Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn has just published a new book that reflects on his quarter century of activism on behalf of church-state separation.
God And Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom Of Conscience (Prometheus Books) went on sale Aug. 4. In the book, Lynn discusses his involvement in a variety of controversial “culture war” issues, including school prayer, “faith-based” initiatives, church-based politicking, LGBT rights, creationism and others.
Comedian Lewis Black says the book features “intelligence, wisdom, humanity and a devilish wit” while feminist pioneer Eleanor Smeal writes that when Barry Lynn speaks “I take notes. His insights from 25 years on the front lines are extremely valuable.”
Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and an attorney, took over the leadership of Americans United in 1992. Prior to that, he worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and the public policy office of the UCC. He has also been a talk-radio show host and in 2008 authored the book Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom. Lynn is a frequent guest on cable and network news programs and is often turned to by the media for expert analysis and commentary on church-state issues.
God And Government offers an insider’s account of some of the high-profile church-state battles of the past two and a half decades. Among them are a clash over the teaching of “intelligent design” in Dover, Pa., that captured headlines around the world; AU’s legal battle against “Ten Commandments judge” Roy Moore in Alabama and a lively skirmish over church-based partisan politicking in Binghamton, N.Y., that resulted in a landmark federal appeals court ruling.
In a section of the book dealing with the Religious Right, Lynn recounts his bouts with figures such as Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.
“Every day I get to do something I love – defend the right of conscience by upholding the wall of separation between church and state,” Lynn said. “I can’t imagine a better way to spend 25 years.”
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.