In today's world, the separation of church and state is about so much more than school prayer or faith-based funding. Did you know the topic encompasses issues like reproductive healthcare, science education, end of life care, marriage, and medical research?
You'll know all this and much more if you go see "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Separation of Church and State...but Were Afraid to Ask!" in a theater near you on Wednesday, March 26. (Back in the 1970s, people were afraid to ask about sex, but we're over that now.)
The simulcast is sponsored by First Freedom First, a joint project between Americans United and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation. Americans United Executive Director, the Rev. Barry Lynn and TIAF President, the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy will sit down with celebrities (and thousands of people watching in theaters across the nation) to discuss these important issues.
"This is a unique event that brings together celebrity commitment, civic engagement and the latest technology," said AU's Lynn. The simulcast will be an important educational tool "and give us an entertaining evening to boot," he added.
The celebrities Lynn's referring to hail from the worlds of film, television and music. The simulcast will be emceed by actor/producer Peter Coyote. Jack Klugman ("The Odd Couple"), Dan Lauria ("The Wonder Years"), Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me!") and James Whitmore ("The Shawshank Redemption") will be on hand to share why these issues matter to them. Actor and stem-cell research activist Michael J. Fox has also written and filmed a special message for the event.
Air America host Marc Maron will add some comic relief and interact with a live audience here in Washington.
Lynn and Gaddy will also interview Americans who have put their reputations and safety on the line to defend religious freedom. They include:
Bryan and Christy Rehm, teachers who, with help from Americans United, expelled "Intelligent Design" from their local public high school's science classes
Matthew LaClair, the New Jersey high school student who exposed religious indoctrination at his public school by taping his AP History teacher's evangelistic comments
Roberta Stewart, a military widow who, with help from Americans United, secured equal rights for Wiccan veterans
Dr. Susan Wicklund, who often wears a bullet-proof vest in order to provide reproductive health services in areas where no local doctor will do so
David and Ryan Altoon, who encountered fundamentalist proselytism at the U.S. Air Force Academy
Melinda "Lindy" Maddox, an Alabama lawyer who, with help from Americans United successfully sued "Ten Commandments" Judge Roy Moore
Rev. Madison Shockley, a pastor, talk-show host and
reproductive rights advocate
Susan Jacoby, author of the best-selling new book,
The Age of American Unreason
You don't want to miss these church-state heroes' often heart wrenching, but always inspiring stories.
The event's larger goal is to bring attention to these issues during the presidential campaign. "Presidential candidates have been asked what their favorite Bible verse is and what sins they have committed. I want to know where they stand on key issues of individual freedom," said Lynn.
I bet you want to know, too. So, help us out! Advertise "Everything You Always Wanted to Know..." in your community, see the film on Wednesday, March 26 and then ask candidates pointed questions about how they will defend your religious liberty. Our future and freedom depends on it.