To view an illustrated history of Religion in America, on display at the Library of Congress, click below:

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

Religious Liberty
An American Heritage


Prayer in Schools


Ten Commandments
on Courtroom Walls


Nativity Scene
in the Public Square

Since 1961, American courts have battled U.S. citizens seeking religious liberty — a freedom guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

Religious liberty was an important conviction driving the Founding Fathers toward separation from a government- controlled religion in England

Whether the government tells a citizen how to worship or how he is prohibited from expressing his religion in a free society — both scenarios deprive a citizen of religious liberty.

In 1952, Williams O. Douglas, a Supreme Court Justice, explained the scope of religious freedom in the following words:

"We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. We guarantee the freedom to worship as one chooses. We make room for as wide a variety of beliefs and creeds as the spiritual needs of man deem necessary. We sponsor an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma…To hold [that goverment may not encourage religious instruction] would be to find in the Constitution, a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe...But we find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence."

The American Voice Institute of Public Policy supports efforts to preserve religious liberty and restore the freedoms our Founding Fathers first established for this nation.

Each month the American Voice Institute of Public Policy reports about people in America who are on the front lines fighting for their religious liberties to be restored. This month's reports are listed below.

Tennessee Shelter Continues Prayer

For ten years, Memphis Union Mission has received U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities. In July, inspectors realized there were mandatory religious services prior to meals and withdrew federal aid. Find out how Americans throughout the country came to the mission's defense. Click here for more.

The Bible is the Foundation of the Nation’s Law

In October, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James W. Smith, Jr. was invited to share some thoughts in a business law class at Delta State University (DSU). Read comments by this American judge on how this nation's law was founded on biblical principles. Click here for more.

Ten Commandments, Nativity Display Must Be Moved

By agreeing to relocate a display of the Ten Commandments and not display a Nativity Scene at the county courthouse, the Custer County Commissioners have settled a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana. Click here for more.

Ten Commandments May Be Posted in Schools

Despite an ongoing lawsuit against counties and school districts that have tried it, the Pulaski County School district has decided to allow the posting of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky. Click here to read about this victory for religious liberty.

Warning Sounded about Bible Course

The Hernando County School Board received a warning about a potential new high school course on the Bible from the People for the American Way, a Washington-based foundation that has been involved in several legal battles over Bible classes in public schools. Click here to read about this attack against religious freedom in school.

School Board Ruling Praised in Alabama

On October 20, 2000, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor called a federal appeals court ruling allowing student-led prayers at public schools a "victory for the First Amendment." Click here for the details on important ruling.

Prayer Prohibition Bypassed

In June, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that student-led, student-initiated prayer using school sound systems violates the separation of church and state. Fort Gibson, Texas however has joined a growing list of schools working to bypass the ruling legally. Click here to learn more about this growing effort to preserve religious freedom in Texas.

Minute of Silence Upheld in Virginia

Virginia can continue to require public school students to observe a daily minute of silence in classrooms according to a ruling by a federal judge in Alexandria on October 30, 2000. For details about this courtroom victory, click here.

Back to the American Voice Institute of Public Policy Home Page