Law, Rights, and Religion Project

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to be a staunch defender of religious liberties. Nevertheless, his campaign promises, as well as statements made by him and his cabinet appointees, suggest that Trump holds a limited and deeply flawed understanding of religious freedom, among other constitutional rights and guarantees. While members of the new administration will act quickly and aggressively to advance certain conservative Christian religious tenets by limiting the rights of LGBTQ communities and curtailing access to reproductive health care, the President has promised to significantly restrain the rights of religious minorities by imposing a Muslim immigration ban, increase profiling and policing of Muslim communities, and closing houses of worship. The Vice-President, Attorney General and other appointees hold particularly distorted understandings of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, threatening to capture government for religious interests and implement theocratic policies beyond anything we’ve seen in recent history.

As we prepare to meet these new and serious threats to religious liberty and other fundamental rights, this paper offers an outline of areas where the Trump administration may violate the letter and spirit of the First Amendment by expressing a state preference for certain religions or religious beliefs, limiting the rights of religious minorities, or granting religious accommodations that harm other private citizens.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | First Amendment | Law