Religious Displays by the Government
Religious displays and monuments are sacred to many. The First Amendment undoubtedly protects the rights of houses of worship, homes, and businesses to display religious symbols openly and publicly. But when the government erects, funds, and displays particular religious monuments, it sends a message that certain faiths are officially preferred over all others. Government-sponsored religious displays thus violate the religious neutrality our Constitution guarantees.
When the government speaks—for example, through taxpayer-funded war memorials—it speaks for all of its citizens. Indeed, the ACLU firmly supports the government’s efforts to honor the service of those who fought and died for this country. But there are many ways to do so without playing favorites with faith. Unlike individual headstones for fallen American soldiers, which appropriately reflect the personal religious preferences of individual service members and their families, government-sponsored religious monuments elevate some faiths over others. Giant religious symbols that are sacred to many though not all Americans needlessly and unconstitutionally divide the country along religious lines. The ACLU works to ensure that governmental displays do not favor one religion over others or religion over non-religion.
- CaseFebruary 26, 2019
- Blog Post - Speak FreelyNovember 6, 2018
- Press ReleaseJune 30, 2015
- Blog Post - Speak FreelyJuly 19, 2017
- Press ReleaseMay 23, 2018