We Dissent

We Dissent

We Dissent is a monthly podcast by three secular women, who also happen to be powerhouse attorneys at major secular organizations in the U.S. Join us as we discuss developments affecting the separation of church and state in the US Supreme Court and lower federal courts. We’ll also explore other advocacy work we do to help atheists and other nonreligious people outside the courtroom. We know there are so many atheist podcasts and legal podcasts and you have a lot to choose from, but we hope you’ll join us, the only legal podcast for atheists and agnostics hosted completely by women lawyers. We can’t wait to start these conversations.

Episodes

June 20, 2024 63 mins

Alison, Liz, and Rebecca are joined by reproductive rights expert, political strategist, and advocate Maya Rupert. They discuss how the fight for reproductive justice is being waged post-Dobbs and why the personal has never been more political. 

 

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Not two years after overturning Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court is considering a case that threatens to take the abortion pill, mifepristone, off the market. Alison, Liz, and Rebecca explain how the anti-abortion activist lawsuit started, how it got to the Court, and what we learned from the recent oral arguments.

 

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Alison, Liz, and Rebecca welcome guest Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee and lead organizer of BJC’s Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign. They discuss the urgent threat that Christian nationalist ideology poses to American democracy, how nonreligious and religious Americans alike can fight back, and Amanda explains the strong historical tradition of supporting state/church se...

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March 20, 2024 52 mins

Join Rebecca, Alison and Liz for a journey through the history and principles behind the U.S. exempting churches from taxation! We discuss the practice of tax exemption for charitable organizations, including churches, the major cases about the constitutionality of these ideas, and abuses of the Johnson Amendment. 

 

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February 21, 2024 64 mins

It’s that wonderful time of year when Alison guides Rebecca and Liz through the upcoming legislative sessions in states across the country. We discuss upsetting trends in state legislation and bills we’re monitoring that affect the separation of church and state and threaten true religious liberty for everyone.

 

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January 17, 2024 64 mins

Liz and Rebecca answer your burning questions on religious liberty issues and more! This episode, we reach into the mailbag and take on topics from YOU, our loyal listeners.

 

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December 20, 2023 69 mins

Alison, Liz, and Rebecca interview Anaya Gayle—lawyer, ex-Mormon, and former BYU assistant dean. They discuss the power and influence the church wields and life for LGBTQ+ students at BYU, as Anaya shares her experience inside the insular LDS community.  

 

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Alison, Liz, and Rebecca are joined by Professor Marci Hamilton, legal icon and leading expert on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and extreme religious liberty. Professor Hamilton explains the origin story of RFRA, how it has led us to the emerging theocracy we face, and what Americans can do to reclaim true religious liberty before it’s too late. 

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October 25, 2023 71 mins

Alison, Liz, and Rebecca go back to school! They discuss the latest wild and crazy state/church violations in public schools reported to their organizations, the postscript on the Coach Kennedy case, and the alarming move by Oklahoma to create the first religious public school.

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September 20, 2023 68 mins

Alison, Liz, and Rebecca take a deep dive into Texas for a case study in theocratic government. They discuss recent Christian nationalist legislation advancing in the state, the takeover of state institutions by conservative Christian legal groups, and the many state/church battles their organizations have fought in Texas. 

 

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Alison, Liz, and Rebecca discuss a better vision for religious liberty with Liz Reiner Platt, director of the Law, Rights, and Religion Project, a law and policy think tank based at Columbia Law School. They talk about using religious exemptions to promote progressive social causes and issues, including the legal fight for a right to abortion based on freedom of conscience.

 

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July 19, 2023 68 mins

The Supreme Court continues to mess up civil rights for everyone. In this episode Rebecca and Liz discuss the two opinions handed down by the Supreme Court at the end of June, Groff v. DeJoy and 303 Creative v. Elenis. They recap the case, summarize the rulings, and discuss implications of the decisions.

 

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Alison, Rebecca, and Liz discuss the pending Post Office case—Groff v. DeJoy—another high-stakes case in which the Supreme Court considers how much hardship a business must bear to accommodate the religious practices of employees. They explain how the case threatens to disrupt decades of case law interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and what the oral arguments may have signaled about the potential outcome. 

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Rebecca, Liz, and Alison discuss the state of state/church separation with Professor Caroline Corbin, constitutional law professor at the University of Miami. They review the history of Establishment Clause jurisprudence, remind listeners about what the Supreme Court did to the religion clauses in 2022, and discuss where we stand now in regards to rights under the First Amendment. TLDR: If you’re a Christian, rest assu...

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April 26, 2023 68 mins

Alison, Liz, and Rebecca are joined by Katie O’Connor, Deputy Chief Counsel at Demand Justice, to discuss court reform. Katie explains how the Supreme Court and federal courts have been broken, why it’s an existential threat to our secular democracy, and how we can fix it. 

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Alison, Liz, and Rebecca welcome another guest to the pod—Sasha Buchert, senior attorney and director of the Non-Binary and Transgender Rights Project for Lambda Legal. Sasha guides us through a discussion of the history of transgender rights in the courts, the current legislative attacks on trans people we are seeing across the country, and the litigation to overturn anti-trans laws.

 

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February 22, 2023 62 mins

What is the ministerial exception? Where did it come from? What has the Supreme Court said about this legal doctrine? In this episode, Rebecca, Liz and Alison recount the history of the ministerial exception and break down the two major cases from the Supreme Court on point: Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrisey-Berru. 

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Rebecca, Liz and Alison discuss the December 2022 oral arguments in the latest services for same sex wedding case, 303 Creative v. Elenis. This case involves a Christian website designer who would like to expand her business to create wedding websites, but would refuse to do that for same sex couples. The hosts discuss the craziness that was the oral argument and what this case means for religious li...

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December 22, 2022 69 mins

Alison guides us through the legislative process in states and what to expect in the 2023 legislative sessions. We discuss how a bill becomes a law, what bills we’re tracking for next year, and give advice on how you can become an effective advocate! 

Cases

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November 16, 2022 67 mins

Rebecca, Liz, Monica, and Alison discuss the ways in which the separation of church and state surfaces during election season. They’ll break down the Johnson Amendment, the rules and restrictions churches must adhere to in order to be tax-exempt, and then explore the unique complaints they receive involving voting in churches.

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