Over the years there are numerous, sometimes rancorous and emotionally-charged attacks on the First Amendment’s guarantee of a wall of separation between church and state. Because there are thankfully many national-level organizations devoted to protecting the First Amendment from these many challenges, most having a wealth of information on their respective websites, AUSA will not attempt to duplicate their efforts. Our goal is rather to bring attention to those issues that are more local, regional or statewide in scope, while occasionally spotlighting significant or landmark national developments.

A Response to the Bulverde Prayer Controversy

In October 2010 Bulverde resident and AUSA member Sandi Root sought assistance from AU in an effort to end a city council tradition of using Christian prayer to open meetings [as shown in the photo by Herald-Zeitung’s Laura McKenzie] AUSA President Eric F. Lane posted to several area newspapers, the text of which is shown…

Government Sponsored Prayer Background

Government is generally forbidden to deliver, sponsor, orchestrate, or encourage prayers. Since the nation’s founding, however, many legislatures have traditionally opened their meetings with prayer. Given this historical tradition, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that legislative prayers are constitutionally permissible if, but only if, they do not use language or symbols specific to one…

What’s Wrong with the National Day of Prayer?

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…

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…

The ‘Wall of Separation’

On October 7, 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut sent a letter to the newly elected President Thomas Jefferson, expressing concern over the lack in their state constitution of explicit protection of religious liberty, and against a government establishment of religion.  At the time, they were being persecuted because they did not belong…