Non-Christian Americans in Elected Office: A Balancing Act?


Three public officials discussed their experiences as non-Christians elected in Houston. Former U.S. Congressman and Houston City Council member Chris Bell led the discussion and brought his perspective as a Christian officeholder. A brief annual meeting preceded the discussion.

Ellen Cohen -- Former Texas Representative, Houston City Council Member & Mayor Pro Tem

Rabeea Collier -- Harris Co. District Judge 113th Civil Court

Jon Rosenthal -- Texas Representative 135th House District

Real People, Real Stories, Real Harm: Religious Bigotry is Alive and Well

May 17, 2021

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 nonreligious beliefs. Four individuals shared their experiences in contemporary America and opened 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--American-born Muslim and 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

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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.

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