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We, the undersigned, celebrate the long-standing tradition of freedom expressed in our nation's Constitution.
We affirm the wisdom of the Bill of Rights' First Amendment, which declares:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .

We realize that our democracy is grounded in the clear determination to separate government from religion and that this separation has functioned well throughout our nation's history. Because of this essential separation:

  • the rights of both majority and minority religious perspectives, as well as those who choose not to affirm any religion, have been assured;

  • we have not been troubled by the religious strife that has divided other countries; all religious bodies have been protected from government interference and influence;

  • and religion has flourished with a strength and diversity unparalleled by any other nation and has exerted a moral authority that often challenges the power of the state.

We assert that religious freedom is one of our nation's most distinctive characteristics and one of our most deeply valued constitutional rights.

We, therefore, strongly oppose any effort to weaken or violate this vital right or to impose religious belief on state institutions. We are united in our commitment to uphold the separation of church and state and in our opposition to those who would challenge the place of religion in our society by subsuming it under legal control of any kind.

We call upon all persons to join us in upholding the fundamental freedoms of our nation's Constitution and in celebrating the respect, tolerance, individualism, and pluralism that have enhanced our collective strength and understanding.

We also call upon all persons to join us in opposing any effort that would divide us and threaten our freedom by mandating the practice of any religious act or imposing on all persons any particular religious perspective or value.

We are proud of our nation's history of and commitment to freedom and, therefore, we resist all who challenge these basic values and fundamental rights.

Gertrude Barnstone, artist
Jonathan Bernstein, regional director, Anti-Defamation League
Lt. Governor Bob Bullock
Zinetta Burney
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church
Dale Carpenter, co-chair, The Lincoln Project of the HGLPC
Ellen Cohen
State Representative Debra Danburg
James Douglas, dean, Thurgood Marshall School of Law
State Representative Jessica Farrar
Frances T. "Sissy" Farenthold
Nancy E. Friedman
State Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr.
City Controller George Greanias
U.S. Congressman Gene Green
Rev. Heather Lyn Hanson, Minister for Growth, First Unitarian Universalist Church
Eugene M. Harrington
Leo Hartshorn, pastor, Houston Mennonite Church
State Representative Scott Hochberg
Maria Jimenez, American Friends Service Committee
Glenda Joe
Richard J. V. Johnson, publisher, Houston Chronicle
Samuel E. Karff, rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel
Council Member John Kelley
William A. Lawson, pastor, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church
James C. Leach, pastor, Covenant Baptist Church
William Martin, professor of sociology, Rice University
Garry Mauro, Commissioner of General Land Office
Beatrice Mladenka-Fowler, civil rights attorney
Muffie Moroney
Margot Morris, executive director, Omega House, Inc.
Deedee Ostfeld, national vice-president, National Council of Jewish Women
Annise D. Parker
Michael Peranteau, DiverseWorks
Debora Perkey, regional director, ACLU of Texas
Council Member Ben T. Reyes
The Rev. David A. Roschke, senior pastor, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church
Vince Ryan
Rev. Robert Schaibly, senior minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church
Sue Schechter
Arthur Schechter
Asha Sharma
Olga Soliz, LULAC Council 643
Michael J. Springer, executive director, Houston Regional HIV/AIDS Resource Group, Inc.
Karen Susman
Steve Susman
Rev. John F. Stevens
The Very Reverend Walter Taylor, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral
Council Member Eleanor Tinsley
William S. Turner, pastor, South Main Baptist Church
Bryan Vezey, co-chair, The Lincoln Project of the HGLPC
Roy Walter, rabbi, Congregation Emanu El
Ede Ruth Weiner, president, National Council of Jewish Women
Council Member Martha Wong


Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and do not indicate endorsement by named organizations.



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