The Rev. Barry Lynn,
Executive Director of Americans United
with Columbia Chapter leaders,
March 11, 2013 at a local chapter event.
Who We Are
What We Believe
We believe that separation of church and state is essential to our democracy. It prevents government interference in religious practice and belief and prohibits government from favoring any particular religion or religion in general. These ideas strengthen both our democracy and religious liberty.
What We Do
Our chapter strives to be an effective voice, locally, in matters of church/state separation. We meet regularly to discuss issues and to plan educational programs and events. In addition, we work with our national organization to advance their programs and to alert them to problems that may arise in our area.
We facilitate discussion of church/state issues and work to keep our members and our community informed about them.
We engage and inform our elected leaders and citizens as they make decisions that may impact church/state separation.
We work to preserve religious rights that are guaranteed by the US or state constitution.
We encourage you to join us! Become a member!
Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) was founded in 1947 by a broad coalition of religious, educational and civic leaders. At that time, proposals were pending in the U.S. Congress to extend government aid to private religious schools. Many Americans opposed this idea, insisting that government support for religious education would violate church-state separation. The decision was made to form a national organization to promote this point of view and defend the separation principle.
Since 1947, Americans United has led the way in defending the separation of church and state, the cornerstone of religious liberty in America, as a non-sectarian, non-partisan organization.
Today AU has 75,000 members, including Christians, Jews, Buddhists, people with no religious affiliation and others. Democrats, Republicans and independents have joined our ranks.
AU does not take positions on theological questions and does not oppose any group because of its religious beliefs. AU works to defend the free exercise of all religions as protected by the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any effort to use government power to force anyone to support, take part in or fund religion.
AU opposes efforts by the Religious Right to impose its theological views on the public by governmental action. The Religious Right's attempt to force all Americans to accept its religious doctrines as law is one of the greatest threats to religious freedom today.