The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the tax code that protects the integrity of our tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose political candidates. And it’s under attack.
Last week, AU Legislative Director Maggie Garrett and I traveled throughout North Carolina to talk with faith leaders about the need to keep faith communities out of partisan politics as well as religious freedom legislation at both the state and federal levels.
We made stops in Greenville, Durham, Charlotte and Asheville. The people of North Carolina, particularly the AU chapter leaders and leaders with the North Carolina Council of Churches with whom we partnered, are incredibly gracious and hospitable. North Carolina is certainly a beautiful state. I loved our time there.
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.
Yesterday, Donald Trump unveiled his education plan. It lacks any vision for strengthening our public schools. Instead, it would divert $20 billion in federal funding to “school choice,” including private school vouchers.
Georgia Equality will honor Americans United for Separation of Church and State Legislative Director Maggie Garrett at its upcoming Evening For Equality. Garrett will receive the Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award on June 18.
In a statement, Georgia Equality identified Garrett as “the most responsive attorney in reviewing legislative language” they’ve ever worked with and praised her for her diligence and dedication to the First Amendment.
You might have read over the weekend about a law passed by the Arizona legislature that would allow the owners of stores and secular businesses to refuse to serve certain customers if they deem that doing so would offend their religious beliefs.
The measure, SB 1062, is getting quite a lot of attention. All eyes are on Gov. Jan Brewer, who hasn’t yet said if she’ll sign the bill into law. Brewer has indicated that she’ll act this week.
Yesterday marked the start of “National School Choice Week.” Although some of the groups and individuals behind this annual event are interested in things like charter schools and public school choice, it’s mainly a vehicle for promoting private school voucher plans.
Vouchers, of course, aren’t really about choice. Oh, there’s choice, all right – for the schools. They get to decide which students they will admit. They get to decide what to teach them. They get to decide who will teach there. They get to decide if they want to impose theology onto students.
When Americans United Legislative Director Maggie Garrett heard rumors of a pending floor vote on school vouchers in the U.S. Senate, she had just over two days to organize opposition.
Americans United co-chairs the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE), and Garrett worked quickly to draft a sign-on letter from the coalition’s more than 50 members. It urged all senators to vote against any amendments to the 2014 budget proposal that would divert federal dollars to religious and other private schools.