Religious and Racial Equality

Compelled Public Funding of Religion? Not on Our Watch!

Religious freedom means that we are all free to financially support only the religion of our choice — or not fund any at all. Government-funded programs such as private school vouchers, construction of houses of worship, “faith-based” initiatives that include proselytizing, and other schemes funnel taxpayer money into the coffers of religious entities to pay for religious activities. This violates the fundamental right of conscience.

Religion thrives when it relies on voluntary donations, not government funding. Depending on taxpayer aid also invites government intervention and regulation. For the health of both church and state, the government should refrain from propping up religion with tax money.

What you need to know

Religion Has Thrived With Voluntary Support

Religion in America has flourished because of the separation of church and state. In fact, political scientists consistently find that countries with official and government-funded state religions, like those in Europe, have lower levels of religious observance and support.

America’s Founders Opposed State-Funded Religion

James Madison was never one to tolerate any official ties between church and state. As he explained, "governments are limited by the essential distinction between civil and religious functions."

Covid Money Gone Awry

During the pandemic, Americans United issued a report detailing how COVID relief funds under the Paycheck Protection Program were used to funnel billions into the coffers of private, mostly religious schools.


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.

Join the Fight and Donate Today