By David Beck
My wife, Debra, and I met before matchmaking apps existed. Our personal narratives didn't matter then. Gradually, though, our thoughts turned to who we were as people. My Midwest small-town upbringing grounded in Christian fundamentalism was very different from Debra's West Coast progressive Jewish background.
To reconcile our differences, we joined an interfaith group headed by a rabbi and a priest, who told us that religions that don't bind divide. It stuck and drew us into a deep and abiding appreciation of each other's traditions. That was 31 years ago.
We now have two adult children, and discussions quite frequently revolve around the role of religion in dividing humanity and us as a country—much of which is the result of decisions emanating from the highest branches of government.
We know this divisiveness, often steeped in religious animosities and sanctioned by the state, is not going to go away without a fight. We will pass on, but the fight will remain. That is why we have decided to set up a legacy fund naming Americans United as a beneficiary upon our deaths.
Our goal is to fund one AU staff member or equivalent in perpetuity. We have had the opportunity to work with Americans United in hosting events. The quality and dedication of AU's staff is inspiring. We'd love to see others join us in setting up similar funds so that AU's fight for the separation of church and state and a more inclusive society can go on unabated.
Support Future Generations
David and Debra included Americans United and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, California, in their estate plan using a Fidelity Charitable donor advised fund and designating AU as a beneficiary of their retirement account. In making these commitments, Debra and David wanted future generations to know the importance of the separation of church and state, the First Amendment, minorities' rights and the significance of science in everyday life. Additionally, they hope their philanthropy will foster an appreciation for civil liberties and freedom in their children and grandchildren.