December 2019 Church & State Magazine - December 2019

Americans United In Action! Staff Members And Activists Support Church-State Separation

  Americans United In Action! Staff Members And Activists Support Church-State Separation

Members of the Americans United staff and grassroots activists have been busy supporting church-state separation in a variety of ways around the country.

Here’s a roundup of recent activities:

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United, recently filmed a short video with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance discussing the work of Americans Uni­ted and the importance of being part of the BBB. To watch the video, search for “BBB Rachel Laser” on YouTube.

Video of a speech Laser delivered this summer to the National Secular Society in London is also now available online. Search YouTube for “Secularism 2019: Rachel Laser, Religious Freedom in Trump’s America.”

 The Freedom From Religion Foundation has posted video of Laser’s speech during that organization’s annual convention in October. Search YouTube for “Rebuilding The Wall – Rachel Laser” to watch it.


Sarah Gillooly, vice president for state outreach and engagement, was in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 2 where she addressed “FREEFLO,” a conference spon­sored by several humanist and atheist groups, among them the Central Florida Freethought Community. Gillooly’s speech was titled “Church-State Separation in the Trump Era And What YOU Can Do About It.”

Rob Boston, AU senior adviser and editor of Church & State, addressed a group of students from American University at the AU offices Nov. 19. Boston provided an over­view of church-state history and took questions. 

In mid-November, a documentary Boston appears in played during the DOC NYC film festival in New York City. The film, “We Believe in Dinosaurs,” examines the conflict that arose in Kentucky over creationist Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark theme park. (The attraction, Ark Encounter, received significant amounts of public funding.) The documentary will air on PBS’s “Independent Lens” Feb. 17. 

 AU Legal Director Richard B. Kats­kee addressed the Northern Virginia Ethical Society Nov. 17. Kats­kee’s talk focused on current efforts by the Trump administration to use religious freedom as a justification for discrimination. 

Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, past president and current member of Americans United’s Board of Trustees, addressed the topic of “Religious Freedom as a Tool of White Supremacy” at Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 18. The event was sponsored by the First Coast Freethought Society.

 The Nashville Chapter of Americans United held a concert Nov. 8 featuring the Duffy Jackson Trio with an appearance by Jay Slobey. Between the musical interludes, the chapter held a discussion about how some people are redefining religious liberty to deny services because of a “sincerely held” religious belief.

 AU’s Orange County, Calif., Chapter held an event in Irvine Oct. 19 featuring Fayaz Nawabi, policy and advocacy manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Greater Los Angeles. Nawabi addressed the topic “The Muslim Ban and Protecting Civil Liberties in the American Muslim Community.” On Nov. 16, the chapter hosted Monica Miller, legal director and senior counsel at the American Humanist Association, who discussed “The New Roberts Supreme Court: A Secular Perspective.”


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