About Americans United
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a a nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.
Americans United, or AU, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU works in the courts, in Congress and the state legislatures, at the White House and in the arena of public opinion.
If you share our commitment to church-state separation, please join us today. We welcome your support in this important cause.
“The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well- meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.”
— James Madison, from a letter sent to F.L. Schaeffer, Dec 3, 1821
Does Americans United oppose or promote religion?
No. Americans United does not take positions on theological questions. AU works to defend the free exercise of all religions as protected by the Constitution; and we oppose any effort to use government power to force anyone to support, take part in or fund religion.
Americans United was founded in 1947 by a broad coalition of religious, educational and civic leaders. Through the years, many members of the clergy have been involved in the work of Americans United and Americans United often works with like-minded groups, including religious groups, to achieve common goals.
Americans United believes that all Americans have the constitutional right to practice the religion of their choice (or refrain from taking part in religion) as individual conscience dictates. The government must remain neutral on religious questions. This has been a guiding principle of AU since the organization was founded.
Does Americans United get involved in elections?
As a tax-exempt organization, Americans United may not intervene in partisan politics.
Who are our members?
Americans United currently represents more than 120,000 members and supporters in all 50 states. They come from all walks of life and span the theological and philosophical spectrum. As a nonpartisan organization, Americans United welcomes supporters of all political points of view.
The Greater Houston Area Chapter of AU was founded in 1995.
We work to promote and protect religious freedom in Texas and in Houston by educating, speaking out, monitoring state and local developments and rallying citizens to defend religious liberty. We work with local organizations, community activists and houses of worship to safeguard church-state separation.
Our chapter organizes or sponsors educational programs that are free and open to the public. We alert our members to measures that infringe on church-state separation and encourage them to contact their representatives about them. We work with the national organization to address possible violations of church-state separation in our area.
Our chapter is an affiliate of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (“the National Organization”).
Are you a member of a club or group seeking a guest speaker? Our Houston chapter has speakers available to discuss subjects related to separation of church and state, including the mission, activities and educational outreach of Americans United, the history of church/state separation in America, and issues such as prayer, marriage, religious exemptions, and the funding of state and private schools. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Religious Advisory Council
Religious Advisory Council Members
Rev. Dr. Jim Bankston
Retired United Methodist Clergy
Rev. Guinn Blackwell-Eagleson
Retired Presbyterian minister
Rev. Becky Edmiston-Lange
Co-Minister of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
Master Monk Reverend Seido Francavilla
St. Nichiren Buddhist Temple
The Rev. James Grace
Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Lisa Hunt
Rector, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Rabbi Jill Levy
Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center
Rev. Laura Mayo
Senior Minister, Covenant Church
Pastor John D. Ogletree, Jr.
Senior Pastor, First Metropolitan Church
Rev. Lynette Ross
Senior Minister, Cathedral of Hope Houston
Rev. Troy Treash
Senior Pastor, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Americans United Houston Board & Activists
Chapter Board Members, 2016-17
Nancy Friedman, President
Bobbie Cohen, Vice President
Justin Switzer, Secretary
Leif Hatlen, Treasurer
The Reverend Susan Quinn Bryan
Mary Beth Davis
Paul Pearson, Webmaster
Lewis and Ellen Krinsky
Barbara and Patrick McGuffey