Tuesday, July 7, 2015

AU Launches "Protect Thy Neighbor" Project


Unwilling to accept the advances in LGBT rights, women’s equality, and reproductive health, religious extremists are asking state legislatures, Congress, and the courts for a trump card to undermine this progress. They want to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to deny healthcare, refuse to provide services, and disobey laws protecting Americans from discrimination and abuse.

We stand for equality, fairness, and religious freedom. Everyone should be free to believe or not believe, but people’s religious beliefs should not be used to harm their neighbors.  As advocates for religious freedom, we are standing up to those who would harm others in the name of religion. We are fighting to protect our neighbors.

Protect Thy Neighbor is designed to respond to the increasingly common assertions that “religious freedom” gives people a right to discriminate against others, and deny them access to certain medical services.  We have fought this battle for years, but recent developments – including efforts by Catholic Bishops and Religious Right groups to use a twisted definition of “religious freedom” to deny rights to women and LGBT Americans – have opened a flood gate of new battles. We are expanding our work so that no one is allowed to use religion as an excuse to refuse you service, deny you healthcare or threaten your safety.

We are protecting our neighbors, and we invite you to join us. www.protectthyneighbor.org

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

AU Releases New Graphics Explaining Unconstitutionality of NDOP

As has been going on for almost 40 years, Congress has again endorsed an event led by a partisan conservative Christian group, the National Day of Prayer Committee (led by the wife of Christian conservative pundit James Dobson of Focus on the Family), and allowing the group to use its endorsement to promote their particular brand of Christianity with national political leaders participating in this annual charade without any hint of embarrassment or irony.

Also going on for the same 40 years, Americans United has spoken out to criticize this blatantly offensive and unconstitutional display of sectarian favoritism that excludes the vast majority of Americans and our faith and non-faith communities.  This year, AU has created a couple of informational graphics to make our point:
This year's National Day of Prayer will be held on Thursday, May 7. Please write to your Congressional representative this year to complain yet again about this outrageous assault on our First Amendment, and to insist that they follow the Constitution they were elected and swore to serve.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Megachurch Helps California School Board Blur Church-State Divide

(Reported by Amy Julia Harris, Reveal.org, 29 Apr 2015)

Bible verses, calls to accept Jesus and the promise of eternal life can be heard in two disparate places in a southeastern suburb of Los Angeles: the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills megachurch and the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education.

Three of the five school board members worship at the evangelical church on Sundays; two of them continue praying and preaching during the board meetings on Thursdays.

James Na, Chino Valley School Board President
“Our lives begin in the hospital and end in the church,” then-board President James Na said during a meeting in January 2014, according to a video of the meeting. He urged onlookers to surrender themselves to God and, to “everyone who does not know Jesus Christ, go find him.”

Some parents in the district say such proselytizing belongs at church, not at the school board. Parents first raised concerns about the prayers in September 2013 – a few months before Na encouraged people to find Jesus – contacting the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin nonprofit atheist group that opposes entanglements of church and state. The group sent board members a letter notifying them that they were violating federal laws.

That didn’t stop the public praying.