THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION STATES: “CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, OR OF THE PRESS, OR OF THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, AND TO PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES.”

The First Amendment refers to “freedom of religion”—not “freedom from religion.” For decades, leftist groups, particularly the ACLU, have used lawsuits to distort America’s history, twisting the Constitution into an enemy of any religion, rather than a protector of all. Correcting that error is a primary goal of the ACRU.

The latest liberal argument reduces the scope of “freedom of religion” by substituting the phrase “freedom to worship.” Because tearing down churches would be too overt, the Left is attempting to make churches irrelevant to public life, by forcing them to acquiesce to an ever-evolving secular “morality.” As a result, churches are finding it increasingly difficult to conduct charitable activities, harming the most vulnerable among us.

Meanwhile, the ACLU and other atheist groups are eviscerating America’s Christian heritage by forcing the removal of Christian—and sometimes Jewish—symbols from the public square. This includes Ten Commandment monuments or crosses, large or small, at veterans’ memorials such as Mt. Soledad in San Diego.

Increasingly, traditional morality is being redefined as a form of “hate speech.” This effectively criminalizes dissent as Leftists twist the meaning of “tolerance” into intolerance for dissenting viewpoints of any kind.

The good news is that the Constitution is very clear and can’t be ignored. The ACRU is determined to do everything it can to protect and advance the “unalienable right” of freedom of religion guaranteed to all by America’s Founders.

Support the ACRU’s work on the First Amendment by donating today.

ACTIVITY

Hans von Spakovsky: Thomas Fires Warning Shot at Media, Organizations That Lie About Conservatives

If you are a private figure and The New York Times or the Southern Poverty Law Center publishes a lie about you, you simply have to prove that the statement was false and harmed your reputation. The fact that the publisher didn’t know or care that the statement was false is irrelevant. But if you are a “public figure,” you not only have to prove that the statement was false and harmed your reputation, but that the statement was made “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” And the definition of who is a public figure constantly has expanded since 1964.

BRIEF: Statement on Coach Kennedy Case

As the Executive Director of the American Constitutional Rights Union, I commend the US Supreme Court once again for ruling on the side of the Constitution and individual rights. The Coach Kennedy case was a secular humanist and progressive socialist challenge to our very first liberty, the freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof. Coach Kennedy's actions of taking a knee in prayer after HS football games was a personal right. He did not advocate for or seek any state, government, endorsement, nor coerce anyone to enjoin with him. We have distorted the concept of Separation of Church and State, written by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury (CT) Baptist convention. Solemn, silent, and solitary individual prayer by anyone in any venue is not a sponsorship of government religion. It is a sacred part of our Judeo-Christian faith heritage which should not be separated from any American citizen.

U.S. Supreme Court Protects Free Exercise and Free Speech: Rights of Football Coach Who Sought to Pray Privately

In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the School District violated Coach Joseph Kennedy’s constitutional rights when it disciplined him for praying silently at midfield following football games. It concluded that both the Free Exercise Clause and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protected Kennedy’s conduct. The Court further rejected the School District’s assertion that it feared an Establishment Clause violation if it allowed Kennedy to continue with his private prayers.