Religious Liberty

The ACLUstrives to safeguard the First Amendment鈥檚 guarantee of religious liberty by ensuring that laws and governmental practices neither promote religion nor interfere with its free exercise.

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What you need to know

81%
Eighty-one percent of Americans say the law should not allow companies or other institutions to use religious beliefs to decide whether to offer a service to some people and not others.
3,500
3,500 groups make up the American religious landscape.
All Americans
The ACLUvigorously defends the rights of all Americans, from Christians to members of minority faiths, to practice their religion.

What's at Stake

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that 鈥淐ongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.鈥澛燗s enshrined in the First Amendment, religious freedom includes two complementary protections: the right to religious belief and expression and a guarantee that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors particular faiths over others. These dual protections work hand in hand, allowing religious liberty to thrive and safeguarding both religion and government from the undue influences of the other.

From our foundational work on behalf of conscientious objectors to our historic defense of John T. Scopes during the infamous 鈥淪copes Monkey Trial鈥 of 1925, the ACLUhas been the national leader in the struggle for religious freedom.聽Building on that near-century of work, the ACLUemploys an integrated strategy of litigation, public education, and advocacy to protect religious liberty.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that 鈥淐ongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.鈥澛燗s enshrined in the First Amendment, religious freedom includes two complementary protections: the right to religious belief and expression and a guarantee that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors particular faiths over others. These dual protections work hand in hand, allowing religious liberty to thrive and safeguarding both religion and government from the undue influences of the other.

From our foundational work on behalf of conscientious objectors to our historic defense of John T. Scopes during the infamous 鈥淪copes Monkey Trial鈥 of 1925, the ACLUhas been the national leader in the struggle for religious freedom.聽Building on that near-century of work, the ACLUemploys an integrated strategy of litigation, public education, and advocacy to protect religious liberty.

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