This Fall, ‘Voices United’ Will Sing Out For Church-State Separation

Americans United is sponsoring a national concert project this fall featuring an array of performers who will sing out in support of church-state separation.

“Voices United for Separation of Church and State” takes place Sept. 28-30. During that weekend, friends of Americans United will host a series of musical events nationwide to celebrate the vital principle of church-state separation. Plans are to have at least one performance in every state, and some will have more than one.

Many of the events will be “house concerts” at supporters’ homes, but some of the performances will take place at clubs or larger venues. Voices United is intended to raise public awareness about the importance of church-state separation, as well as raise funds for AU’s work.

The multi-concert festival is being coordinated by Catie Curtis, a Boston-based singer-songwriter, and John Jennings, a musician/producer who has worked with Mary Chapin Carpenter, George Jones, the Indigo Girls and others.

Artists and bands already committed to the project include Curtis, Bianca De Leon, Heather Maloney, Carsie Blanton, SONiA, Guy Davis, Martine Locke, Justin Roth, Mary Gauthier, Louise Taylor, Tom Pacheco, Porch Party Mamas and Mustard’s Retreat.

Curtis has been plugging the event during her recent concerts. The singer, who worked with Americans United in 2008 on a special program and DVD titled “Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Separation of Church and State…But Were Afraid to Ask,” told the St. Augustine Record that she shares AU’s view on church-state issues.

“I did a benefit years ago for them, and got interested primarily because of marriage equality,” Curtis said. “But the more I looked into their work for reproductive freedoms and education issues, the more I realized that these were issues that I believed strongly in, too. So when I had the opportunity to help them produce house concerts this year to raise awareness, it seemed like a perfect match since I’ve spent 20 years on the road working with people who love to play and host house concerts.”

Curtis, who has issued 12 albums, added that she has been dismayed by efforts to block marriage equality, referring to a recent referendum battle in North Carolina.

“Even if someone personally feels that marriage needs to be defined by the Bible, that’s not the basis of our Constitution,” Curtis said.

AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, who is a long-time folk-music fan, said he’s pleased to be working on an event like this that will benefit Americans United.

“We have an exciting line-up of performers who have agreed to donate their time to help Americans United and to further the cause of church-state separation,” Lynn said. “I urge Americans United members to show their support as well.”

Lynn noted that there are many ways Americans United members can get involved in this project – by hosting concerts, by attending them or just by spreading the word.

As of late May, 34 concerts had been planned, but the number will increase as things move forward.

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