Discrimination in Name of Religion

"I Won't Help You": Discrimination in Social Services

The government funds faith-based and secular organizations to provide important social services, including foster care, homeless shelters, food banks, drug-and-alcohol counseling, and long-term care facilities. Some of these organizations receive millions of taxpayer dollars each year.

No one in need of help should be turned away from taxpayer-funded programs because they can’t meet a religious test. Nor should they be forced to pray or participate in religious activities in order to get vital services. But religious extremists want the government to fund religious providers while insisting they can remove church-state safeguards and nondiscrimination protections for people who use the programs.

What you need to know

People in Need Must Be Protected

The Trump administration stripped critical religious-freedom protections from people who use taxpayer-funded social services. AU is urging the Biden administration to restore those protections, including notifying individuals of their rights not to be discriminated against based on religion, proselytized to or required to participate in religious activities, and the right to an alternative service provider.

Strength in Numbers

Americans United chairs the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD), which is the national coalition of dozens of organizations fighting policies that allow religiously affiliated social service organizations to use taxpayer funds to discriminate.

Foster Care is Fairer Care

In November 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rescinded exemptions granted by the Trump administration that allowed child welfare providers to use religion to discriminate against potential foster parents. AU and its allies are working to fix federal policies that still allow the use of religion to discriminate, including with respect to foster care.


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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