund religious education,” Laser wrote. “This bedrock principle alone should convince you – and the court – to leave Montana’s constitution undisturbed. But if that’s not enough, consider the fact that a ruling in favor of the voucher program would also compel taxpayers to fund discrimination, religious and otherwise.”

Alicia Johnson, AU’s national organizer and student network manager, was in Richmond, Va., Jan. 28 to participate in a rally in opposition to President Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban. Litigation against the ban is ongoing, and AU Legal Director Richard B. Katskee spoke at the rally and was in the courtroom as the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a trio of cases, including one brought by AU and allies.

On Feb. 9, Katskee took part in a panel discussion during the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’s conference in Washington, D.C. The panel was titled “Religious Liberty and Anti-Discrimination Protections.”

 Americans United also sponsored an informational table at the event.

Alex J. Luchenitser, associate legal director, and Sarah Goetz, an AU legal fellow, recently co-authored an article for Catholic University Law Review. The article is titled “A Hollow Test: Why Establishment Clause Cases Should Not Be Decided through Comparisons with Historical Practices.” 

To read the article, visit: https:// ­scholarship.law.edu/lawreview/­vol68/­iss4/9/

Luchenitser traveled to Philadelphia Feb. 25 to address the Philadelphia Ethical Society. His talk was titled “Keeping Church and State Sep­arate: Recent Developments.”

 

Alex and Sarah

AU's Luchenitser (l) and Goetz

AU Vice President for Public Policy Maggie Garrett took part in a panel discussion on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28. The event, aimed at staff members from House of Representatives and Senate offices, focused on a series of faith-based regulations issued recently by the Trump administration.

Nik Nartowicz, state policy counsel, attended Equality Virginia’s Day of Action Feb. 4 in Richmond. During the event, a series of workshops was held on issues related to LGBTQ rights. 

Rob Boston, AU senior adviser and editor of Church & State, addressed the Secular Coalition for America during a meeting in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 8. On Feb. 12, Boston met with a delegation of scholars from several European and Scandinavian nations as part of a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Americans United also welcomed a new staff member recently. Courtni Burleson will serve as senior foundations relations manager. In this role, she will lead AU’s foundation and institutional giving efforts. Burleson previously worked at the American Constitution Society, where she served as senior director of foundation relations. She holds a law degree and has also worked as the staff attorney for the Washington, D.C., Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission.