Monday, May 17, 2021, 7:00 p.m. CDT
Real People, Real Stories, Real Harm:
Religious Bigotry is Alive and Well
Recent events have poignantly reminded us that some members of our community have long been subjected to insults, rejection and threats because of their religious or non-religious beliefs. Our guest speakers will share their experiences in contemporary America to open a dialogue about what more we must do to stem the spread of this insidious cancer that’s infecting our country.
- Ashton Adair–attorney born Ashraf Abadir in Cairo, Egypt
- Kafah Bachari–attorney and writer, born in Iran, raised in Texas
- Eric Grimm–atheist, attorney, former city council member in Michigan
- Mustafaa Carroll--former Executive Director, Houston Chapter, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- Moderator, Jim Bankston–retired Sr. Pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Member of AU Houston’s Religious Advisory Council
to get instructions to watch live and a link to watch & share the recording later
SAVE THE DATE: Monday, June 14, 2021, 7:00 p.m. Annual Meeting
Judge Rabeea Collier, former state representative and Houston City Council member Ellen Cohen and State Representative Jon Rosenthal will join us by Zoom. As elected officials of religious (or non-religious) minority faith, they’ll share their experiences about how their beliefs have affected their public service and how their public roles affected their ability to practice their faith. Former representative and Houston City Council member Chris Bell will moderate.
This should be a lively presentation so be sure to mark your calendar and watch this page, our social media and, if you’re on our email list, your in box for more details in a few weeks!
Religious Liberty: A Sword or a Shield? March 15, 2021, featuring Dr. Neal Jones, Chair, Board of Trustees of Americans United
In recent years, the Religious Right has resumed an old tactic–distorting the meaning of “religious freedom” in order to justify discrimination against groups they frown upon, including LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, nonbelievers and others. Dr. Jones discussed how religious extremists are asking state legislatures, Congress and the courts to legalize their bigotry. He suggested how we can stand up to those who would harm others in the name of religion.
A longtime member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Dr. Jones is the chair of AU’s National Board of Trustees. He’s been a plaintiff in two AU lawsuits: to prevent South Carolina from issuing state-sponsored Christian license plates and to end the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ policy barring nontheists from offering invocations to open House sessions. Dr. Jones is a practicing psychologist in Asheville, NC and a Unitarian Universalist minister who has worked in clinical settings and served congregations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.
You can watch this program on our YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericansUnitedHous
A Two-Thirds Religious Right Majority of the Supreme Court: Can We Salvage Church-State Separation at All? February 1, 2021, featuring Eddie Tabash
The widely unbalanced U.S. Supreme Court will have a profound impact on many issues affecting American life, including church-state separation, for decades to come. Constitutional lawyer Eddie Tabash has been studying and warning about a religious right takeover of the Supreme Court for many years.
Based in Los Angeles, Tabash is a member of the Board of Trustees of Americans United and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Inquiry. He has filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court, most recently in last year’s Our Lady of Guadalupe School case.In 2000, he was the only known atheist to be a major contender for a U.S. state legislative seat. His main purpose in church/state separation activism is to help make sure that believers and nonbelievers are equal before the law. Learn more about Tabash.
Tabash was hoping to never have to give this talk. You can watch it on our YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericansUnitedHous
Election 2020: What’s Next for Church-State Separation? December 17, 2020, with Maggie Garrett, Americans United Vice President for Public Policy, Richard Katskee, Americans United Legal Director, and Sarah Gillooly, Americans United Vice President for State Outreach & Engagement
“This is a nation founded on the idea of the separation of church and state. After 200 years, why the hell would you want to go messing with that?” Joe Biden, 2005
The Trump years have taken a serious toll on the separation of religion and government. His administration’s misuse of religious freedom to harm others was unprecedented, and he packed the federal judiciary with judges who are willing to deny many Americans their constitutional rights in the name of “religious freedom.”
AU is calling on President-Elect Biden to reverse Trump’s harmful policies and to adopt policies that respect the separation of religion and government. AU ‘s agenda for the Biden administration to restore and protect religious freedom includes:
Repealing the Muslim ban
Funding public schools, not private, with taxpayer dollars
Protecting taxpayer-funded employees from religious discrimination
Prohibiting denial of health care based on providers’ religious beliefs
What will change as a result of the election? What can we realistically expect, with judges with lifetime appointments, a new administration and an uncertain Congress?
Maggie Garrett, Richard Katskee and Sarah Gillooly discussed AU’s plans, expectations and strategies and then answered questions.
You can watch this program on our YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericansUnitedHous
Click Listed Events Below to Open
2020 Annual Meeting: Church, State and Coronavirus
Church, State and Coronavirus
Houston Chapter’s Annual Meeting
Monday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m.
Does “religious freedom” mean
- Churches can claim exemption from public safety orders?
- Employers can deny workers access to birth control coverage?
- Governments can substitute prayer for public policy?
“Mixing church and state won’t save anyone from coronavirus.”
Rachel Laser, President/CEO, Americans United for Separation of Church and State
For more than 70 years, Americans United has worked to safeguard against assaults on reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality and public education in the name of “religious freedom.” Join our virtual gathering to learn what Americans United’s mission means to YOU.
Kenneth D. Upton, Jr., Senior Litigation Counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, will update us on the latest developments on these issues, including AU’s involvement in lawsuits challenging Harris County’s stay-at-home orders.
This is a FREE event, but you must register here.
Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions about how to access the event using a computer or telephone.
Invite your friends to learn more about Americans United’s fight to preserve the wall between religion and government.
March for Religious Freedom
Annual Meeting 2019
Annual Meeting; Special Guest Rachel Laser, President & CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church & State
“Church-State Separation in Trump’s America: Where We are and Where We’re Going”
Please support the important work of Americans United.
To join, go to www.au.org/donate-chapter-houston. You’ll become a member of both the Houston chapter and the national organization.
To renew, go to https://www.au.org/renew-your-support
Special Members Event November 27, 2018
SPECIAL MEMBERS EVENT
Members are invited to join us for an informational meeting on “What to Expect on Church-State Separation from the Upcoming Texas Legislature.” Americans United State Legislative Counsel Nik Nartowicz will be the featured speaker along with political science professor Mark P. Jones of Rice University.
The program will be Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:00 P.M. Coffee and dessert will be served starting at 6:30 P.M.
This intimate meeting will be at a private home in West University. If you’re a member of Americans United, email us at email@example.com and we’ll send you an invitation.
To join, go to
If your membership has lapsed, you can renew at https://www.au.org/renew-your-support
Stop Kavanaugh – A Call to Action
A CALL TO ACTION!
People in all 50 states are uniting as part of a national coalition to stop U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s nomination is a direct assault on the separation between church and state. He has a demonstrated track record of hostility toward church-state separation that should make him ineligible for the position.
He MUST be stopped.
Join Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Houston chapter and other community organizations, including
AFL-CIO, Equality Texas, Indivisible Houston, Mi Familia Vota, MoveOn, National Organization for Women, National Council of Jewish Women, Pantsuit Republic Texas, Pantsuit Republic Houston, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
Thursday, SEPTEMBER 6, at 7:00 PM
The Montrose Center,
401 Branard St, Houston, TX 77006
as we discuss the threat this nomination poses and what steps YOU can take to defend our rights and save the Supreme Court.
Stand up. Fight back. Save the Supreme Court!
Do you want to learn why Kavanaugh is wrong for church-state separation and wrong for the Supreme Court?
Read our statement of opposition
Watch our new video Brett Kavanaugh’s America
Find more on our resource page on his nomination.
To help you talk to others about this issue, use our conversation guide
Contact our senators to urge them to oppose this nomination.
Cornyn: 202-224-2934 713-572-3337 https://www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact
Cruz: 202-224-5922 713-718-3057 https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=form&id=16
Send them a message suggested by AU by going here and clicking the link to the right of “Take Action.”
Americans United Attorney and Other Experts to Discuss Masterpiece Cakeshop Case in Houston
AMERICANS UNITED ATTORNEY AND OTHER EXPERTS TO DISCUSS MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP CASE IN HOUSTON
Worried about the fallout after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker that sought to discriminate against LGBTQ people on the basis of religious beliefs? This decision is not really about religious freedom — it’s about discrimination!
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Texas Freedom Network and Equality Texas are headed to Houston to answer your questions and strategize about how to fight back!
Join us on July 19th to learn more about how Masterpiece affects the fight for equality, the implications of change in the Court and what you can do to protect yourself and others.
Since the Masterpiece decision, the opponents of equality have been proclaiming victory, asserting that the Court handed them a big win. The decision has clearly emboldened anti-LGBTQ groups and their supporters, leaving LGBTQ Texans to wonder if it’s open season for discrimination.
Get the answers you need from the experts, including Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Eric Rothschild.
Click here for more information and to RSVP. And bring a friend or tell others about this event.
Houston Town Hall
July 19, 2018
University of Houston Student Center South
Space City Room (Building 565)
4455 University Dr. Houston, TX 77004
Want to learn more about the Masterpiece case?
Find lots of information, including AU’s response to the ruling and analyses, at Masterpiece
Read Rothschild’s blog post about the decision (written before the Muslim ban ruling)
Build the Wall (between Church and State)
Fascinating evening. Smart panel. Good turnout. Well organized.
Moderator and panel were sharp and interesting, resulting in stimulating and provocative audience participation
Last night was great. I’ve quoted several of the panelists today. They did a great job.
It was a terrific meeting and discussion.
Please view this event on YouTube here.
Panel discussion begins around the 18:00 mark.
“Build the Wall (between Church and State)”
Americans United — Past, Present and Future
“Americans United– Past, Present and Future”
Join the Houston Chapter of
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
as we Honor the 25 Years of Leadership of
Barry W. Lynn
Ordained Minister, Lawyer, Author, Media Commentator and Retiring Executive Director of Americans United
and Celebrate the 70th anniversary of Americans United
Rev. Lynn will reflect on his retirement and AU’s 70th anniversary, and Bill Mefford, Americans United’s faith organizer, will join him to discuss the future of AU and religious freedom in America. Lynn, Mefford and our chapter board members will be available afterwards to answer questions and meet with supporters.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
1900 Bering Drive, Houston
Please use south driveway entrance for this event
Free and open to the public Plenty of free parking
Reception will follow program, so please let us know if you’re coming at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a Part of AU’s Future
For more information about Barry Lynn and his pending retirement, visit this special section of AU’s website.
2017 Annual Meeting: The Future of Public Education in the Era of Betsy DeVos – April 24, 2017
Becoming an Effective Activist – March 12, 2017
Watch this program on our Houston Chapter’s YouTube page.
See below flyer for pictures from the event.
Toni VanPelt and Houston Black Nonbelievers on RFRA
‘God and Governing’ events
The God & Governing project emerged during the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature, as it became evident that discussions of God and faith were underscoring a greater share of political discourse – and disagreement – than in the recent past. The Tribune invited lawmakers to discuss how faith influenced their public policy decisions, resulting in this 27-minute video.
2016 Annual Meeting with the Rev. Barry Lynn
2016 Annual Meeting featuring Rev. Barry Lynn speaking on Separation Anxiety: What is the Future of Church/State Separation? May 18, 2016
The Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, civil liberties activist, lawyer and acclaimed speaker and writer, spoke about “Separation Anxiety: What is the Future of Church/State Separation?” on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. You can watch his speech on our Houston Chapter’s YouTube page.
© 2016 AUHouston.org
© 2016 AUHouston.org
© 2016 AUHouston.org
© 2016 AUHouston.org
John Nichols on The Crumbling Wall
On November 17, 2015, renowned journalist and commentator John Nichols of The Nation gave a rousing talk on “The Crumbling Wall: Religion in Presidential Politics” at a program of our Houston chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. His impassioned talk was timely in light of current events and was well-received by the 200+ who attended. John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech in Houston about his belief in an absolute separation of church and state was shown first, setting the stage for Mr. Nichol’s contemporary perspective. Congregation Emanu El’s beautiful sanctuary was a lovely venue.
Thanks to Lewis Krinsky, who organized the event, ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke, who introduced Mr. Nichols, and Lewis and Ellen Krinsky, who hosted a reception with wonderful pastries and refreshments following the speech.
Watch the program here:
Americans United Director of Communications Rob Boston in Houston – Sept. 9, 2014
Director of Communications Rob Boston in Houston
Speaking at public gathering about “Religious Freedom: What it is and What it is Not”
Watch an excerpt from Rob’s presentation at
Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Gregory M. Lipper – July 1, 2014
Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Gregory M. Lipper speaks in Houston on “God, Greece and the Supreme Court’s Decision on Government Prayer”
2014 Annual Meeting
2014 ANNUAL MEETING