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The QueQue

Q&A with Eric Lane, president of the San Antonio Chapter for Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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What do we really need to know about assaults on the First Amendment to make us wake up?
Let me stick to the separation of church and state issue, which is the first tenet of the First Amendment.  Radical religious right groups falsely claim that our country’s founding documents established a Christian nation. They want our country to be officially Christian. But there really isn’t such a thing as a single Christian denomination. First, you have the Catholic/Protestant split. On the Protestant side, you have everything from Lutheran to Mennonite to Baptist to Southern Baptist. Would you like Texas to be an officially Catholic or Protestant state? If Protestant, which denomination? Those left out might not like it.  And if they dissented, they might be jailed, exiled, or executed as many were in the Colonies.

Do you think it's possible to believe in God and love the First Amendment at the same time ? Come on now , give me some examples of people who do this...
One of the great misconceptions is that Americans United for Separation of Church and State members don’t believe in God. Anyone who thinks this is absolutely wrong. Our organization was founded in 1947 by a broad coalition of religious, educational, and civic leaders. Our Chapter here in San Antonio has many religious leaders and believers not just as members but [who are] active on the board and advisory board. I can set up a meeting for you with Baptist ministers, rabbis, Lutheran and Presbyterian pastors, and many other religious leaders. The First Amendment is as important to religious leaders, especially in defending their churches from government intrusion, as it is to any non-believer. 

Any closing comments?
Our organization is a big tent. Regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, we all have a vested interest to protect each other’s right to follow the dictates of our conscience. Our Founders bequeathed an incredible legacy. We need to protect it.

For more information about Americans United and the upcoming First Amendment Day Celebration  see americansunitedsa.org.

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