Today, the Wall that separates church and state is under assault as never before. Leading this effort is a far-right evangelical movement intent on turning the United States into their version of a Christian nation. We see Religious Right ideologues being appointed to all levels of the judiciary including the Supreme Court. Cabinet appointees are carrying out a Religious Right agenda that is a threat to all of us but especially to women, LGBTQ people, public school students and families, religious minorities, the nonreligious, and virtually everyone who does not share their worldview.

The San Antonio Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State fights to keep the bedrock of our freedoms, church/state separation, on a strong and firm foundation. I’m glad you’ve come to our website. Look around. If you have questions, contact us. We are constantly upgrading our website and adding content. But most important, help us in this fight against religious extremism. Become a member, donate, join us. We know exactly what will happen if church and state become one. Liberty of conscience, the great gift of the American Revolution, will disappear and the light of freedom and hope will be extinguished. We can’t let that happen.

–Eric Lane, President, San Antonio Chapter

Dr. Caron Richard “Dick” Waits,

On October 5, Dr. Caron Richard “Dick” Waits, past Chairman of the Economics Department at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, passed away.  For nearly a decade, he served as Treasurer of our Chapter until February 2019 when, due to health reasons, he moved to New Braunfels, TX to be closer to family.

We don’t have an aristocracy in the United States, but Dick would be a true American ‘royal’ if we did.  His lineage went back to the Revolutionary War and the state of Virginia.  Three family members, David Lewis (1695-1779), Charles Word (1710-1792), and his brother, John Word (1695-1779), signed the  Ten Thousand Name Petition demanding that in exchange for their service in the Revolutionary War, Virginia would guarantee religious liberty for all its citizens.  The role of the “lower sorts” is nearly forgotten today.  But they were the ones who did the actual fighting.  If it had not been for the ‘common’ man in the Colonies, many Americans would still be curtsying to the Queen of England and tithing the Anglican Church.

In September 1776, the Second Continental Congress, in desperate need of soldiers, instituted a military quota based on the population’s size in each Colony.  For Virginia, this added up to approximately 5,000 men of fighting age.

The petition was a brilliant feat.  The colonists would fight in the independence movement, but there would be a cost.  Their price?  Religious liberty.

The Ten-Thousand Name Petition reveals that the yearning for religious freedom in the colonies was not limited to the intellectual and upper classes. It was a shared ideal between non-Loyalist colonists regardless of social standing.  When Christian nationalists argue that America has been and should always remain their distinct type of “Christian” nation, the Ten-Thousand Name Petition stands in direct opposition.  The Virginia colonists, the “lower sorts,” fought for religious freedom, equality for all religions, the overthrow of the monarchy, and church and state separation. They had had enough of a state religion.

Dick Waits carried on his heritage, defending church/state separation until his last breath. When it came to religious freedom and liberty of conscience, Dick Waits was indeed a ‘royal.’

I think I speak for the entire Chapter when I say we’ll miss Dick.  He was one of the good ones.  His gentle soul will continue to permeate our Chapter’s work and struggle against the forces that would end religious freedom.  Thank you, Dick, for being present.

Eric Lane
AUSA Chapter President

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