June 17, 2007

Featured Organization: Americans United for Separation of Chruch and State

A new feature I'm starting here is featuring organizations, buth national and local, who are working hard for the same goals I write about here; GLBT equality in politics and the church. I wish I could belong to and financially support all of the groups I'll write about here, but since that is not economically feasable, at least I can give them a little free PR here.

Today, I'm focusing on Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

This organization, led by Rev. Barry Lynn, is engaged in fighting off the right-wing agenda of moving the United States toward a theocracy. I have seen Rev. Lynn debate Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, effectively demonstrating how one can be a devout Christian without trying to take over the government and rewrite the laws of the nation to reflect their denominaton's religious views.

They publish a monthly magazine titled Church and State, which is also posted online. It is an excellent summary of news items from across the nation that impact church and state issues and reports on specific events Americans United is directly involved in.

One of the primary focuses of Americans United is acting as a watchdog regarding churches crossing the line and becoming too directly involved in partisan politics. This is a violation of IRS rules governing non-profit organizations, and Americans United has investigated numerous cases that appear to be violations and reported them to the IRS.

Another major program of American united is called "First Freedom First." They describe it on the website:

Established in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, religious liberty -- the right of individuals to worship or not -- was and is a defining American value. Often referred to as the "first freedom," this constitutionally guaranteed right is the foundation for the separation of church and state. This separation protects us from undue religious influence in government and undue government intervention in religion and private decision-making. We recognize that the wall separating government and religion is being eroded, and so is our right to make personal decisions.

We invite you to join us! Be a part of First Freedom First. Protect our religious liberty and separation of church and state. Sign the petition and encourage others to join you. Together we can send a powerful, resounding message -- safeguard the first freedom!

There is also a blog tied in with that project which features a variety of voices. One of their supporters is Walter Cronkite, who is quoted on the Americans United website:

"This is a very important movement that has to get across to the American people. It is important to understand religious liberty and separation of church and state, and our right and duty to defend it."

If Uncle Walter thinks it's the right thing to do, I'm in!

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