On Thursday evening, February 11, we will meet at 7:00p to view the award-winning video, “In God We Trust?”, by Scott Burdick. It is an account of what happened after a returning Afghanistan veteran sued his home town of King, North Carolina, for the removal of a Christian flag from the public Veteran’s Memorial. The video presents a wide-ranging overview of church/state issues, but it is too long for us to view in its entirety. We will see selected portions of it that focus on the issues that most directly the legal and social aspects of the suit. The parts that we view will take about one hour, so that we will have time to discuss the film.
We will meet at the beautiful building of the Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton Road in Ladue, half a mile west of the Galleria shopping center. Park in back. Please visit our MeetUp page, to RSVP so that we will about how many we need to provide drinks and cheap snacks for.
Three of our Board members attended the recent (November, 2015) Annual Meeting of AU in Washington, DC. Two of the highlights occurred on the last afternoon of the meeting, when Executive Director Rev. Barry Lynn introduced Bishop John Shelby Spong, who was recognized as AU’s Person of the Year for 2015. The remarks of both of these men are linked below.
We enjoyed the hospitality of one of our Board members at a private residence for a Holiday Get-Together on Friday evening, December 4. Wine and light hors d’oevres were provided. RSVP’s were handled through our Meetup Group at http://www.meetup.com which we encourage everyone interested to join, as it will be where other activities will be announced . Joining the Meetup is free and without obligation – you should already have joined us, anyway! If you are not familiar with the process, it could not be easier. Just navigate to that URL, search for Americans United within 25 miles of St. Louis, go through the brief registration. You might even find another group in St. Louis with which you have affinity!
A couple of our Board members will be providing information and literature about what teachers need to know about separation of church and state at the upcoming Fall Representative Assembly and Luncheon of the Missouri National Education Association to be held on Saturday, November 7 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet. If you are an NMEA member, be sure to look for them there.
We were very pleased to have had as our guest and speaker at the 2015 annual picnic, Rob Boston, from the national headquarters of Americans United. He provided an up-to-the-minute precis of church/state issues from the national perspective. The event was held at the Windegger Shelter in Tilles Park, Litzsinger and McKnight. The weather was as predicted – perfect – 75 degrees with a pleasant breeze. We made the scientific discovery that flies do not land on sauerkraut.
Many of our Board members were at the annual Earth Day celebration on a beautiful Sunday, April 26 in Forest Park (in front of the Muny), on Sunday, April 26. We have enjoyed interacting with members and non-members at Earth Day for several years now. It is always a positive experience, whether or not the weather cooperates. This year, it was a perfect day.
State Senator Jill Schupp, Missouri District 24, was unable to meet with us as we had planned on April 16, to update us on issues and happenings in Jefferson City, especially those that impinge on church/state separation. A capable replacement, State Representative Tracy McCreery (Missouri 88th District) took Jill’s place and provided an informative and lively discussion of happenings in the capital. We met at 7:00p at “The Heights”, the Richmond Heights Community Center, on April 16, 2015. The membership voted to adopt the revised Constitution and Bylaws, that were on the Web a month before the meeting.
AU Board members have been reading a very interesting but very depressing (from our point of view) book, “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children“, by Katherine Stewart. Because of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, Good News Club v. Milford Central School, public schools are largely defenseless against evangelical organizations (GNC being the most active, best-funded, and nefarious) who are taking over public schools for activities aimed primarily at children between 4 and 14. Even more alarming is that churches are being “planted” in public school buildings across the country, including here in St. Louis. If you are wondering what “planting” means, it is just as bad as it sounds. Public school buildings, including auditoriums and classrooms are taken over (at minimal ‘rent’, usually covering only utilities) for regular Sunday church services and Sunday schools. Katherine Stewart’s book describes these movements in detail, and the picture is not pretty. Read the book.