You're My Favorite Group Of Insubordinates!(PERSPECTIVE) (Americans United for Separation of Church and State as diverse, socially and civically engaged group) (Column)

Author:Laser, Rachel K.
 
FREE EXCERPT

Almost nine months on the job, I'm not only getting the hang of it, I'm getting a feel for us.

I've worked for long enough with our wonderful staff that we have witnessed each other in a myriad of different moods (e.g., from marching in D.C.'s pride parade to losing the Kavanaugh battle). I have enjoyed grabbing coffee when I can with the steady stream of young interns who work at Americans United. After three meetings, members of AU's Board of Trustees and I have spent some quality time together.

Some of our members have written me personal letters and emails (keep them coming!), and I've met others of you through webinars and the trips I've taken to Boston, Chicago, Nashville, New York City and San Francisco. Just last month, I had the opportunity to spend two days with more than 50 of our devoted leaders from across the country at our annual National Leadership Council meeting in Washington.

So far, here are my three main learnings about who we are: First and foremost, we are diverse in most, though not all, ways. We hail from all regions of America, from Rochester to St. Louis to El Paso to Costa Mesa. We couldn't have a broader range of belief systems-we are "born-once freethinkers," Baptists, Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, Catholic deacons, Disciples of Christ pastors, "agnostic Roman Catholics" and much, much more! Professionally, we aren't too shabby. To name just a few of our jobs, we are elementary schoolteachers, school superintendents, chemistry professors, nonprofit and business leaders, technology experts, clergy, law professors, lawyers and retired judges.

These differences are what make us Americans United for Separation of Church and State. (We need to do better on racial diversity; I'm working to change that.)

Second, we are engaged local and national activists. We send emails, give money, organize in our communities, work in coalitions and get out the vote. We write books and articles about religious freedom, speak publicly about our values and stay informed about current events. We participate in conference calls, attend meetings and advocate for a variety of other issues that we care about. We hold America accountable to her highest ideals.

My third observation about us came to me when I was meeting with a fun group of our chapter leaders at a local breakfast joint in Nashville. We are all, on some level, insubordinates. The reason I think I'm onto something here is that every single time I have...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP