Americans United celebrates 70 years of defending religious freedom

WASHINGTON — The national nonprofit organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State celebrated 70 years of defending religious freedom in the U.S. A reception was held Dec. 2 at the the National Geographic Society building. The gala honored both the organization and the contributions of executive director Rev. Barry W. Lynn, who is now retiring after 25 years of service. Attending that event as a member of the honoree committee was Circle Sanctuary’s Rev. Selena Fox, who has spent her own career fighting for religious equality. More specifically, she has been speaking out on behalf of Pagan religions within these realms. Over the years, Fox has worked closely with Americans United.

Pagan Community Notes: Academy of Arcana, John Beckett, Beltania and more

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Oberon Zell has announced that he will be closing the Academy of Arcana by the end of November. “After two years in Santa Cruz, it’s just not really working out here. There’s not enough money coming in to pay the rent and bills; plus we’ve had major thefts, and problems with street people and drugs,” Zell wrote. The lease runs out Nov.

U.S. Attorney General issues new religious freedom guidelines

Washington — The U.S. Attorney General issued a new set of religious guidelines for all “administrative agencies and executive departments.” Published Oct.6, the memorandum, which was reportedly requested by President Donald Trump, seeks to provide guidance and instruction concerning “religious liberty protections in federal law.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a separate statement the same day, which reads in part:
Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people. It has protected both the freedom to worship and the freedom not to believe. Every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith.

A closer look at the Johnson Amendment

WASHINGTON – On Feb. 2, President Donald Trump returned for a brief moment to a recurring issue facing his administration: the Johnson Amendment. At the National Prayer Breakfast, he told the attendees,”Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that — remember.”