Americans United For The Separation of Church and State
Name of Executive Director: Rev. Barry Lynn
Year founded: 1947
Mission: Americans United's belief is that all Americans have the constitutional right to practice the religion of their choice (or not practice one, if that is their choice) as their individual consciences dictate, and that the government must maintain strict neutrality on all religious issues. It works to protect this right for all Americans.
Profile: AU, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, is a grassroots organization with no affiliation with a particular party or religious movement. It counts among its members people who belong to every religious group and people who have no religious affiliation. Its members share one concern: to ensure that the separation between church and state established in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is protected.
Americans United defends the separation of church and state in the courts, educates legislators, works with the media to inform Americans about religious freedom issues, and organizes local chapters all over the country. Some of its aims include advocating for:
- The free exercise of religion
- The right of each religious group to define marriage on its own theological terms
- Judicial nominees that strongly support separation of church and state
- Groups that strongly support separation of church and state
The group opposes:
- "Electioneering" by non-profit churches and religious groups
- The "faith-based initiatives" of the Bush Administration
- Religious education, mandatory prayer, and Bible reading in the public schools
- Educational vouchers which may be used to direct government funds to private religious schools
- Any attempt to amend the federal or state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage
- The presence of religious symbols on public property, for example, the posting of the Ten Commandments in government buildings
- The teaching of creationism in public schools (e.g., being involved with the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case which involves the teaching of "intelligent design")
- The agenda and activities of the Religious Right
- Prayer in government
To volunteer, make a donation, or become more involved, please go to AU's Get Involved page.
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room
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