Celebrities to Headline Historic, Simulcast Church-State Separation Event
Community Leaders, Religious Liberty Heroes to Participate in 37-City NationwideMovie Theater Event to Focus Need for Church-State Separation in 2008 Elections
March 26, 2008, 6:00PM
United ArtistsRiverviewPlaza 17, Auditorium 2
Actors, musicians and comedians will join church-state activists from across the country March 26 to put church-state separation on the national agenda during the 2008 election season.
In movie theatres in 37 cities across the nation, interested citizens will gather to learn about the threats to church-state separation and to demand that presidential hopefuls and candidates for other offices answer questions about key issues dealing with individual freedom. A list of 10 great questions to ask candidates will be featured.
Titled “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Separation of Church and State … but Were Afraid to Ask!,” the high-definition program is being hosted by First Freedom First (FFF), a joint project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation.
Peter Coyote, a celebrated Hollywood actor and filmmaker, will emcee the program, which is to include a performance by special guests, the Bacon Brothers. Actor Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael formed the band more than 10 years ago and continue touring nationwide.
Other actors and celebrities scheduled to participate include Michael J. Fox (“Family Ties” and “Spin City”), Jack Klugman (“The Odd Couple” and “Quincy, M.E.”), James Whitmore (“The Shawshank Redemption”), Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me!”), Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”), Catherine Dent (“The Shield”), stand-up comedian and Air America host Marc Maron, singer/songwriter Catie Curtis and singer/satirist Roy Zimmerman.
In addition, Americans who have fought for individual freedom will tell their stories. Invited guests include Bryan and Christy Rehm (who fought creationism in Dover, Pa. science classes), Matthew LaClair (a New Jersey high schooler who exposed religious indoctrination at his school), Roberta Stewart (an Afghanistan War widow who fought for equal rights for Wiccan veterans), Dr. Susan Wicklund (who wears a bullet-proof vest to provide reproductive services in underserved areas) the Rev. Madison Shockley (pastor and reproductive rights advocate) David and Ryan Altoon (who oppose fundamentalist proselytism at U.S. military academies) Melinda “Lindy” Maddox (who successfully sued Alabama “Commandments” Judge Roy Moore) and Susan Jacoby (author of The Age of American Unreason).
First Freedom First was launched in 2006 to mobilize Americans from all walks of life in defense of church-state separation. Recently FFF ran television ads in several presidential primary states urging citizens to ask the candidates to elaborate on their understanding of religious liberty.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, and the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance Foundation, will also participate in the simulcast.
Said Lynn, “This is a unique event that brings together celebrity commitment, civic engagement and the latest technology. Presidential candidates have been asked what their favorite Bible verse is and what sins they have committed. I want to know where they stand on key issues of individual freedom. This simulcast will tell us how to find out that information -- and give us an entertaining evening to boot.”
Said Gaddy, “We are thrilled that so many American icons we have welcomed into our living rooms over the years have graciously agreed to lend their star-power to focus attention on religious liberty and some of its heroes. This gathering should prove to be a lively and much-deserved celebration of the diversity of belief systems in this country and some of the citizens who have boldly taken public stands to protect the boundaries between religion and government.”