Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Annual Spring Dialogue – April 28

For Immediate Release
OKC Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Contact: James Nimmo, Communications Chair, 405-843-3651

Americans United for Separation of Church & State
Annual Spring Dialogue – April 28

What: OKC Chapter of Americans United Spring Dialogue Event
When: Saturday, April 28, 2012, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm
Where: Midwest City Library Forum Room, 8143 E. Reno, Oklahoma City
Who: OKC Chapter of Americans United for Church & State and the public

Link to map for Midwest City Library

OKLAHOMA CITY - On Saturday, April 28, 2012, the Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State will host its annual Spring Dialogue. The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Midwest City Library Forum Room, 8143 E. Reno, and will conclude at 1:30 p.m.

Interested citizens who support or want to know more about the importance of the First Amendment and the wall of separation between religious dogma and civil laws are encouraged to attend.

"Our AU chapter looks forward to presenting speakers who can provide an interesting inside look at important issues concerning the First Amendment support of separation of religious views from civil laws,” said OK-AU Communications Chair, James NImmo. "The United States supports hundreds, if not thousands, of religious denominations. Not a single one of them can be allowed to gain political strength over any other denomination."

The program will include three community leaders who will discuss important aspects of First Amendment issues commonly making headlines in the daily news.

Keynote speaker will be Katherine Stewart, author of the book ‘The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children.” In 2009, the Good News Club came to the public elementary school where journalist Katherine Stewart sent her children. The Club, which is sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, bills itself as an after-school program of “Bible study.”

Stewart discovered that the Club’s real mission is to convert children to fundamentalist Christianity, while promoting the false impression among the children that the school endorses its activities. She was astonished to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed this and other forms of religious activity in public schools to be legal. Stewart then began an investigative journey to dozens of communities across the nation to document the impact. In this book, she demonstrates that there is more religion in America’s public schools today than there has been for the past 100 years

Born in Boston, Massachusetts. Stewart started her journalism career working for investigative reporter Wayne Barrett at The Village Voice and freelanced for Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire and others. She co-wrote the book about the musical Rent and published two novels about 21st century parenting. She has written for The New York Times, Reuters, the Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, and Religion Dispatches.

Professor Joseph Thai teaches Supreme Court decision-making, First Amendment, criminal procedure, and criminal law at the University of Oklahoma. Professor Thai joined the law faculty in 2003 and has served as law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Byron White of the Supreme Court, as well as Judge David Ebel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining the law faculty, Thai practiced in the Office of the Attorney General in Massachusetts and Gable Gotwals Law Firm in Oklahoma. He engages in pro bono litigation on constitutional matters and is working on a law school textbook on the Supreme Court and a judicial biography of Justice Stevens. He also co-created and runs Crimprof Multipedia, an online multimedia teaching resource for criminal law and procedure professors worldwide.

Dr. John Starkey is a Professor of Theology at Oklahoma City University. He will be speaking on the topic “Personhood, Pluralism, and the First Amendment: The Test case of Abortion.” He became a Millhouse Professor of Theology in 2001, and received a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University; a Masters of Theological Studies from Weston School of Theology; and a Ph.D., from Boston University. In 2006, Starkey was the winner of Oklahoma City University’s Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching, Scholarship, and Service.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947; the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

A question and answer period will be held following the speaker’s presentations. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans for Separation of Church & State or the Spring Dialogue event, please visit or contact James Nimmo at 405-843-3651.

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