AU Logo
 
Americans United
of
San Antonio
P. O. Box 100806
San Antonio, TX 78201-8806

 
Board of Directors
 
Eric F. Lane, President
Joe Brake, Vice-President
Philip T. Valente, Secretary
Richard C. Waits, Treasurer
Nick Lee
Rhett Smith
R. J. Fields, Jr., Web outreach
 
Board Meets every 3rd Monday
6:00 P.M.
 
2803 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio
[inside the gates of the
Primrose at Monticello
Park Senior Apartments]
 
Meetings are free and
open to the public
 
General Assembly
7:00 P.M.
3rd Tuesday of
Jan., Apr., July, & Oct.
Location TBA

EricLane120x160

 

Welcome to the San Antonio Chapter of

 

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

 

Americans United was founded in 1947 by religious, political, and educational leaders to defend the most precious of our nation’s freedoms—the freedom of conscience.

 

At the time of AU’s founding, the greatest threat to religious liberty was the drive to obtain public tax dollars for private religious institutions.  As a result of the “parochiaid” controversies, AU’s membership grew rapidly until there were AU members throughout the United States.  Although opposition to any form of parochial school aid has remained an important part of AU’s mission, the organization has expanded its work to include opposition to government-mandated religious exercises and prayer in the public schools, ‘faith-based’ initiatives, and advocating for the inherent right of all Americans to practice their religion or no religion at all freely without government interference.

 

In the early years the membership of Americans United was primarily Protestant.  Today, its membership has grown to include diverse people of faith, and people of no particular religious viewpoint, who believe church-state separation is crucial to the preservation of freedom of conscience.  Americans United has no formal ties to any religious denomination, but works closely with religious groups (denominations, congregations, faith-based organizations, and clergy) that share its commitment to church-state separation.  It is a fact in American life that the majority of people of faith support separation of church and state.  As the Religious Right gained financial and political power throughout the 1980’s, Americans United increasingly responded to its efforts to tear down the wall of separation.  Stepping up its educational, legal, grassroots, and legislative efforts, AU works to counter the virulent anti-separationist propaganda of the Religious Right.  Americans from all walks of life and various religious, political, and philosophical persuasions have gathered under the organization’s banner to stand against religious intolerance and defend the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.

 

I invite you to become a member of our Chapter.  By doing so you will join with thousands of people throughout this country who view freedom of conscience as the founding principle upon which our democracy rests!  Your voice is multiplied as Americans United works on the critically important issue of church-state separation.

 

 Join us.  Become a member.

 

 --Eric Lane, President, San Antonio Chapter

AUSA.President@AmericansUnitedSA.org

  


 

AUSA President Eric Lane Speaks Out on Vouchers

 

In an Editorial which appeared in the Sunday, January 26, 2015 issue of the San Antonio Express-News, AUSA's President Eric Lane spoke out against voucher legislation being proposed in the Texas legislature.


Noting that approximatedly 90% of all students in kindergarten through 12th grade attend public schools and that 9 out of 10 private schools are religious, Lane questions whether vouchers are less about "choice" and more about a backdoor way of funding private religious schools and siphoning money away from an already underfunded public school system.  Lane cautions that "If voucher proponents succeed, it will mean the inevitable dismantling of our public school system",  Click here to read Lane's entire message.


Texas Senate Bill 276, filed by State Senator Donna Campbell on January 6, 2015 and referred to the Committee on Education on January 28, 2015, proposes a voucher scheme that would be known as a " taxpayer savings grant program" to be administered by the Texas Comptroller.  The Bill provides for a payment from the state to the parent of a child who is enrolled in a private school selected by the parent.  Most glaring is the Bill's language that such a school  "may not be required to comply with any state law or rule governing the school’s educational program that was not in effect on January 1, 2015.  The Bill's absence of any oversight that would prevent state funds distributed under its provisions from being used for religious instruction is lamentable and opens the door for possible future litigation. 



 What's Wrong with the National Day of Prayer?


By Eric Lane


The National Day of Prayer (NDP) is not historical.  It was created by Congress in 1952 during the anti-communist hysteria that gripped our nation.  The scheduling of the event used to change but it was codified by Congress in 1988 (after pressure from the Religious Right) as the first Thursday in May.  This year the event takes place on May 1.


One of the reasons Americans United for Separation of Church and State objects to the NDP is that the National Day of Prayer has become a vehicle for spreading misinformation about American history and society.


In recent years, most NDP activities have been coordinated by the “National Day of Prayer Task Force,” an organization based in Colorado Springs and run by Shirley Dobson, wife of Religious Right radio broadcaster James Dobson.  They have used the NDP to promote bogus “Christian nation” history with the purpose to convince Americans that the founding fathers intended to establish this country on ‘Biblical principles.”  This simply is not true.


The greatest gift the Founders bequeathed to us is the separation of church and state.  It is what ultimately makes us truly free.  With the ratification of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791, for the first time in human history, the right to follow the dictates of one’s own conscience was made into law.  No longer would citizens have to follow the dogmas of an established state church.  What we take so easily for granted today, our right to believe or not believe as each one of us sees fit, during the Revolutionary era, was considered a revolutionary idea.


The legal birth of religious freedom actually occurred in 1786 in Virginia with the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom.  The Act opened with these words: “Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free . . .”  It then continued, “Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”


The Act declared freedom of the mind and conscience to be the birthright of every human being.  This was truly revolutionary!  Religious liberty was a natural, God-given right and the state could not force any citizen to support any religion.  All citizens were free to practice their own faith or no faith at all openly and freely without fear of government interference.  We are very proud to have on our San Antonio AUSA Chapter Board a direct descendent of one of the signatories of the Act.


The two men most responsible for the passage of the Act were Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the architect of the First Amendment.


The Founders did not oppose religion.  Many had seen or studied what religious persecution had done in Europe and right here in the Colonies.  During the American colonial period, alliances between religion and government produced oppression and tyranny on our own shores.


I can’t read the hearts of Fundamentalist Christians or the Religious Right.  But they should know how the separation of church and state has protected their right to follow their own religious beliefs.


We are truly blessed to live in a country where each one of us can follow the dictates of our own conscience.  We don’t need the government to tell us when or how to pray or not pray.  Allowing government to set aside certain days for prayer and worship implies that the state has some say over our religious lives when it does not.  It is simply not the business of government to advise when, if and how people pray. 

 

 



Medina Valley ISD Settles with AU

Agreement Requires District To End Promotion of Religion

 

AU Asks IRS To Investigate Church Bulletin Endorsements of Romney

Church of Saint Catherine of Siena in NYC

St. Raphael Catholic Church El Paso