The ACLU strives to safeguard the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty by ensuring that laws and governmental practices neither promote religion nor interfere with its free exercise.
Americans enjoy a degree of religious freedom unknown in most of the rest of the world, and they take full advantage of it: the United States is home to more than 1,500 different religious bodies; more than 360,000 churches, synagogues, and mosques; and millions of others who belong to no faith community.
The right of each and every American to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all, is among the most fundamental of freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The Constitution’s framers understood that religious liberty can flourish only with its separation from the government. The free exercise clause of the First Amendment guarantees the right to practice one’s religion free of government interference.
The establishment clause requires the separation of church and state. Combined, they ensure religious liberty. Yet assaults on this basic freedom continue, both in Washington and in state legislatures around the country.
The ACLU vigorously defends the rights of all Americans to practice their religion and to practice no religion.