July/August 2018 Church & State Magazine - July/August 2018

Americans United Staff And Activists Support Church-State Separation Nationwide

  Rob Boston

June was Pride Month, and Am­ericans United was out in force to show support for the LGBTQ community.

In Washington, D.C., a contingent of AU staff members, joined by family, friends and local supporters, marched in the city’s annual Capital Pride Parade June 9. Led by President and CEO Rachel Laser, the AU band wore blue T-shirts featuring the phrase, “Keep Your Dog­ma Off My Rights!”

The next day, Americans United had an informational table at the Capital Pride Festival. Staff members were at the booth all day to distribute AU literature and take questions. Laser worked the booth, along with Legislative Director Maggie Garrett, Legal Intern Rebecca Fate, Chief Operating Officer Chis Colburn, Digital Campaign Specialist Kate Perelman and Communications Director Rob Boston.

AU’s participation in the event was noted by The Washington Blade, a prominent LGBTQ newspaper.

Americans United staff at Capital Pride

(Photo: Americans United staff and supporters prepare to march in the Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C.)

Richard B. Katskee, AU legal director, addressed the Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers June 24. The annual event, which is co-sponsored by Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society, brings teachers from all over the country to Washington, D.C., for six days of educational activities related to teaching about the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Americans United’s Houston Chap­­­ter held a panel discussion June 5 titled “Build The Wall (Between Church and State): Protecting Religion from Gov­­ernment Interference and Partisan Politics.”

Speakers were Mustafaa Carroll of the Council on American-Islamic Relations; the Rev. Lisa Hunt of St. Steph­en’s Episcopal Church and Rab­bi Steven Morgen of Congregation Beth Yeshurun. The event was moderated by Evan Mintz, a member of the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board.

The discussion took place at the United Way Community Resource Cen­­ter in Houston.

AU’s Orange-Durham Chapter in North Carolina hosted a talk by Hal Crowther June 5 at the Unitarian Un­i­versalist Congregation of Hillsborough. Crowther is an essayist who frequently writes about the Religious Right and its influence on politics in the South. He is the author of several books, including Unarmed But Dangerous: A Withering Attack on All Things Phony, Foolish and Fundamentally Wrong With America Today and An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H.L. Mencken.

Jerry Morris and Allison Mahaley, president and past president of the Orange-Durham Chapter, wrote an op-ed for the Durham Herald-Sun June 11 expressing opposition to a bill in the state legislature that would require posting “In God We Trust” in public schools.

“Parents should be able to trust that their children will not be evangelized while attending our public schools,” the two wrote. “Public schools should respect all students – whether they or their families believe in God or not – and no students should be made to feel like outsiders because of their faith.”

The Orange County (Calif.) Chapter of Americans United hosted Prof. Phil Zuckerman June 16. Zuckerman, a professor of sociology and  secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., spoke on “The Non­­­­rel­igi­ous in Today’s America.” His most recent book is The Nonreligious.

Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, a member of Americans United’s Board of Trus­tees, spoke about legislative prayer June 18 at an event sponsored by the First Coast Freethought Society.​ The event took place at the Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.

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