October 2023 Church & State Magazine - October 2023

Staff members and activists defend separation of church and state in public events


Members of the Americans United staff, activists and chapters continue to take part in events designed to help Americans understand the important role church-state separation plays in defending our freedoms.

Here is some information about recent events:

  • Continuing the follow-up to its Summit for Religious Freedom, Americans United sponsored a special SRF365 webinar Aug. 23 titled, “Finding a Place for Us Amid Rising Christian Nationalism.” The event featured Andrew Seidel, AU’s vice president for strategic communications, and Brandon J. Wolf, an LGBTQ+ civil rights activist and author of the recent book A Place For Us: A Memoir. 

On Aug. 2, AU sponsored an online briefing about its new lawsuit challenging a “public religious charter school” in Oklahoma.

  • On Aug. 26, a delegation of AU staff members and supporters took part in the 2023 March on Washington. The event commemorated the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for racial justice. 

AU President and CEO Rachel Laser took part in a July 17 panel discussion titled, “Revisiting Undue Hardship: Religious Accommodations in the Workplace.” Sponsored by the Tri-Faith Initiative, the event examined the effects of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Groff v. DeJoy. 

On July 14, Laser joined celebrity guests Bradley Whitford and Amy Landecker for an online discussion titled, “Exposing Christian Nationalism.” (The discussion can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/audotorg.)

  • Rob Boston, editor of Church & State and AU senior adviser, met with a group of students from Utah Valley University June 26. Boston briefed the students on the history of church-state separation and the work of Americans United then took questions. On July 19, Boston met with a delegation of scholars from several Middle Eastern nations as a part of a program run by the U.S. Department of State. Boston discussed how separation of church and state developed in America and explained how Americans United defends that principle. Boston spoke to Mesquite to Moapa Democrats in Nevada via Zoom Sept. 6, and on Sept. 17, he addressed members of AU’s St. Louis Chapter at its annual picnic in person. 
  • Kalli Joslin, Stephen Gey constitutional litigation fellow, addressed the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago Aug. 18. Joslin discussed the ways religious communities are working to protect reproductive freedom. 
  • AU’s Orange County, Calif., Chapter hosted author and researcher Katherine Stewart Aug. 19. Stewart’s talk for the virtual event was titled, “Religious Nationalism, The New Right and the Threat to Democracy.” On Sept. 16, the chapter hosted Dr. Nancy Watkins, director of the educational doctoral program at California State University-Fullerton, who spoke on the topic, “The Purpose of Public Education.” 
  • AU’s Maryland Chapter held a virtual meeting Sept. 5 to plan future events. The Central Savannah River Chapter of Americans United had a presence at two events recently where members tabled and made AU materials available: Georgia Pagan Fest in Augusta, Sept. 23 and Carrollton Pride Sept. 30.

Awesome anniversary: AU staffers and friends take part in the March on Washington

Congress needs to hear from you!

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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.

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