- $1,500 for high school essay winner
- $1,500 for high school video winner
- $1,500 for college essay winner
- $1,500 for college video winner
AU’s annual contest encourages 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.
AU is excited to announce our NEW student contest with cash prizes! What's new? We now accept essays and video submissions from high school and college students!
Students, submit a piece of original writing or an original video that responds to the topic and meets the criteria below. Separate cash prizes will be awarded to both high school winners and college winners. Submissions are due May 8.
At Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), we envision a nation where we are all free to believe or not believe as we choose, where our laws don’t allow anyone to use their beliefs to harm others, and where we can come together as equals to build a stronger democracy.
What is your vision for church-state separation? What would happen if we secured separation of church and state in the United States, and all people were able to live as themselves and believe as they choose? Students are invited to write a short essay or create a short video sharing that vision.
Tips for your submission:
The contest is open to high school students and undergraduate students attending any 2- or 4-year college or university including trade & technical schools. Students must live in the United States including the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Employees and board members of Americans United, and members of their families, are not eligible to participate.
Participants can submit either an essay or a video, not both. Students are only eligible for one prize.
Submissions will be judged on creativity and adherence to the topic above and additional criteria below. Submissions must be received by 11:59PM PT on Monday, May 8.
If you have any questions after reading this page, please contact Alicia Johnson, AU’s Student Network Manager, at [email protected].
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.