Americans United was founded in 1947 by a distinguished group of political, religious and educational leaders seeking to defend the U. S. Constitution's guarantees of religious freedom. AU's primary task is educating the American public about the importance of religious liberty through the separation of church and state and defending that crucial constitutional principle against attacks by extremist Religious Right groups such as the Christian Coalition. Americans United currently represents more than 75,000 individuals, as well as 3,000 cooperating churches and other religious bodies. Americans from many different faiths - and some who profess no particular religious affiliation - have joined together to promote full religious freedom for all.
To achieve its goal, Americans United publishes Church & State, an award-winning monthly journal and the only periodical in the U.S. dedicated solely to tracking separation issues, as well as a variety of pamphlets and books on contemporary issues in the church-state field; addresses national affairs through testimony before the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and other governmental bodies and agencies; organizes citizens around the country in local chapters to respond quickly to church and state threats in local communities and defend religious liberty at the grassroots; conducts a vigorous program of legal work, participating since the 1960s in every major church-state case before the U.S. Supreme Court and in pre-litigation advocacy on behalf of parents and citizens to school boards and other local organizations.