By Michelle Boorstein
Between the American president endorsing Christian nationalist Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate and next week’s Supreme Court hearing of a baker refusing on religious grounds to serve a gay couple, this might seem like a discouraging month for Rev. Barry Lynn to retire.
For the last quarter-century, the lanky pastor-lawyer has been one of the most omni-present faces of secularism, leading the advocacy group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. In thousands of appearances on national TV and radio, Lynn was paired with his culture warrior-counterparts on the right, once-towering figures like the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson – making the case that the mixing of religion and government is toxic and unconstitutional.
But Lynn, who retires Monday, said in an interview reflecting on his career, and on church-state issues in general, that he believes data and his experience paint an America becoming less tolerant of government-backed expressions of religion. “I think the courts are out of step. I think the president is out of step.” He has also been critical of President Obama for not doing more to further church-state separation.
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