By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State will host its Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, October 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event themed “Movers & Shakers” will take place at Ingrid’s Kitchen at 3701 North Youngs Blvd., in Oklahoma City.
Light refreshments will be served. Attendees will be able to order from the menu should they wish.
The meeting will feature two prominent proponents of separation of church and state who will inform attendees about an important case that’s been filed in Oklahoma County Court.
The case challenges the installation of the Ten Commandments Monument on the Capitol grounds.
“Our annual meeting this year has two of the key people involved in a very important state-church case,” said communications chair, James Nimmo. “It’s the perfect opportunity for citizens to hear first hand from the chief litigator and lead plaintiff and ask questions about this religious separation case that will be receiving national attention.”
All interested citizens are encouraged to attend and participate with questions and comments.
One of the featured speakers will be Brady Henderson, legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. Henderson will discuss some of the reasons the affiliate filed a recent petition to remove the Ten Commandments Monument currently on the northeast corner of the State Capitol building.
“It will be a great opportunity for those who share a commitment to separation of church and state to learn more about the lawsuit and the people behind it,” said Henderson. “One of the strengths of Americans United is its diversity of members and perspectives.
“We will be talking about how challenges like this one add to the conversation about religion and government for people of all faiths and creeds,” Henderson added. “The discussion will be an opportunity not merely to hear a speech, but to ask questions and have a dialogue about the Ten Commandments monument, the lawsuit, and what it means for Oklahoma.”
The second guest speaker will be Dr. Bruce Prescott, executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists. A former national board member of Americans United for Separation of Church & State, and ACLU of Oklahoma, Dr. Prescott is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU of Oklahoma monument case.
Prescott says he will be speaking about why he asked the ACLU to challenge the Ten Commandments monument at the state capitol.
According to an ACLU-OK press release the lawsuit seeks to remedy the state monument’s impact on Jewish and Christian believers stating that the government has taken a text that is deeply sacred in both faiths and have trivialized its religious meaning by placing it in a political and secular context. They assert its proponents are arguing that the monument is a constitutionally permissible recitation of a purely non-religious history of our legal system and government.
Prescott said, “To argue that the monument merely commemorates something historical rather than religious is a slap in the face to the many Oklahomans, like myself, who incorporate the Ten Commandments into our religious practice.”
The meeting agenda will also include: voting for the four officer positions – president, vice president, secretary and treasurer; the treasurer’s report on finances; and the past year’s activities.
“The Oklahoma City Chapter, one of the most active chapters of American United for Separation of Church and State, organizes this event so that Oklahoma’s citizens can discuss upcoming issues and be ahead of the inevitable curves thrown by those who want to diminish a valuable freedom that is not observed in much of the world,” said Nimmo.
Americans United (AU) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans. AU represents over 70,000 individual members and 5,000 churches and other houses of worship nationwide.
Yearly Americans United memberships start at $25 and can be purchased online by visiting the national website at www.au.org/donate/donate-now.
For more information about the Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans for Separation of Church and State or the Annual Membership Meeting, visit www.okau.org or contact James Nimmo at 405-843-3651.
Local Americans United group to discuss Church/State issues at membership meeting
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