September 2019 Church & State Magazine - September 2019

Americans United In Action! Staff Members And Activists Work To Shore Up Church-State Separation

  Americans United In Action! Staff Members And Activists Work To Shore Up Church-State Separation

Members of the Americans Uni­ted staff and local activists have kept busy promoting AU’s work. Here’s some information about recent activities:

Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser took part in a discussion called “Because God Said So?: The Misuse of Religious Freedom as a Tool of White Supremacy” July 16 at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. Joining Laser at the event was the Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, faith work director of the National LGBTQ Task Force.

On July 19, Laser spoke at the Newseum’s Freedom Forum’s Religious Freedom Center event for D.C. interns titled “Engaging the Data on Religion and Civil Dialogue.”

Rachel Laser at the Newsuem

(PHOTO: Rachel Laser at the Newseum’s Freedom Forum’s Religious Freedom Center.)

Maggie Garrett, AU’s vice president for public policy, addressed the Council for Exceptional Children’s “2019 Special Education Legislative Summit” in Arlington, Va., July 8. Garrett discussed the threat vouchers pose to special education.

Garrett and AU State Legislative Counsel Nik Nartowicz attended the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit in Nashville Aug. 5-8. They met with state legislators and distributed information about Americans United.

Richard B. Katskee, AU legal director, did a webinar on the Trump administration’s Denial of Care Rule for the American Bar Association July 19.

Church & State Editor and Senior Adviser Rob Boston was in Irvine, Calif., July 20, where he addressed AU’s Orange County Chapter. Boston’s talk was titled “Separation of Church and State: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We’d Like To Be.”

Boston also appeared recently in two documentaries: “We Believe in Dinosaurs” is a look at creationist Ken Ham’s efforts to open a Noah’s Ark theme park in rural Kentucky. In the film, Boston explains how Ham relied on taxpayer subsidies to build the evangelistic attraction. The second documentary, “American Here­tics,” examines efforts by progressive clergy to bring inclusive forms of faith to Oklahoma. Boston offers historical background about church-state separation in the film. More information about “We Believe in Dinosaurs” can be found at, and information about “American Heretics” is at

Several members of the Americans United staff and interns attended Netroots Nation, a large conference of progressive activists, that took place this year in Philadelphia July 11-13. AU had a table at the event to distribute material to attendees, meet with them and make activists aware of AU’s work.

Two new staff members joined Americans United recently. Ethan Haughie will serve as email marketing manager, helping AU more effectively communicate with members and supporters through email. Lisa French joins the Development Department as director of individual giving, a position that plays a key role in helping AU raise funds to further its work.

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