Related to Our First Freedom
1. What is religious freedom?
Religious freedom means that every person is free to make a decision about religion—to affirm, embrace, and practice religion privately and publicly or to reject it as a matter of conscience and conviction. Within the framework of the United States Government, religious freedom is synonymous with constitutional guarantees that the government will never establish an official religion amid other religions, or establish religion over nonreligion, and that every person is free to express his or her religion publicly, so long as that expression does not compromise another person’s freedom.
2. Why do people call religious freedom America’s “first freedom?”
Religious freedom is called our first freedom because it was the first freedom guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the freedom that formed the foundation on which other freedoms were constructed.
3. What does church-state separation have to do with religious freedom?
The wall of separation between church and state is the institutional application of the religious freedom guaranteed to every citizen of our nation. Though the specific words, “a wall of separation between church and state,” do not appear in the Constitution, this famous metaphor, popularized by Jefferson, captures the meaning and application of religious freedom as guaranteed in the Consti-