October 23, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a great champion of religious freedom and my friend, the Reverend Barry W. Lynn, who will soon retire after 25 years as executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and an attorney, Rev. Lynn has paired his two callings and been a leader in the fight to protect our civil rights and civil liberties, especially the First Amendment. His work has helped protect our right to believe (or not) as we see fit and guarantee that the government does not promote religion. Rev. Lynn has been on the frontlines of the fight to ensure that religion is not used as an excuse to discriminate against others, dictate people's private lives, tell others whom they can love, or limit people's access to healthcare.

Under Rev. Lynn's leadership, Americans United has grown into one of the most prominent organizations in the country working to protect religious freedom. During his tenure, the organization has led the charge to defend the wall of separation between church and state.

Rev. Lynn's tenure is marked by efforts to ensure that all people feel welcomed in their community regardless of their faith. He led Americans United's fight to ensure that students at public schools were taught science rather than creationism in their classrooms and for the removal the 2 1/2 ton monument to the Ten Commandments erected at the Alabama Supreme Court. During his leadership, Americans United successfully stopped a proposed constitutional amendment to allow public school-sponsored prayers and fought for women's health and equality when it stood up for students when their university cited religion to block their access to birth control.

Rev. Lynn is an author and educator who has shared his expertise with audiences across the country, giving speeches, appearing on television, hosting his long-running radio show, and testifying in Congress, about why the constitutional principle of church-state separation is the only way to ensure freedom of religion for all Americans.

Although he will now have more time to spend with his twin grandchildren, just born this summer, Rev. Lynn's lifelong passion for social justice remains. I feel confident he will continue to engage in social justice issues and stand up for important causes for years to come.

It has been my pleasure to work with Rev. Lynn over the last two decades. I commend him for his transformational service to Americans United, our Constitution, and our country, and I wish him well in his retirement.