Americans United staff members and activists have been busy taking part in events to support church-state separation.
Here’s a roundup of recent events:
On June 6, Americans United hosted a webinar titled, “Education For All: Advocating For Public Education In Florida.” The event featured a panel of speakers who discussed the effect of vouchers on the state’s education system.
On June 22, the day after the Supreme Court ruled in Carson v. Makin, AU held an online briefing for members and supporters to explain the decision. The event featured Maggie Garrett, vice president for Public Policy, and Alex Bodaken, Steven Gey Constitutional Litigation Fellow. AU held a similar briefing about Kennedy v. Bremerton School District June 28 featuring AU President and CEO Rachel Laser; Gabi Hybel, AU Madison Legal Fellow; and the Rev. Doug Avilesbernal, executive minister at Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches. Both briefings are available on AU’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/audotorg.
Several Americans United staff members attended Capital Pride, a festival in Washington, D.C., June 12. AU had a table at the day-long event and distributed information about the organization, as well as AU-themed material such as pens, chip clips, stickers and buttons.
The booth attracted a steady stream of visitors, and AU signed up hundreds of people to receive AU emails. AU activists in other parts of the country also tabled at local Pride events.
Church & State Editor Rob Boston offered an online briefing on church-state history June 13 for Encore Learning, a program for older Americans sponsored by the Arlington County, Va., public library system. More than 200 people attended the event. To watch the presentation, search YouTube for Encore Learning.
On July 10, Boston led a service at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Md., discussing the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Bremerton case.
Andrew L. Seidel, vice president for strategic communications, spoke to the American Humanist Association’s virtual national conference June 25. Seidel outlined the threat of Christian nationalism and offered a preview of his forthcoming book American Crusade: How The Supreme Court Is Weaponizing Religious Freedom.
Maggie Garret, vice president for public policy, addressed a class of students from the College of William & Mary in Washington, D.C., June 29. Garrett discussed the work of Americans United and current issues.
AU’s Greater Houston Chapter held its annual meeting June 7. The virtual event was titled, “Church-State Separation Affects Everyone.” It focused on Christian nationalism and featured community leaders who addressed issues of current concern, explaining how religious doctrines are influencing public policy.
AU’s Maryland Chapter also held a virtual event June 7 to discuss upcoming plans and activities.
The Nashville Chapter of Americans United met virtually June 9 to hear a talk by Marisa Richmond, a professor of history and women’s and gender studies at Middle Tennessee State University. Her address was titled, “The Latest Assault On The Separation Of Church And State.”
The Orange County, Calif., Chapter of Americans United met June 18 for a virtual event examining the wave of book banning in America. The recorded program by EveryLibrary featured several panelists who looked at the personal, political and educational impacts of book banning and censorship. The event was designed to reinforce how important it is for young people to have access to books that both reflect their experiences and help them understand the experiences of other people. On July 16, the chapter held an event titled, “The Intersection Between Religion and Healthcare: Catholic Healthcare Systems” with guest speaker Steven Velkei.