September 2017 Church & State - September 2017

AU Staff Members And Local Activists Spread The Word About Church-State Separation

  AU admin

Staff members and activists with Americans United have been working hard to support separation of church and state through speeches, media appearances and other forums

Here’s a roundup of some recent activities:

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” July 6 to discuss recent actions by the Supreme Court, including the high court’s ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer. Lynn answered questions from the host and took calls from viewers.

Legislative Director Maggie Garrett spoke during the Council for Exceptional Children’s Special Education Legislative Summit in Alexandria, Va., July 10. Garrett took part in a session titled “Keep Public Funds in Public Education” and briefed attendees on voucher threats at the federal level.

On Aug. 22, Garrett spoke during the 8th International Religious Liberty World Congress in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., an event that is sponsored every five years by the International Religious Liberty Association of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Garrett took part in a panel discussion titled, “Conflict of Rights and the State of Religious Freedom in America: Religious Exemptions or Discrimination.”

Garrett and other members of AU’s Legislative Department attended the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Legislative Summit Aug. 6-9 in Boston.

Rob Boston, AU communications director, delivered a guest sermon at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Md., July 23. Boston’s talk was titled, “Debunking the ‘Christian Nation’ Myth.” 

Samantha Sokol, AU’s legislative assistant, and Erin Hagen, youth outreach coordinator, represented Americans United at the Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta Aug. 10-13. 

Hagen led a workshop on effective organizing titled, “All Hands In: Why a Multi-Faith Approach Is a Winning Strategy Under Trump” during the Secular Student Alliance’s annual conference in Columbus July 8. 

Hagen and the AU Field Department organized training workshops for activists in North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida Aug. 4-5 and for activists in Texas, New Mexico and Missouri Aug. 11.

On July 4, newspapers all over the country ran an ad by the Hobby Lobby corporation promoting inaccurate “Christian nation” views of American history. David Marcus, president of Join Us For Justice, the El Paso, Texas, chapter of Americans United, responded with an opinion column that ran in the El Paso Times July 8.

Eric Lane of AU’s San Antonio Chapter also debunked Hobby Lobby’s claims in a column that ran in the San Antonio Express-News. The Orange County Chapter of Americans United in California hosted a talk by Judge Jim Gray July 15. Gray’s talk was titled, “The Brilliance of our Founders” and focused on the importance of protecting government from sectarian interference. Gray retired from the California Superior Court in 2009. 

On July 17, the Orange-Durham Chapter of Americans United in North Carolina hosted Rob Schofield, executive director of North Carolina Policy Watch, who addressed the topic, “Religious Freedom: What Does It Really Mean?” 

AU’s Sarasota-Manatee Chapter in Florida held an open house the evening of Aug. 5 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota. The event was an opportunity for people to learn about the work of Americans United and discuss their concerns.

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