The mixing of government and religion can be a threat to free government, even if no one is forced to participate.... When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion, it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some.
-- Harry Blackmun,
Majority Opinion, Lee v. Weisman, 1992
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 very well that religious liberty can flourish only if the government leaves religion alone.
The ACLU is dedicated to protecting the First Amendment that guarantees our religion is free of government and our government is free of religion so that no one religion influences the government decisions that affect us all.
Oregon’s constitution provides even more religious liberty protection than the First Amendment. Article I, section 5 of the Oregon Constitution states in part: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury for the benefit of any religious (sic), or theological institution.” Article I, section 2 provides “All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences” and Article I, section 3 states “No law shall in any case whatever control the free exercise, and enjoyment of religious (sic) opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.”
The ACLU of Oregon is committed to ensuring that the words of the Oregon Constitution mean what they say and will continue to protect religious liberty.