May 2023 – “The Importance of the Separation of Church and State for Feminists” 

  Co-sponsored with Americans United

         Registration Link

CWI is delighted to co-sponsor this zoom meeting with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State ( Feminists are keenly aware that religious extremists and their politician allies are trying to force everyone else to live by their beliefs and to use religion as a license to harm others. This threatens our freedom to live as ourselves, which widens inequality in our communities and country. Women have long been a target and therefore understand the consequences of when the lines between religion and government are blurred. The fundamental right to be treated equally under the law depends upon the separation of church and state.

Three staff members from AU will inform us about AU and its work particularly as it relates to feminist issues.  They are Maggie Garrett, Vice President for Public Policy. Maggie is a legal and policy expert who has been working on church-state separation issues for more than 20 years. Much of her work focuses on ensuring that public funds are used for public schools, and she leads AU’s work to protect the Johnson Amendment, a tax code provision that ensures that tax-exempt nonprofits, including religious organizations, do not endorse or oppose political candidates. Before joining AU she worked with the ACLU of Georgia and Alabama. She graduated from Hamilton College and the George Washington University Law School.  Dena Sher, Associate Vice President for Public Policy, is an attorney with nearly 20 years’ experience working on religion and law. She focuses on blocking efforts to misuse religion to undermine people’s rights. Previously, she served as AU’s state legislative counsel, and started with AU as an Equal Justice Works fellow. Dena also worked for the ACLU, lobbying on federal policy on religious freedom. She graduated from Georgetown University and the George Washington University Law School. AU, with Maggie and Dena’s leadership, chairs the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination, co-chairs the National Coalition for Public Education, and heads up the coalition working to support the Do No Harm Act. The final AU presenter, Catherine Feuille, Madison Legal Fellow, graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale Law School, where she participated in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. She also has a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and has experience working in health care delivery.

Maggie, Dena, and Catherine will provide an overview of the constitutional principles and laws that guarantee religious freedom but have unfortunately been misused to cause harm. Their presentation will include a discussion about the repercussions of when the separation of church and state is not upheld:

●      People, especially women, face discrimination.

●      People can’t access healthcare. For example, AU and NWLC have challenged Missouri’s abortion ban because it violates the state constitutional provision requiring church-state separation.

●      Social services that people and families need are jeopardized.

●      Public education is undermined, funding is being drained for private school vouchers, public charter schools may soon be able to discriminate, and religion is being imposed on students who are in public schools.

Remember to register to attend this May 23 CWI/AU noon zoom meeting at this Registration Link.