Americans United has announced that it is accepting submissions for its 2019 student essay contest.
This year, AU is asking students to write essays that address the following topic:
The Religious Right is increasing its efforts to use religion as a sword to harm others rather than as a shield to protect people. This regressive political agenda seeks to misuse religious freedom to justify discrimination against the LGBTQ community, women, religious minorities and the nonreligious. What can the next generation do to counter these attacks and take action to protect the real meaning of religious freedom and prevent our country from moving backward?
Some of the ways in which we currently see religion being used to harm others include: policies that allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to reject prospective parents and volunteers because they are LGBTQ or the “wrong” religion; legislative efforts to promote Christianity in public schools by posting “In God We Trust” in schools or establishing Bible classes; and policies that would allow health care workers to deny care to patients based on religious or moral objections, and would allow employers and universities to use religion to deny employees and students access to birth control.
In their essays, students can reference current events, U.S. history, primary sources, personal experiences and information from AU.org and our Protect Thy Neighbor campaign website.
Criteria for submissions include:
- The length should be between 750 and 1,000 words.
- Essays should be well-written, well-researched and should be the student’s original writing, supported by specific examples and/or sources.
- The contest is open to high school juniors and seniors in the United States.
- The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2019.
The first-place winner will receive a $1,500 prize; $1,000 will go to the second-place winner and $500 to third place. The winning essay also will be published in Church & State.
Learn more about the contest and submit your essays at: austudents.org/essaycontest.