Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Guard In Oklahoma: When Defending Church-State Separation In A Challenging Area, Diversity Is A Plus

EXCERPTS:  When it comes to separation of church and state, some states present more of a challenge than others.
Oklahoma is one of the more challenging states.
Oklahoma is not easy. That’s all the more reason for Americans United and its allies to keep working there. The good people I met on Thursday night are leading the way.

They’ve already seen some victories. The creationism bill that was introduced earlier this year did not pass. The American Civil Liberties Union went to court and won a judgment against a Ten Commandments display in Haskell County. A federal court invalidated the anti-shariah amendment to the state constitution.

The Religious Right is dogged and determined. So are we who defend the separation of church and state – and we’ve got something they don’t: religious and philosophical diversity. It’s our not-so-secret weapon that will help us win.
I know that Oklahomans will face many more challenges when it comes to separation of church and state. I also know that the people I met there will rise up to meet them. And I know, even though it will take some time, the ultimate victory will be theirs.

Rob Boston is senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Rob, who has worked at Americans United since 1987, also serves as assistant editor of AU's "Church & State" magazine. Rob is the author of three books: "Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics" (Prometheus Books, 2000); "The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition" (Prometheus Books, 1996) and "Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State" (Prometheus Books, 1993; second edition, 2003).

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