Freedom without Favor

Religious and Racial Equality

Whether you belong to a majority or minority faith or none at all, you have the same rights as every other American.

Government should treat all people equally. But when it comes to religious equality, that’s not always the case.

Religious minorities are often penalized for their beliefs or practices. The non-religious are excluded when government sponsors or favors religious events. That’s certainly not what the First Amendment intends.

And yet, emboldened white Christian nationalists consistently promote unfair laws and policies by falsely claiming that the U.S. is a “Christian nation.” They falsify our history to justify their agenda: excluding all but themselves from real religious freedom.

The most important issues we're facing


What You Should Know

Americans Know Their Constitution

At its core, the separation of church and state is about equality. It ensures that all people, whether they practice a specific religion or not, are treated the same—regardless of their beliefs. Nearly nine in ten Americans agree: the U.S. government cannot establish an official religion or favor one religion over another.

A More Diverse America

Because of the separation of church and state, the U.S. is one of the most religious and religiously diverse nations in the world. More than 1,400 groups are part of the American religious landscape, and non-Christian communities including Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Muslims are growing.

The Rise of the “Nones”

At least 23% of Americans claim no religious affiliation—the fastest growing religious demographic in the country.

In a society where so many do not religiously affiliate, the U.S.—founded as the first legally secular nation—has every reason to uphold church-state separation.

Milestones

  • January 2022

    AU, joined by the National Council of Churches and 17 other religious and civil-rights organizations urge the U.S. Supreme Court to protect religious freedom and not force the City of Boston to display the Christian flag.

    Read AU’s Press Statement

  • September 2021

    AU and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear Shurtleff v. Boston – a case that could significantly endanger religious freedom and church-state separation.

    Read AU’s press statement.

  • January 2021

    The Biden administration ended the Trump administration’s Muslim ban that restricted immigration from Muslim-majority countries — a policy that AU and other leading civil rights groups challenged, but the Supreme Court upheld. Now that the ban is over, Congress must pass the NO BAN Act to prevent future administrations from banning people coming to this country based on their religious beliefs or nationality.

    Learn more about the NO BAN Act

  • December 2020

    White Christian nationalists desecrated several Black churches in Washington, D.C. Americans United condemned the attacks, because “the fights for true religious freedom and racial justice are inextricably linked.”

    Read AU’s statement here

  • June 2020

    Americans United filed an appeal in federal court on behalf of our client, Mark Janny, who is an atheist. Mark was jailed after he refused to take part in worship services, Bible studies and religious counseling mandated by his parole officer.

    Learn more about what happened to Mark

  • December 2014

    When a hijab-wearing Muslim woman was refused employment by Abercrombie and Fitch based on its “looks” policy, AU joined an amicus brief in support of the applicant. A year later the store settled the case, paying damages to the woman it had refused to hire.

    Read more about the case here

Most Recent Efforts

Protecting Equality for Everyone

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