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Sadly, our public schools remain battlegrounds in a misguided Religious Right “culture war.” We may be facing a new school year, but it’s the same old agenda from the Religious Right. A host of aggressive, well-funded groups want to use the public schools – schools that are supposed to serve all students – as vehicles to spread their narrow, dogmatic faith.
AU’s lawyers respond regularly to students and parents who make the brave decision to stand up and oppose those who would ignore the separation of church and state in our public schools. Consider these examples:
- A public school in the Midwest where the local board is determined to promote creationism and “Christian nation” history in class.
- A school in a Southern state where parents asked AU for help after teachers began organizing a church service for graduating seniors.
- A state in the West where an assembly that was supposed to be about bullying quickly turned into a fundamentalist Christian rally.
- A Midwestern school where, in December, students were told to remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and reminded to go to church.
Often we see young people being ostracized, threatened and even abused because they dare to blow the whistle on unconstitutional religious activities like this in school.
This last point is especially important. Americans United often hears from students who need our help. Their courage and determination is an inspiration.
These brave whistle-blowers know that the law is on their side, but they are sometimes reluctant to speak out because they worry about community backlash or they fear that no one will support them.
Imagine their relief when Americans United’s attorneys – men and women who represent a national organization that focuses exclusively on the separation of church and state – step in to help them. You can support this work through a tax-deductible donation today.
Believe it, our legal firepower makes a real difference. School administrators, school board members and the lawyers who advise them have to think twice when they receive a letter from AU explaining the law, listing the court precedents and telling them exactly what they are doing wrong and what they have to do to fix it. More often than not, our efforts are successful.