Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
CC Images Courtesy of Martin LaBar,
zeevveez and babasteve on Flickr
(left to right)
The very first topic addressed in the Bill of Rights is the interaction between government and religion. This demonstrates the importance of the issue to the founders of our country. Since then, not much has changed. Religion's role in government and visa-versa has remained one of the most controversial social issues in America's political landscape.
At the ACLU, we stringently believe in the guidelines outlined by the First Amendment. Not only should the government avoid from establishing a national religion (explicitly or implicitly), but it also should not interfere with any individual's right to practice their religion. Due to this position, the ACLU has defended both religious and secular viewpoints, although we are sometimes more known for our secular efforts. Despite this popular misconception though, we will continue to work to keep government and religion from entangling in all forms.