6th Annual Meeting
Michael Austin, Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of English at Newman University, was our keynote speaker for our 2014 Annual Meeting on April 26, 2014. His presentation, "Mr. Jefferson's Holy Wall: The Religious Argument for Secularism in the Early Republic," can be viewed here:
Membership Chair Needed
September's incoming slate of officers and board members is listed on the Board page. We are still looking to fill the Membership Chair position. Contact us if you are interested.
About the Great Plains Chapter
In 2009, a group of concerned citizens in the Wichita, Kansas area came together to preserve the most important freedom of our democratic republic: the First Amendment principle of the separation of church and state.
The Great Plains Chapter is officially recognized as a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-profit 501(c)3 and one of the many local chapters of the national organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State headquartered in Washington, D.C. The National AU organization began in 1947 and has been leading the good fight in preventing religious extremists from turning our government into a theocracy and undermining our religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
"They all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point."
-Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835
In 1787 the founders bequeathed to our nation a secular government in the hopes of avoiding the centuries of sectarian violence and unstable governments that plagued European citizens.
We think the founders got it right. Religion and government do not belong together and in fact, when mixed together, the liberties we hold dear are in danger. As founding father James Madison wrote so eloquently in a Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785):
"Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty, may have found an establishment of the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
The continuing debates over prayer in public schools, invocations at city council meetings, school vouchers and faith-based initiative programs diverting tax money to religious groups continue to be of primary concern to our organisation. Much work remains in holding the line and keeping the wall high in order to preserve a government free of religious entanglements.