I was on vacation last week. My wife, son and I visited Charleston, S.C., where we soaked up a lot of Revolutionary War and Civil War history. (OK, we also spent a day at the beach.)
In September of 1992, a man named Barry W. Lynn was named executive director of Americans United.
At the time, I’d been working at AU for five years, and I knew Barry by name and reputation. If you worked in the fields of civil liberties or social justice, you’d know Barry; that’s just the way it was. He was an important player in those areas.
Americans United is hard at work sounding the alarm about some of the people President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to serve in his cabinet.
Among the most troubling is Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to run the U.S. Department of Education. DeVos has no experience with public education. In fact, she’s hostile to the concept. DeVos has devoted much of her time over the years to prioritizing and promoting private school voucher plans.
One of the things I love about working at Americans United is the religious diversity, both among our staff and among the many people across the United States who fight alongside us for religious freedom for all people.
Though I know there are things we disagree on in terms of our religious beliefs, we are united in a common passion for a common goal – to ensure religious/philosophical freedom for all and to refuse to allow religion to be used to harm or discriminate against others.
On July 22, the Indiana Chapter of Americans United held a “God and Government” event, a panel of faith leaders discussing church-state issues.
Yesterday was the one-month anniversary of the shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people. This has been a difficult month for the LGBT community, yet on the anniversary, House Republicans held a hearing on a bill aimed at allowing discrimination against same-sex couples and their families in the name of “religious freedom.”
I spent several hours yesterday morning hanging around outside the Supreme Court. It was a very lively scene.
Saturday is Religious Freedom Day. While it’s not one of our most well-known or popular holidays, Religious Freedom Day shouldn’t be overlooked. Our country is in the middle of a campaign, spearheaded by far-right religious groups and their political allies, to redefine religious freedom. We cannot allow this to happen.
The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 rightfully declared this provision unconstitutional.
In the United States, pretty much all adults, with very few exceptions, have the right to run for public office. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If democracy means anything, it means the right to choose our own leaders. Disqualifying people from the ballot because of their race, gender or religious beliefs is un-American.