Editor’s Note: The constitutional principle of religious freedom has been undermined like never before under the Trump administration. This year we have seen unprecedented attacks on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ equality, and an erosion of church-state separation that threatens religious minorities and the nonreligious in America.
As the new year approaches, we’re taking a look back at the Top 10 church-state separation issues of 2019 – and how AU has led the charge against these blatant violations of our Constitution.
In 2019 – year three of the Donald Trump presidency – Americans United expanded its efforts to stop the Trump administration from misusing religious freedom to harm others and undermining our nation’s fundamental principle of separation of religion and government.
AU filed three new federal lawsuits and joined a fourth, bringing our court challenges against the Trump administration to nine:
- AU also represents Aimee Maddonna, a Catholic mother of three who was turned away from volunteering with a taxpayer-funded foster care agency because she’s the wrong kind of Christian. We filed a lawsuit on Aimee’s behalf against the Trump administration and South Carolina for allowing taxpayer-funded, faith-based foster care agencies to discriminate.
- AU also joined Lambda Legal in representing Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin, a couple from Texas that was turned away from fostering refugee children by a federally funded, faith-based agency that won’t work with married same-sex couples.
- We continued to work in courts across the country in five pending lawsuits involving Trump’s cruel Muslim ban and the Trump rules that would allow employers and universities to use religion to deny employees and students access to birth control.
AU also called out administration officials who are undermining the separation of religion and government, including Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr, Faith and Opportunity Initiative adviser Paula White, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson – and of course, Trump himself.
AU also urged Congress to counter Trump’s dangerous agenda with new bills that would help prevent religious freedom from being misused to harm others. We support legislation to protect LGBTQ people, women, vulnerable children, religious minorities and others from discrimination, including the Do No Harm Act, the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, the No Ban Act and the Put Patients First Act.
However long Trump is in office, Americans United will be here to protect our country’s foundational principle of church-state separation – just as we have for the past 70-plus years. We know this is the only way to protect the Constitution’s promise of religious freedom – the right to practice a religion, or no religion at all, without harming others – for all of us, not just for some us. Join us!