AU’s Rachel Laser: Church-State Separation Crucial To Combating Antisemitism, Anti-LGBTQ+ Terrorism, Racism And Religious Extremism
Antisemitism is a blight on our country – and it’s on the rise. Religious extremists are not only responsible for this dangerous surge; they are intent on tearing down the wall separating church and state in order to cement their privilege.
Antisemitism is one of several threats we face when the wall crumbles. It’s the canary in the coal mine that portends more hatred and violence to come. If we want to preserve the rights of racial and religious minorities including the nonreligious, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality, public schools, public libraries…our democracy, we must keep religion and government separate.
That’s why Americans United is calling for a national recommitment to separation of church and state.
Supreme Court “Shockingly Cavalier” About Discrimination in 303 Creative
On Monday’s oral arguments in the 303 Creative v. Elenis case, the conservative Supreme Court justices were shockingly cavalier about the discrimination they seem poised to allow despite anti-discrimination laws. They are about to take our country backward to a time when businesses could openly declare “No Jews allowed.” While Justice Alito disturbingly joked about Black children dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb and Jewish dating sites, he and others on the court ignored the multitude of examples provided by Americans United and our allies of how these exemptions will harm LGBTQ people and religious and racial minorities.
As we pointed out in our amicus brief, in 2020 there was “a 34% rise in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide from the year before, hitting a record high over a 40-year span, with more than seven anti-Semitic incidents per day on average.” We concluded that this case “threatens the civil rights of religious minorities” and will fuel that rise in antisemitism if the court decides it the wrong way.
Domestic Terrorism Advisory For Jews, Other Religious And Racial Minorities, LGBTQ+ People
The Supreme Court’s deliberations in 303 Creative came just days after the Department of Homeland Security took the extraordinary step of warning Jews, other religious and racial minorities, LGBTQ+ people and immigrants to be on heightened alert for domestic terrorism from “lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances.” As we saw in last month’s shooting at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs, violence is the tragically predictable result when religious and political extremists engage in terrorism.
As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security noted, the current threat of terrorism is exacerbated by public officials and celebrities who promote antisemitic tropes and dangerous conspiracy theories. The former president of the United States, who fueled an insurrection by Christian nationalists and other militant supporters, publicly dined Thanksgiving week with a world-famous rapper under fire for repeated antisemitic remarks and another prominent antisemitic white supremacist.
AU Condemns Antisemitism, Other Extremist Ideologies That Stoke Violence And Fear
We condemn antisemitism and all other hate-filled, extremist ideologies that stoke violence, fear and oppression in our society. There can be no freedom for any of us in America until we are all free to live our lives without fear that we will be harmed because of who we are, what we look like or what religion we practice. Americans United is committed to defending the separation of church and state as the shield that ensures we may all live as ourselves and believe as we choose. There can be no religious freedom, racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality or reproductive freedom without church-state separation.
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Associate Vice President of Communications