Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the only organization specifically dedicated to protecting church-state separation and religious freedom, today named Andrew L. Seidel as Vice President, Strategic Communications, beginning March 21. Seidel comes to AU from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, where he has served as Director of Strategic Response. Seidel will succeed Naomi Paiss, the incumbent Vice President at Americans United, who is retiring after 40 years in public affairs at the end of March.
“At a time when church-state separation is under threat in so many quarters, we are delighted to welcome Andrew to Americans United,” said AU CEO and President Rachel Laser. “It’s more important than ever to unite Americans of all beliefs and none to defend this foundational Constitutional principle. Andrew’s substantive expertise in our cause as well as his experience with communicating across all channels has never been more important.”
Seidel is an attorney and an author who’s defended the First Amendment for a decade. He graduated cum laude from Tulane University (‘04) with a B.S. in neuroscience and environmental science and magna cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where he was awarded the Haber J. McCarthy Award for excellence in environmental law. He studied human rights and international law at the University of Amsterdam and completed his Master of Laws at Denver University Sturm College of Law (‘11).
After a short stint in private practice, Seidel joined FFRF as a constitutional attorney and later Director of Strategic Response. He is the author of The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American (2019) and American Crusade: How the Supreme Court is Weaponizing Religious Freedom (forthcoming in September). He is also a Senior Correspondent at Religion Dispatches, has written several scholarly articles and contributed to the groundbreaking report released last month, “Christian Nationalism at the January 6, 2021, Insurrection,” which was published by the Baptist Joint Committee and FFRF.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the talented team at Americans United. I’ve spent a decade fighting for religious liberty for all and to keep state and church separate. I’m excited to bring that experience to AU,” Seidel said.
Americans United is also proud to announce the formation of its Faith Advisory Council. The Faith Advisory Council (FAC) is composed of faith leaders who publicly champion church-state separation and work with AU to deepen our relationships within different religious and spiritual communities. Members of the FAC come from a multitude of faith traditions and reflect the diversity of the communities in which AU works. They include:
The. Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, Pa.
Rabbi Robert B. Barr, Jewish, Ohio
The Rev. David W. Key Jr., Baptist, Georgia
The Rev. Selena Fox, Nature Spirituality, Wisc.
Maggie Siddiqi, Muslim, Washington, D.C.
The Rev. Alex McNeill, Presbyterian, N.C.
The Rev. Dr. Lori Walke, United Church of Christ, Okla.
Rabbi Rachel Joseph, Jewish, Oregon
“Religious freedom is for everyone, from the most devout believer to the committed atheist and everybody in between. It’s a fundamental human right that no government should violate and that must not be misused to discriminate or exclude,” Laser said. “Both Andrew and our volunteer members of the Faith Advisory Council will help us strengthen the American belief in church-state separation, which frees us to come together as equals and build a stronger democracy.”