Freedom Without Favor, Equality Without Exception

The separation between church and state protects us all. It makes our country more fair, more equal and more inclusive.

Grandmother and granddaughter working on a school assignment are protected by religious freedom
Selfie of a smiling gay couple who are protected by religious freedom
Selfie of an older white woman who is protected by religious freedom
Profile picture of a young Black woman standing up for religious freedom
Closeup up of two women embracing, one wears a hijab which is protected by religious freedom
Young East Asian teacher who is protected by religious freedom
White mother and child who are protected by religious freedom
Young Kindergarten-age girl in classroom who is protected by religious freedom
Smiling South Asian woman wearing scarf who is protected by religious freedom
Selfie of smiling Black couple who are protected by religious freedom
Smiling queer Jewish woman protected by religious freedom holding a Pride flag with the star of David on it
Selfie of smiling white couple who are protected by religious freedom
Portrait of smiling pastor wearing religious garb who is protected by religious freedom

What is Religious Freedom?

Religious freedom protects everyone’s right to believe, or not believe, as long as they don’t harm others.

Religious freedom is for everyone. It protects the most devout believer to the most committed atheist and everybody in between. It’s a fundamental human right that our government should not violate or misuse to discriminate or exclude.

A woman wearing a hijab and a man in a flowered shirt and tie smile at the camera

Why Does Religious Freedom Matter?

At its core, the separation of church and state is about equality. It ensures that all people— whether religious or not—are treated the same. And this allows all of us to live as ourselves and believe as we choose.

The “wall of separation between church and state” is an American original. It’s an American invention which was born in the Enlightenment, but was first implemented in the “American Experiment.” Until then, no other nation had sought to protect the people’s right to think freely by separating religion and government. We should be proud of that fact.

Keeping government completely out of religion protects every American’s right to practice or not practice according to their own beliefs.


The Threat to Religious Freedom

The threat to the separation of church and state is real—which appears in attempts to deny reproductive and LGBTQ rights to attacks on religious minorities. Religious extremists and their lawmaker allies want to force everyone to live according to their beliefs. And this will widen inequality in our communities and country.

Those who oppose the separation of church and state want to re-define religious freedom as a sword to harm others, rather than a shield to protect us. This is because they prefer a nation where the beliefs of a narrow minority suppress the freedoms of everyone else.

But supporting the separation of church and state does not make you anti-religion. Church-state separation is about making sure the law does not favor any particular religion or religion in general, but it’s not about interfering with anyone’s private beliefs.

That’s why Americans United for Separation of Church and State brings together people of all faiths or no religion to fight in the courts, legislatures, and the public square for freedom without favor and equality without exception.

Shielding our shared laws from any one religion’s influence frees us to come together as equals and build a stronger democracy.


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BREAKING NEWS

Americans United Condemns Deadly Shooting At LGBTQ+ Nightclub In Colorado Springs

There can be no freedom for any of us in America until we are all free to live our lives without fear that we will be harmed because of who we are, what we look like or what religion we practice.

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