Religious Liberty

What We Defend

Religious liberty is the right to follow the faith of your choice — or to follow no faith at all. 

Religious liberty is a cornerstone of our nation and is the very first freedom guaranteed to Americans by the Bill of Rights. Yet, on many college and university campuses, the right to associate on the basis of religious belief and even the right to express religious beliefs is under attack. Under the guise of “nondiscrimination” policies, religious groups are often told that they may not choose the membership or leadership of their groups using religious criteria. Other students who merely express religious beliefs in public are condemned and even punished for “hate speech” or “intolerance.” 

FIRE’s cases dealing with religious liberty display our commitment to defending America’s religious pluralism by protecting students’ right to express their views and to associate around shared beliefs.

Religious liberty in the United States: An inalienable right

Arab woman wearing hijab standing by university entrance

FIRE’s Guide to Religious Liberty

For a more thorough analysis, consult FIRE’s Guide to Religious Liberty on Campus to learn more about how legal and moral arguments for religious liberty apply differently on public and private campuses. 

Read Religious Liberty Guide

The student government’s nonprofit status does not prevent it from funding political or religious groups.

Discriminatory Funding Policies

Student Story

The University of Rhode Island student senate maintained policies that allowed senators to deny funding to organizations they perceived as having a religious mission.

Learn About This Case

Defending Your Rights

FIRE defends the rights of students and faculty through several core services.