AU received a complaint that the City of St. Augustine, as part of its 450th anniversary celebration, was listed as sponsoring a religious processional and Catholic Mass. We wrote to the City to explain that such sponsorship was unconstitutional. The City agreed and assured us that listing the City as a sponsor of those events was a mistake and that the events were wholly private and received no government support.
The City of Wadena was displaying a nativity scene in a public park during the holiday season. AU wrote to the City to explain that governmental display of a solo nativity scene is unconstitutional and to ask that the display be removed. The City complied.
AU received a complaint that an elementary school was taking students on field trips to a creationist museum. We wrote to explain that it is unconstitutional for a public school to teach or endorse creationism or other religious doctrines. The school canceled the field trips.
Escambia County had approved forty thousand dollars in public funds for a gospel concert. AU wrote to explain that the provision of governmental aid to a religious event violates the separation of church and state. In light of the controversy, the concert’s promoters decided not to take the government’s money and to rely instead on private funding.
The City of Cochran began flying the Christian flag at City Hall as an advertisement for a Bible reading event. After receiving numerous complaints, AU wrote to the City to explain that flying the Christian flag above a government building and endorsing a religious event were violations of the separation of church and state. The City removed the flag.
A County Commissioner informed the press that he would not allow a non-Christian to deliver the invocation at County Commission meetings. AU wrote to the Commission to explain that discrimination in prayer-giver selection is unconstitutional and to ask the Commission to refrain from such discrimination. The Commission agreed and formally adopted a non-discriminatory policy for prayer-giver selection, and thereafter scheduled a Humanist to give an invocation.
The choir director of an Ohio public school wrote an opera that he intended to be performed by his class. The opera contained numerous religious references and themes. AU wrote to the school district to explain that it is unconstitutional for a government employee to use a religious opera as a classroom assignment. The school agreed and cancelled the performance. A private group stepped up and directed the opera on private property and during non-school hours.
AU received a complaint that a public-school basketball coach was praying with his players before games. We wrote to the school district, prompting an investigation. The district confirmed the behavior and assured us that it would not continue.
The superintendent of a public school district sent an official email to all district staff, students, and community members inviting them to a prayer event. AU wrote to the district to explain that public-school officials may not use their positions to endorse a religious event or to encourage attendance at a religious event. The district responded, assuring us that it would not promote such religious events in the future.
A public school was transmitting prayers over its loudspeaker at sporting events. AU complained, explaining that school-sponsored prayer at sporting events is unconstitutional. The school district agreed and stopped the practice.