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Americans United: Student Affiliates

Supporting church-state separation from campus.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Why Should Students Care About Keeping Religion and State Separate

To Protect Your Rights.

The First Amendment of the Constitution declares, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Therefore, you have the right to voluntarily engage in religious activities and to express your beliefs. You also have the right not to be forced into religious participation and not to be subject to policies that promote a particular religious viewpoint.

To Prevent Discrimination.

When religion and state intermingle, there is a very real threat that individuals and groups will be faced with discrimination or even violence based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.

To Protect Public Education.

Mixing religion and state threatens to both decrease the quality of public education and to prevent the free exchange of ideas. Without the separation, public funds could be taken out of public schools through vouchers or other means and spent at parochial institutions. This could lead to taxpayers funding institutions that practice religious job discrimination and impose certain religious beliefs on students. Also, the free exchange of ideas enables the individual to learn and grow by scrutinizing his/her personal beliefs when challenged by others. Therefore, mixing religion and state increases the threat of censorship.

To Defend the Rights of Student Organizations.

The Supreme Court has declared that all student organizations, including those of a religious nature, should have access to university funds and facilities on an equal basis. Without these protections, all types of organizations become vulnerable to discrimination.