Government-sponsored religious displays introduce controversy on an issue about which many Americans disagree: religion. America as a nation is extraordinarily religiously diverse. We come from many different religious traditions and some follow no spiritual path at all. The government’s decision to erect a religious display that represents some—but not all—Americans leaves many overlooked and makes many feel unwelcome in their own community. The government should not place its seal of approval on any religious symbol, emblem, or creed.
Yet, despite the constitutionally suspect and divisive impact of these displays, federal and state legislatures often introduce bills aiming to post specific religious symbols and creeds on public property, official seals and government flags. For example, Congress recently passed legislation to add a Judeo-Christian prayer to the existing World War II monument in Washington, DC. Legislators should reject efforts to display prayers, Ten Commandments monuments, crosses, or any other religious symbol, and should instead only place displays on public property that represent and unify all.
- AU letter opposing the World War II Memorial Prayer Act
- AU letter opposing a state sponsored Ten Commandments monument bill