An El Paso, Texas-based, non-profit, non-denominational organization formed to educate the public
about the dangers of faith-based legislation and the consequences of breaching the line
between church and state, and to serve as a contact for those who seek information
and expertise regarding separation issues.

Support the work of Join us For Justice.
Donate here to make your one-time contribution, or to create a recurring donation in the amount of your choosing.

Let Us know if you are aware of a possible breach of separation of church and state in El Paso or the surrounding area.
  Click on the Contact & Feedback link located on the menu above.


Now
   we have
a stronger
voice!





With gratitude to the
Anderson-Rogers Foundation, Inc.

for funding to support our outreach activities.

Thanks to the following sponsors
Scherr, Legate PLLC
Attorneys-at-Law
~~
Joe A. Spencer Attorney-at-Law
Hondey McAlmon

David and Jeryl
Marcus
El Paso County Sheriff's Officers Assoc.

Hector Gutierrez jr.

Mark and Kathleen Walker

Representative Steve Ortega
Joseph Valenzuela
/THE HOPPY MONK
El Paso for Jesus
This site designed and managed by

                                                                      
   
                      
 
The piece below is from
El Diario El Paso - 11/19/2014

with thanks to the author

To find the original article, click here: diario.mx/El_Paso/2014-11-18_93f09f70/unansenos-por-la-justicia-

Join Us For Justice
By Cesar Rivera  [Cesar Rivera is a member of the Board of Directors of Join Us For Justice, with B.A. and M.A. degrees in Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies for UTEP and a law degree for UCLA. Apart from teaching philosophy at NMSU and EPCC, he has collaborated with Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project.]

"Respect for the rights of others is what constitutes peace."  -  Benito Juarez

Many residents of the US-Mexico borderland enjoy freedom of religion and conscience thanks to a dual heritage of struggle for a secular government.

In contrast to other countries, both Mexico and the U.S. have adopted a secular state model to guarantee that no one is subjected to persecution, exclusion, or repression due to their religious positions.  That is, there is no official religion in either one of these countries, but separation of church and state.  On both sides of the border, people are free to adopt or not to adopt a religion to their private heart’s content, and no one may legally use the machinery of the state to impose their religious beliefs on others.

In the U.S., not only does the Constitution not mention a God, but it also forbids imposing religious requirements for a person to qualify for a public position. Furthermore, the First Amendment to the Constitution forbids the establishment of religion and guarantees the free exercise thereof.  As Thomas Jefferson himself would state, through the religious clauses of the First Amendment, the “American people” built “a wall of separation between Church and State.”  

As John Adams would declare in 1797, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

In Mexico, the separation of church and state came to be three decades after independence from Spain, before which Catholicism was considered the official religion.  To a certain extent, the first efforts to establish a secular state ended in the so-called “Reform War,” which itself gave
way to the French Intervention.  The champions of church-state separation emerged victorious from both of these conflicts, defeating both the Mexican conservatives and the French invaders.  

A key figure here was Mr. Benito Juarez, Mexico’s president from 1858 to 1872, whose government issued the “Laws of Reform.”  Beginning in 1859, the Laws of Reform established the separation of church and state, which was ratified in the Constitution of 1917.

In honor of this statesman, our neighbor city to the south adopted its current name, Juarez. Thus, Mexican-Americans have a dual source of historical and cultural resources to defend both religious freedom and the separation of church and state.  However, is it necessary to defend
these rights, even though they are enshrined in our laws?  Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.”  

For one thing, the history of the secular state has not transpired smoothly at all.  In Mexico, it even had to do with another bloody war in the 1920s and the 1930s known as “la Cristiada.” 

In the U.S., the religious clauses of the First Amendment were not officially recognized as applying to the individual states of the union until 1947.

Even today, there is in the U.S. a reactionary movement that fights for the tacit establishment of a conservative form of Christianity as the official religion of the state, and that tries to impose its dogmas in public education, its traditionalist morality in society, and its rituals in the work of government. 

In other words, the secular state is not a completed fact, since the growing influence of such conservative Christian movement threatens to demolish the wall of church-state bit by bit.  Perhaps, people who are not interested in respecting the rights of others would welcome such development, or at least not oppose it. 

However, given the goals of that conservative Christian movement, the weakening of the separation of church and state is a gloomy omen of undesirable effects such as the following—among others:

1) The rights of both non-Christian religious minorities and progressive Christians (both Catholic and Protestant) would be under attack;

2) Racism against certain ethnic minorities (e.g., Native Americans, Jews, Middle Easterners) would only grow;

3) Militarism and xenophobia would be on the rise against other countries;

4) Women’s rights to reproductive freedom would be trampled on;

5) Oppression against the LGBT community would be perpetuated;

6) Non-religious people would be reduced to second-status citizens;

7) The qualitative education of our children in the sciences and the humanities would be in jeopardy;

8) Our technological competitiveness in the world would diminish, and

9) The adoption of public policies needed to address climate change would be less likely.

Before such undesirable scenario, those of us who consider ourselves supporters of the secular state cannot allow for an economically powerful religious minority to benefit at the expense of the rights and wellbeing of everybody else in the U.S.  Hence, several non-profit organizations have emerged that fight for maintaining and strengthening the separation of church and state.  

Ideally, these organizations have the capacity to bring together progressive Christians, liberal
Jews, moderate Muslims, and pluralist atheists in coalitions with groups that defend the rights of women and the LGBT community. 

As such, these organizations forecast a plural model for a democratic society that appreciates diversity and respects religious, ethnic, sexual, and gender differences.  The separation of church and state is a necessary condition for such a society.

One of the national organizations devoted to this ideal is “Americans United for Separation of Church and State,” represented in El Paso by “Join Us For Justice.”

My goal in penning this editorial piece is informing El Diario’s readership and Spanish-speaking El Pasoans that they can turn to Join Us For Justice for information and legal support, should they ever be the victims of religious coercion by public officials.  By the same token, Join Us For Justice calls on the
Latino/Mexican-American/ Chicano/Hispanic community of the borderlands to join our cause.  
As a member of this community, I am aware of the wealth we can contribute to a plural society.  

Therefore, I extend an invitation to El Diario’s readership to join us for justice.  For more information, please visit our web site: www.joinusforjustice.org.

Join Us For Justice the El Paso Chapter of AU      6090 Surety Drive Suite  100       915-525-8545      El Paso, TX  79905