Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tweeted encouragement for state legislators to pass “Bible literacy” bills that allow or even require public schools to create classes dedicated solely to teaching the Christian Bible to public schoolchildren.
Today, Americans United and a broad coalition of 43 prominent religious, civil rights, secular, LGBTQ and reproductive freedom organizations urged state lawmakers across the country to oppose “Project Blitz” and related legislation that uses religion as a basis for discrimination and attempts to enshrine Christian nationalism into law.
Project Blitz is part of a coordinated national effort by the Religious Right to codify the U.S. as an officially “Christian nation.” Project Blitz promotes a three-tiered framework of state bills meant to incrementally redefine religious freedom and tear down the separation of church and state, with each tier laying the groundwork for the next.
The Project Blitz framework starts by pushing what its architects believe will be less controversial measures, such as displaying “In God We Trust” in public schools and buildings and establishing Bible classes in public schools. Using those bills as a foothold in a state, it then seeks to pass more dangerous legislation, such as coercing prayer in public schools or permitting taxpayer-funded agencies to discriminate against couples seeking to foster or adopt children because they are LGBTQ or the “wrong” religion.
It’s no coincidence that Trump has tweeted support for the Bible class bills and his administration even issued an exemption from nondiscrimination laws for taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies in South Carolina. While Trump himself may not be working for or with Project Blitz, he and its architects share the same agenda of promoting Christian nationalism. Throughout his presidency, his policies have continually violated the separation of church and state, and elevated one set of Christian beliefs above all others.
“We urge legislators across the country to oppose Project Blitz and similar legislative efforts,” the 43 organizations asserted in their statement. “America – and religious freedom – are stronger when the government gives no religion or set of beliefs more power or preference than any other and when everyone is welcome and treated equally under the law.”
Joining AU in the statement are a broad list religious and denominational organizations, ranging from the National Council of Churches to Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Union for Reform Judaism, Hindu American Foundation and Muslim Advocates. Also included are LGBTQ groups, such as the Equality Federation, Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal; reproductive freedom groups, including Center for Reproductive Rights and NARAL Pro-Choice America; civil rights groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Anti-Defamation League; and secular organizations, including American Atheists and Secular Coalition for America. You can find the entire list of organizations here.
“This diverse group of powerhouse organizations and religious denominations came together to expose the truth behind Project Blitz – Christian nationalism and the weaponization of religion as the basis for discrimination,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United. “Project Blitz aims to corrupt our cherished principle of separation of religion and government, the cornerstone of religious freedom for all. That’s why our broad coalition is joining together to speak out against this divisive, dangerous agenda that has no place in America.”
The organizations assert in their statement: “America – and religious freedom – are stronger when the government gives no religion or set of beliefs more power or preference than any other and when everyone is welcome and treated equally under the law.”
Americans United has been at the forefront of fighting back against Project Blitz. We are tracking these bills and the escalating trend of their introduction in state legislatures around the country. Already this year, at least ten Bible class bills have been introduced in eight states, and a half-dozen states passed “In God We Trust” display bills last year. Sign up for AU’s emails so we can keep you up to date on what’s happening with Project Blitz in your state.