Members of the Americans United staff and local activists have remained busy addressing conferences, meetings and other events in person and remotely.
Here’s a roundup of some recent events:
AU President and CEO Rachel Laser addressed the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha via Zoom Oct. 27. Inspired by the faith of Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities, the group exists to cultivate inclusive environments to advance interfaith relationships and understanding. Laser addressed the topic, “The Law of the Land and the Fight for Religious Freedom.”
Laser was among the panelists for Pro-Choice Missouri’s forum “Faith Voices for Abortion” Oct. 25. She joined community voices discussing the role and importance of faith voices in the fight to preserve abortion rights in Missouri, and how church-state separation protects everyone’s right to make their own health care decisions.
On Oct. 19, Laser was at Harvard University, where she delivered a speech titled, “Why Maintaining the Wall Between Religion and Government is an American Imperative.” The event was sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Government Department. On Nov. 4, Laser addressed students from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications at AU’s offices in Washington, D.C. The professor, Murali Balaji, is a member of Americans United’s Board of Trustees, and his course focuses on media and nationalism. Laser on Nov. 10 spoke via Zoom to students at Harvard Divinity School. The class is taught by Naomi Washington Leapheart, a member of AU’s Faith Advisory Council.
Andrew L. Seidel, vice president for strategic communications, released his new book American Crusade: How the Supreme Court Is Weaponizing Religious Freedom (Union Square & Co.) in late September.
On Sept. 21, Seidel took part in a panel discussion on Christian nationalism sponsored by Americans United’s Greater Houston Chapter. The event was titled “Voter Suppression: Christian Nationalism’s Attempts to Control Who Votes,” and also featured journalist Sarah Posner.
Seidel also appeared on several podcasts to promote the book and on Nov. 5, he addressed the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Metro Denver Chapter about the book. On Nov. 14, he spoke about the book as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival at the Central Library in Madison.
Church & State Editor Rob Boston made introductory remarks about the work of Americans United Oct. 20 during “The Christian Nationalist Assault on Public Education in Tennessee,” a panel discussion sponsored by AU’s Nashville Chapter. Panelists were investigative journalist Kathryn Joyce; Marisa Richmond, an adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University; Bishop Julian Gordy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and chapter members Cliff Fiedler and Gene Bryant.
Americans United’s Orange County, Calif., Chapter held three virtual events recently. On Sept. 17, the chapter hosted “An American Muslim Perspective on Religion, Politics, Patriotism and Patriarchy,” featuring Ameena Mirza Qazi, the co-director of the Peace and Justice Law Center and former deputy executive director and staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter.
On Oct. 15, the chapter presented “Politically Empowering the Atheist and Humanist Community,” featuring Ron Millar of the Center for Freethought Equality.
On Nov. 19, the Rev. Sian Wiltshire of Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church offered a talk titled “Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?”
Americans United has a new Network Group in Mississippi. This informal association of AU supporters is coming together for the common purpose of rallying and supporting AU’s efforts. For information, search Facebook for “MS AU Network” or email [email protected]gmail.com.