The Separation of Church and State

Five takeaways from the Summit for Religious Freedom

  Rob Boston

The Summit for Religious Freedom (SRF) ended Monday night, but many attendees stayed in town to attend a Hill Day yesterday. They met with members of Congress or their staffs to discuss the importance of passing the Do No Harm Act.

Now that SRF2024 is over, I’d like to share a few takeaways:

Christian Nationalism is an existential threat to America.

It isn’t just separation of church and state that Christian Nationalists want to obliterate – they’re after our democracy, period and full stop. Speaker after speaker made this point. Christian Nationalists yearn to replace our democracy with a theocracy. This has been their game plan for years, and it’s time we told the American people that.

Christian faith leaders must spearhead the fight against Christian Nationalism.

This theme came up repeatedly during SRF: Christian clergy and other leaders know that Christian Nationalism is a corruption of the faith they hold dear. They need to be leaders in the fight to stop it, and many are already assuming that role. Just to be clear, everyone has a stake and a role in saving our democracy.

A new generation of pro-separation leaders is emerging.

Gen. Z didn’t start the culture wars – but they’re going to end them. Attendees heard from several of these leaders during the Summit. They are inspiring. The First Amendment is in good hands.

We will win because history is on our side.

This was another constant theme during SRF – you can’t fight the tide of history. Over and over again, Americans have confronted the forces of regression. We have explicitly rejected an America where reproductive freedom is a memory, where LGBTQ+ people are driven back into the closet, where books are banned and where public schools are replaced with fundamentalist academies. We’ve had a taste of all that in the past. We’re not going back.

Americans United is building a powerful coalition for religious freedom.

SRF is a big tent. AU sponsored SRF along with the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, the Proteus Fund and an impressive array of partners. We reached out to allies from religious and nonreligous communities. Unlike Christian Nationalists, we recognize that diversity is our superpower. Sure, we differ on matters of faith. But we respect one another’s views and remain AMERICANS UNITED.

SRF 2024 may be over, but the work of defending separation of church and state and the true religious freedom it gives us goes on. In fact, we’re already planning our next webinar through SRF365, our year-round, virtual Summit for Religious Freedom programming – learn more here. Stay in touch and stay involved!

Photo by Chris Line

Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

Act Now