Delaware Valley Chapter (PA/NJ) Hosts Second Annual Church-State Symposium

Separation of Church and State--It's Not Just About School Prayer Anymore; It's About Everything.

On Saturday, April 9, the Delaware Valley Chapter of Americans United hosted their Second Annual Church-State Issues Symposium at National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The all-day event featured lively presentations by an array of speakers. Rev. Barry Lynn delivered the keynote address on "Separation of Church and State--It's Not Just About School Prayer Anymore; It's About Everything".


Rev. Barry W. Lynn ~ Photo by Janice Rael

~ Photo by Janice Rael

Other presenters (and their topics) included: Rev. Nate Walker, from Columbia University and First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, on "Theolegal Democracy: Do Public Officials Use Theology to Determine Law in the United States"; Professor Bruce Ledewitz, from Duquesne Law School in Pittsburg, on "Higher Law in the Public Square: A New Interpretation of Church and State"; Greg Lipper, Litigation Counsel at Americans United in Washington, DC, on "Modern-Day Monkey Trials: Litigating Science in Church-State Cases"; Brent Walker, Executive Director for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, DC, on "Debunking The Top Five Myths of the Separation of Church and State'; and Professor Burton Caine, Chair of Americans for Religious Liberty at Temple Law School in Philadelphia, speaking on "We The People Must Restore The Wall of Separation Between Church and State". 


AU's Greg Lipper                                    ~ Photo by Janice Rael

Other speakers included Jon Pahl, Professor of History of Christianity in North America at The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, on "Secular Sacred Spaces and the Production of Religious Violence: Or, Why The Problem Isn't Primarily the Separation of Church and State, But the Disentangling of Religion and Politics". Professor Joan Woolfrey, from the Department of Philosophy, West Chester University, West Chester, PA, on "The Founders and Enlightenment Philosophy"; and Bruce T. Gourley, Executive Director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society in Atlanta, GA, on "A Commitment to Church-State Separation Challenged: Baptists in the South and the American Civil War".

The day concluded with a roundtable discussion with the speakers, moderated by DVAU Chapter President Ed Joyce. DVAU Vice President Janice Rael and chapter members Ellen Greenfield-Joyce and Dean Miller were on the organizing committee for the event.