A Va. School District’s Policy On Transgender Students Exposes The Cruelty Of Christian Nationalism

Meet the 2022 Student Essay Winners

Read the winning essay

AU's annual essay contest

We encouraged high school students to reflect on why religious freedom and church-state separation are important to them and their communities—and what they can do to ensure religious freedom is a shield that protects the rights of everyone to practice religion according to their own beliefs, or not practice at all, as long as they don’t harm others.

The 2022 essay prompt asked students to address how one or more of the following Supreme Court decisions relates to church-state separation and religious freedom, and how it will affect people and communities in the United States:

  • Kennedy v. Bremerton School District
  • Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
  • Carson v. Makin

In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Supreme Court ruled against the Bremerton School District, which was trying to protect public high school students from a coach who violated their religious freedom by pressuring them to join his public prayers at the 50-yard line at public high school football games. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court abolished the constitutional right to abortion. And the decision in Carson v. Makin forces taxpayers to fund religious education.


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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