Americans United for the Separation of Church and State
The majority of organizational materials are from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC). The collection features the Americans for Religious Liberty (ARL) newsletter, “Voice of Reason,” from 1991, and the Council on Religious Freedom’s “Freedom Alert,” from 1993. Additional ARL material, such as brochures and articles, are also present. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church’s religious freedom magazine, “Liberty,” is present beginning in 1995. Many of the journals are present in near complete runs. Harrell concentrated his advocacy of the separation of church and state with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. AU was organized in 1947 as Protestants and Other Americans for the Separation of Church and State to protest government proposals to fund private schools with public funds. Today AU describes itself as “a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.” In April 1976, Harrell wrote the first AU director, Glenn L. Archer, and expressed his passion for their mission. He wrote, “You aroused in me an interest in and a commitment to the principles of church-state separation which have deepened the last thirteen years….” Archer responded with a simple request, “Keep up your good work. What you do is very important.” Harrell went on to serve on the organization’s National Advisory Committee, Board of Trustees, Personnel Committee, Nominating Committee and Executive Committee. The collection features meeting minutes and annual and board reports beginning in the mid-1990s. Correspondence between Harrell and members of AU begins in 1963. AU’s monthly publication, “Church and State,” is present beginning in 1948. The journal, “Faith Connections,” a tri-yearly newsletter for “people of faith who support the separation of Church and State,” is present beginning with its inaugural issue of 2000. The collection also includes issues of “The Jefferson Circle,” beginning with the Fall 2007 issue. This newsletter highlights AU’s fundraising efforts through planned gifts and bequests. Harrell also became an AU “Patriot for Freedom” through his financial contributions and the collection includes the associated newsletter, “The Patriot Dispatch.” Parallel to Harrell’s involvement with Americans United was his journey with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. The BJC is self-described as “an education and advocacy organization…fighting to uphold the historic Baptist principle of religious liberty.” Formerly the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, the group changed its name in 2005 to better represent their overall mission. The BJC is comprised of fifteen national, state and regional bodies supported by thousands of churches and individuals. Harrell’s strongest link to the BJC was through his membership with its Religious Liberty Council (RLC), “an association of individuals that works to provide education about and advocacy for religious freedom and the separation of church and state and to ensure adequate funding for the BJC.” The collection includes, “First Freedom,” the RLC quarterly, from Spring 1997 through Winter 2002. The collection also includes the BJC journal, “Report from the Capitol,” beginning October 1983. Harrell was close to former BJC Executive Director James Dunn. Writing to Harrell on June 28, 1990, Dunn noted, “What do we say to such loyal, practical, generous friends as you? Thanks, but that’s not enough. We need you. Causes like religious liberty couldn’t survive without dedicated allies and comrades in arms.” Correspondence related to the BJC runs from 1972 to 2008. Six pamphlets on various church and state issues published by the BJC are included.
Library Use Only
From the Collection: 17.5 Linear Feet (and published works shelved in Hollings Library Reading Room)
Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository
Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA