This speaker series is a response to recent attacks on a fundamental, Constitutional principle at the heart of American democracy–the separation of church and state. The series, co-sponsored by The Puffin Foundation, is part of our Thoughts and Action Series 2023, because thoughts and prayers are not enough.
All events are at the Society’s meetinghouse, 687 Larch Ave., Teaneck, NJ, and on Zoom. Registration is not required for in-person attendance.
Those who register will receive the Zoom link and a weekly reminder of events in this church-state series, February 5 through March 5, 2023.
FEB 5, 11 am
The Origin and Legal Tradition of the Establishment Clause
Dr. Steven Green, Willamette University
Steven K. Green is the Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of History and Religious Studies at Willamette University. He has written five books and more than 40 scholarly articles on the intersection of history, law, and religion.
Professor Green has extensive litigation and appellate experience in First Amendment law on issues such as school prayer, public funding of religious institutions, public religious displays, religious discrimination, and freedom of speech.
He has participated in several cases before the US Supreme Court.
FEB 12, 11 am
Who Stands to Lose if the Wall Fails? The Real Life Consequences of the End of the Establishment Clause
Brian Silva, Americans United for Separation of Church & State
Brian Silva, vice president of Outreach and Engagement at Americans United, has three decades of organizing experience rooted in creating change through education and advocacy that is intersectional, collaborative, and grassroots.
After working as a high school history teacher and mentor, Brian became a leader in the LGBTQ+ movement as the executive director of Marriage Equality USA, where he helped pave the way to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.
FEB 18, 8 pm
Free Thinkers Concert
Evening with Dan Barker playing original music
FEB 19, 11 am
What the Christian Right Really Wants and Why It Won’t Stop Until It Gets It
Dan Barker, Freedom From Religion Foundation
Dan Barker is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, co-host of Freethought Radio, co-host of Freethought Matters (TV), and co-founder, with philosopher Daniel C. Dennett and scientist Richard Dawkins, of The Clergy Project.
Dan became an evangelist at age 15. He has a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California. He served as associate pastor in three California churches: Arcadia Friends Church (Quaker), Glengrove Assembly of God (Hacienda Heights), and Standard Christian Center, an independent Charismatic church loosely affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ tradition) in Standard, California.
He was a Christian songwriter and a missionary in Mexico, and he maintained an ongoing touring musical ministry, including eight years of cross-country evangelism. After four to five years of re-evaluation, he announced his atheism publicly in January, 1984. He tells his story in the books “Losing Faith in Faith” (1992) and “Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists” (2008).
FEB 26, 11 am
Should There Be No Room for Religion in the Public Sphere?
Benjamin Marcus, Religious Freedom Center and Freedom Forum Institute
Benjamin Marcus is a Freedom Forum fellow. He served as the religious literacy specialist with the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum, where he developed religious literacy programs for public schools, universities, businesses, and government organizations.
His research and publications–including book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, and nationally distributed columns–examine the intersection of education, religious literacy, and religious liberty in the United States. He has studied religion and law at Yale Law School, Harvard Divinity School, Brown University, and the University of Cambridge.
MARCH 4, 7:30 pm
Film: ‘Contradiction: A Question of Faith’
MARCH 5, 11 am
Does the Dominant Culture Have the Right to Criticize?
Jeremiah Camara, author and filmmaker
Jeremiah Camara will discuss the role of religion in both helping and holding back Black Americans in their push for equity and inclusion. Camara is the author of the books “Holy Lockdown: Does the Church Limit Black Progress?” and “New Doubting Thomas: The Bible, Black Folks & Blind Belief.”
Jeremiah is a creator of the widely watched YouTube series, “Slave Sermons,” and created the documentary film “Contradictions: A Question of Faith,” examining the saturation of churches in African-American communities co-existing with poverty and powerlessness.
Help us get the word out
Here’s a printable flier.
Thanks to The Puffin Foundation
We thank our friends at Puffin for their generous support for this series.