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Should There Be Religious Exemptions from Public Health Requirements?
An infectious disease specialist, a medical ethicist, a clergy member and a legal expert will discuss public health requirements that have been mandated during the COVID-19 pandemic & whether religious exemptions are warranted. (Scroll down for panelists' bios.)

Thursday, January 20, 2022, 7 pm EST/ 6 pm CST.

Sponsors: Central Savannah River Area Chapter and Houston Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

More info at: https://amunitedcsra.wordpress.com/2021/12/16/should-religious-practices-be-exempt-from-public-health-restrictions-on-gatherings-jan-20-7-pm/

Jan 20, 2022 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Andy Cooke
Reverend @Ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Rev. Andy Cooke serves as Co-Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Augusta, GA. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Andy has served various roles in congregations and collegiate campus ministry over the past twenty years as well as leadership roles in the ascending judicatories of the denomination. He studied at the University of Georgia (A.B., religion), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of St. Andrews (post-graduate fellowship). He is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Alex Luchenitser
Associate Vice President and Associate Legal Director @Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Alex has litigated church-state lawsuits for Americans United since January 2001. His cases have challenged public-school promotion of religion, public funding of religious activity, governmental sponsorship of religious displays and discriminatory governmental prayer practices. He has also defended women’s, LGBTQ and other civil rights against religion-based discrimination and deprivation. Since March 2020, he has led Americans United’s pandemic-related amicus work, filing fifty-six friend-of-the-court briefs in federal and state courts, including eight in the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing requests for religious exemptions from pandemic-related public-health measures. He has discussed church-state issues in many journal articles, blog posts, television and radio appearances, major newspapers, and public presentations. He received his A.B. magna cum laude in Government and Economics from Harvard University in 1991, and his J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School in 1994.
Andy Reese
Andy Reese was reared on a farm in NE Oklahoma. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Missouri. After postdoctoral work at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, he joined the faculty at the Medical College of Georgia as an immunologist in 1975. His principal area of research was on macrophage function in the immune response and wound healing. He is a member and past president of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta. He was a founding member and past president of the Interfaith Fellowship of Augusta and is currently the president of the Progressive Religious Coalition of Augusta. He the author of two books, Rational Spirituality and (with Peter Kandis) Religious Humanism: The Good Life Lived in Community. He was the principal author of The Doctor’s Dilemma, a computer based, role playing program in medical ethics.
José A. Vazquez, MD, FACP, FIDSA
Chief, Division of Infectious Disease and Professor of Medicine @Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Dr. Vazquez is Chief, Division of Infectious Disease and Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, Augusta, GA. He joined MCG in August 2013. He was Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Senior Staff Physician in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Henry Ford Hospital and Medical System in Detroit, Michigan. In addition, he is currently the Chief of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at AU Health Hospital and Chair of the Bio-Medical IRB Committee at Augusta University. Dr Vazquez earned his medical degree from Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic in 1985. He completed internship and residency in internal medicine at Finch University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Illinois. See more at https://bit.ly/3e5mA6E