March 2024 Church & State Magazine - March 2024

Staff members and grassroots activists take part in public events to defend separation of church and state


Americans United staff members and activists continue to spread the word about church-state separation in public events.

Here’s some information about recent activities:

God & Country: AU webinar draws thousands

Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser hosted a Feb. 13 webinar about the new documentary “God & Country,” a critical look at Christian Nationalism. Speakers included Dan Partland, the film’s director, and several experts who appear in it: Andrew L. Seidel, AU vice president of strategic communications; Rob Boston, editor of Church & State; Jemar Tisby, New York Times bestselling author and scholar; and Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, upon which “God & Country” is based. The event also included clips from a taped interview Laser did with actor/filmmaker Rob Reiner, producer of the documentary.

For more information about the film, visit

On Jan. 31, Laser spoke as part of a panel sponsored by the Federalist Society in Washington, D.C., discussing the Supreme Court’s interpretation of religious freedom. (See her column in this issue for more information.)

Seidel co-authored an op-ed with U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman about the threat to church-state separation posed by the National Prayer Breakfast. The piece was carried by the Daily Beast website and picked up by Yahoo News. To read it, search the Daily Beast site ( for “Church-State Separation Is Breaking Down Before Our Eyes.” (Free registration may be required.)

AU Constitutional Litigation Fellow Sarah Taitz joined allied organizations for the Interfaith Impact Lunch at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City Feb. 20. Taitz spoke about AU’s work to protect reproductive rights.

The event was a continuation of AU’s advocacy efforts in Oklahoma, including a lawsuit the organization filed with allies on behalf of a group of dedicated Oklahoma faith leaders, parents and public-education advocates to stop Oklahoma officials from creating the first religious public charter school in the nation. AU also co-hosted the Focus on Abortion photojournalism exhibit, trainings and events in Oklahoma City to raise awareness of how abortion bans violate inclusive religious freedom and church-state separation.

AU Vice President for Public Policy Maggie Garrett authored an article titled, “State Legislative Threats to Public Education” in a “2024 State of the Secular States” report issued by American Atheists. To read Garrett’s analysis, visit

Brian Silva, AU’s vice president for outreach & engagement, was in New Orleans Jan. 17-21 for the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change Conference, where he ran an exhibit of AU material and led a workshop on Christian Nationalism. Several members of AU’s Youth Organizing Fellowship attended as well.

AU’s Atlantic Coast Chapter held an event Dec. 18 titled, “School Vouchers in Florida.” The speaker was Dr. Norin Dollard, senior policy analyst with KIDS COUNT.

On Jan. 8, AU’s Rochester, N.Y., Chapter hosted an event with author and journalist Linda K. Wertheimer who discussed her months-long investigation of coercive religious practices in the public schools of Bossier Parish, La., the home base of U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson. The event was titled, “An Inside Look at a Louisiana School Prayer Battle with National Implications.”

On Jan. 25, Hal Harris, a member of AU’s St. Louis Chapter, spoke to the Phelps County Democratic Club in Rolla, Mo., offering a briefing about the work of Americans United and its lawsuit challenging Missouri’s abortion ban.

AU’s Orange County, Calif., Chapter held a screening of a documentary titled, “Michael Flynn’s Holy War” Jan. 20. On Feb. 17, the chapter hosted speaker Barry Price, a founding member of A Better Exit, an organization committed to expanding California’s End of Life Option Act. 

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