It’s January, which means state houses across the country are beginning to bustle. Legislators are coming back to the capitals to begin their sessions and governors are preparing their next moves. Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia are among the states that have already convened and in the next few weeks, dozens more join them.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) two-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be U.S. attorney general concluded today, but Sessions has already cemented our concerns about his lack of respect for religious freedom.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been fighting for church-state separation for 70 years. A vital part of our work has always involved listening to the voices of young people who find new and effective ways to speak out for religious freedom and stand up to those who use religion to harm others.
Each year, Americans United recognizes a young person under the age of 25 who has advocated for religious freedom and church-state separation in their community with the David Norr Youth Activist Award.
Americans will go to the polls tomorrow and elect a new president. It’s an awesome responsibility, one of the defining characteristics of a free people.
Americans United is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Under federal law, we can’t endorse or oppose candidates (although we can take sides on ballot referenda). Unlike some Religious Right groups, we respect this law and follow it.
It’s not our job to tell you how to vote. It is our job to remind you why civic participation is important. And it’s our job to tell you – and all Americans – what we stand for.
Every summer, I have the pleasure of attending the National Conference of State Legislatures annual conference. I am AU’s State Legislative Counsel and this conference, the biggest gathering of state legislators and staff in the country, gives us with the opportunity to educate state legislators and their staff, about AU, our mission, and how we can work with them to fight for religious freedom.
Most of the country now knows Khzir and Ghazala Khan as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a brave soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004. But Khzir Khan’s moving speech at the Democratic National Convention and his wife’s subsequent comments haven’t deterred Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from attacking their motivations.
It should surprise no one that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mentioned religious freedom in his speech to the Republican National Convention last night. The former presidential candidate won the Values Voter Summit straw poll three years running and was widely regarded as the Religious Right’s favored candidate when he first entered the race.