Meet our 2018 Essay Contest winners here!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 AU Student Essay Contest!


While ever-present, the threats to church-state separation have evolved over the years. In addition to the many cases of prayer in public schools and religious displays on government property, we now face new dangers, including:

  • Discrimination against the LGBTQ community, women and religious minorities in the name of religion

  • Attempts to change the tax code so politicians can pressure nonprofits — including houses of worship — for endorsements

  • And efforts to ban people from entering the country because of their religion

What do you think has been the greatest threat to church-state separation in the past year? (Your answer can be, but doesn’t have to be, one of the issues mentioned above.)

What have you or others in your community done to oppose this threat? What are some of the barriers that prevent work on this issue? And what more can be done?


  • 750-1,200 Words

  • Adherence to guidelines and carefully proofread

  • Articulate, creative, and tightly focused response that demonstrates a genuine grappling with the topic

  • Observation of rules for Standard English usage (grammar, punctuation, and mechanics) in writing

  • Well-researched with convincing arguments supported by specific examples

Note: Employees and board members of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and members of their families are not eligible to participate in the 2018 Essay Contest.