MISSION AND HISTORY
"
The problem is, if we involve religious faith, then there are many varieties and fundamental differences of views. So very complicated. That’s why in India when they drafted the constitution they deliberately used secular approach.
T
here are godly religions and there are godless religions. Who decides who is right? ~ Dalai Lama
             The mission
    Join Us For Justice the El Paso chapter of AU is a non-partisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.

 
AN EVENING OF CIVIL DISCOURSE SERIES
DR. MITCH RANDALL
May 4, 2017 Doubletree Hotel downtown El Paso

" Religious liberty must be extended to all, for if one person’s liberty is threatened, then every person’s liberty is threatened. Everyone should have the freedom to choose. ” ~ Pastor Mitch Randall

   Dr. Mitch Randall is the pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Oklahoma. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs in Washington D.C. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Northeastern State University, a Master’s of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

REV. BARRY LYNN
and a panel of local leaders
May, 2016, Temple Mount Sinai - El Paso

    Rev. Barry Lynn is the distinguished executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In addition to his work as a long-time activist and civil liberties attorney, Lynn is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, offering him a unique perspective of church/state issues.
     An accomplished speaker and lecturer, Lynn appears frequently on radio and TV to offer expert analysis regarding First Amendment issues.

With Dr. Ann Horak, Religious Studies Dept. UTEP;
Rev. Neal Lock, First Presbyterian Church;
Dr. Aurolyn Luykx, Unitarian Universalist Çommunity of El Paso;
Father Rob Mosher, Community Mission Center of El Paso;
Rabbi Ben Zeidman, Temple Mount Sinai
Moderated by  Robert Moore, Editor of the El Paso Times daily newspaper

  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How two women challenged
religious indoctrination in the public schools
with Katherine Stewart and Magdalene "Gracie" Bedi

Saturday, September 26, 2015
-UTEP

A journalist who exposed the Religious Right’s efforts to infiltrate America’s public schools, and a Mississippi student who bravely challenged unlawful religious activity at her public high school, will be the guest speakers at “An Afternoon of Civil Discourse” a program of Join Us For Justice, the El Paso Chapter of Americans United.
 
Katherine Stewart
is the author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, and Magdalene “Gracie” Bedi, was the plaintiff in a lawsuit she filed against her Mississippi high school.

An interfaith dialogue

May 1, 2015 -EPCC
Reverend Sid Hall, Trinity United Methodist
Rev. Ernesto Lopez-Escalera
Yehia Ibrahim, UTEP Muslim Organization Advisor
Dr. Ann Horak, UTEP Dept. of Religious Studies
Professor Leon Blevins, EPCC

Alexander  Bonnet, El Paso Atheists

FREEDOM FROM RELIGION vs FREEDOM OF RELIGION
September 2014
ROB BOSTON

   Rob Boston is the Chief Communications Director of Åmericans United for Separation of Church and State. He also serves as the editor of AU's Church & State magazine. Rob is the author of four books: Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics; The Most Dangerous Man in America: Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition; Why the Religious Right is Wrong About Separation of Church and State; and most recently,Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't give you the Right to Tell Other People What to Do (2014)
 
Ellery Schempp IN EL PASO
FEB 2013 - UTEP
     Ellery Schemmp was a high school junior in Abington, Pennsylvania when he questioned his school's mandatory prayer and bible reading requirement. A
s a result, he was blackballed by the school district officials and his family became a target for hateful bullying. His case went before the U.S. Supreme Court [Schempp v Adington Township Pennsylvania, 1963]  The decision in his favor became a landmark victory for separation of church and state. Schempp went on to enjoy a career as a brilliant physicist. He speaks eloquently about his personal experiences as a youth. Read about the case: www.au.org/church-state/may-2013-church-state/featured/ellerys-epic-exploit

REV. BARRY
LYNN
JULY, 2014- WYNDHAM HOTEL, EL PASO, TX
WITH  Mayor John Cook (on guitar)
and introduction by Texas State Rep. Jose Rodrigues

    Since 1992, Rev Barry Lynn has served as executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In addition to his work as a long-time activist and civil liberties attorney, Lynn is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, offering him a unique perspective of church/state issues.
     An accomplished speaker and lecturer, Lynn appears frequently on radio and TV to offer expert analysis regarding First Amendment issues.

MORRIS  DEES
FEBRUARY, 2013 -  DOUBLETREE HOTEL, DOWNTOWN EL PASO

         Morris Dees is the high-profile Alabama attorney who co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) The SPLC has added Tom Brown Ministries in El Paso to their nationwide list of hate groups.
         This past August (2012) he was awarded the ABA Medal, the American Bar Association's highest honor. Dees is a civil-rights attorney known for his work in securing judgements against the Ku Klux Klan. His story is featured in the made-for-TV movie "Line of Fire".

          He was one of the principal architects of an innovative strategy of using civil rights lawsuits to secure a court judgment for money damages against an organization for a wrongful act and ten use the courts to seize its assets (money, land buildings and other property) to pay the judgement.
          SPLC lawyers used this legal strategy to hold the Klan accountable for the acts of its members.


          _ How we got started
     In response to the El Paso City Council's decision to expand health care coverage to unmarried partners of city employees, a group of El Pasoans drafted a "Family Values" ordinance with the intent to deny health benefits to domestic partners of city employees.
      In November, 2010, the "Family Values" ordinance went before city voters and passed with 55 percent of the votes.
     However, the results were clouded by the ambiguous and unclear wording of the ordinance.


      Of the over 100 people whose benefits were in jeopardy, 19 were city employees including two who are gay. The others at risk of losing their benefits because of the wording of the referendum were foster children; retired police officers, firefighters, and other retirees; grandchildren; and disabled relatives.

      
On June 14, 2011, Mayor John Cook introduced an ordinance to restore benefits to all city employees. The El Paso City Council members voted 4 to 4 - with Mayor Cook breaking the tie - to restore health benefits to all city employees.

      In response to a subsequent effort by the Family Values group to remove him from office through a recall election, Mayor Cook committed his own personal funds to successfully fight the case in the Texas 8th Court of Appeals.

Click here to see the sequence of events leading to the decision of the court.

EVENING OF CIVIL DISCOURSE SERIES
OUR SPEAKERS
DR. MITCH RANDALL
REV. BARRY LYNN
DR. ANN HORAK
Katherine Stewart and Magdalene "Gracie" Bedie
Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center
Dr. Ellery Schempp
Reverend Sid Hall
Rob Boston, Americans United