Americans United for Separation of Church and State was formed by a coalition of leaders from religious, educational and fraternal communities late in 1947. Last year, the organization celebrated seven decades of activism.
By 1948, AU, fully staffed and headquartered in Washington, D.C., was taking on a host of church-state battles – and people were taking note. A front page article in The New York Times that ran on Jan. 12, 1948, was headlined “New Body Demands Church Separation.”
This year, Americans United marks the 70th anniversary of its first full year of work in defense of the church-state wall. As such, it’s the perfect time to step back and consider some of the great church-state battles from days gone by. A lot has happened since the late ’40s, and it’s always going to be a subjective exercise to pluck 10 incidents from a period that long, but here’s our modest effort to revisit some of those struggles – and highlight the role AU played in them.