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Archive for Sunday, September 28, 1997

MAINSTREAM COALITION TO MEET

September 28, 1997

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A coalition formed to counter so-called "radical religious right" groups will meet Tuesday night in Lawrence.

Efforts are now under way to form a Lawrence chapter of the MAINstream Coalition -- a group formed to counter what it calls "the growing threat of the religious right."

Several leaders of the organization, which has chapters in Johnson County, Topeka, Wichita, Paola and Manhattan, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

"We want to be a part of a statewide network that is ready to take action if there are issues regarding the separation of church and state and the imposition of one sectarian view," said Hilda Enoch, a member of a loosely formed steering committee formed to set up the meeting.

Enoch said forming a Lawrence chapter could help prevent books from being censored at schools and be supportive of government efforts to ensure the rights of minorities.

The organization was formed three years ago as a non-partisan coalition of religious, business, political and community leaders.

The goal is "to counteract the threat to constitutional freedoms by sectarian and political extremists," according to the group's brochure.

"We're uniting to counteract the threat to constitutional freedoms," said Hugh Alexander, a board member from Johnson County. "We believe in the separation of church and state."

Alexander said the coalition has about 2,000 members involved in Johnson County.

"We don't endorse candidates. We educate, basically," he said.

Those coming to speak Tuesday are Alexander; Robert Meneilly, chairman of the MAINstream board; Carol Sader, a former state legislator from Prairie Village and MAINstream president, and Caroline McKnight, executive director.

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