Welcome to the Louisville Chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. You are invited to participate in all activities in which we are actively engaged to the extent you are able by your time and interest.
We typically meet once a month to discuss responses to issues related to the Separation of Church and State. All gifts are tax deductible except for eighteen dollars which pays for the 12 issues of our Journal Church and State published in D.C. by our national office, but delivered to your home. We are non-sectarian and non-partisan, which means we endorse no candidates for national or state offices and we are aligned with no particular religious organization. Our special purpose is to defend the First Amendment concern that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thomas Jefferson saw this statement as creating a “Wall” between church and state, as he said in a letter to the Danbury Baptists.
What is done in Washington affects what we do in Kentucky. We thus take seriously both local and national stories that affect the separation of church and state. We try to inform Americans of actions and arguments that put our liberties at risk. We also enlist our constituency to support or oppose particular issues, based on the Constitutional principle at stake.
Kentucky has a strong Separationist Constitution which was the basis for our suit against Cumberland University which had accepted an eleven million dollar bequest from the KY Legislature to build a School of Pharmacy. The KY Supreme Court agreed with us 7-0 that such gifts are unconstitutional. Another lawsuit involved the termination of a Counselor for troubled youth who happened to be lesbian. She was also a highly competent person as judged by the Administration of the State-sponsored School for which she worked. The Court decision skirted the LGBT issue but ruled that youngsters were unduly subjected to religious indoctrination.
AU thus cooperates, partners and shares concerns with groups about Constitutional guarantees when the ugly face of church-state collaboration affects public policy. We guard against efforts to impose one group’s bias on everyone. The rule is no favoritism from the state to the church(es) and no undue influence from the church(es) on state powers.
AU is now engaged and encourages Constitutional scrutiny with eight issues among which are abortion, LGBT rights, Creation Science, Charter Schools, proselytism on public school campuses, providing public funds for sectarian enterprises, and public school graduation services in a religious sanctuary. We are now engaged with the Ark Park efforts to acquire tax monies in Kentucky. Their claim to qualify as an entertainment industry seems equivocal and its message is anti-science and thus contrary to public policy.
AULouisville is an exciting place to be engaged and informed about issues important to all Americans. We are indebted to attorneys and other leaders in their fields who serve energetically and sacrificially to pursue our causes. You are welcome to become involved if only at the level of financial assistance and your attendance at meetings. Thank you for joining our efforts to defend Constitutional governance.
Paul D. Simmons, President