Freedom of and from Religion
Freedom of Religion
We will work to ensure that each and every West Virginian is free to exercise and practice their own religion without interference.
West Virginia B.O.E. v. Barnette - In the 1943 case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, two children who were Jehovah's Witnesses were expelled for refusing to salute the flag or recite the pledge. The court held that the school could not compell anyone to do so, a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
House of Hagar - When Kate Marshall was under fire from the City of Wheeling for opening her home to provide food and shelter for those in need pursuant to the Catholic Worker teachings she followed, we stepped in to defend her right to operate based on her religious beliefs. Because of our efforts, Kate was given the necessary permit to continue her work and House of Hagar remains open, helping the underserved to this day.
Muslim Ban - When President Trump signed his executive order banning citizens from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, the ACLU-WV was on the front lines of the resistance to fight this baseless and irrational act. We saw firsthand the toll this had on our Muslim neighbors, and we will continue to oppose any effort to discriminate against any religious community.
Freedom from Religion
The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion.
Bible in Schools - We strongly believe in freedom of religion but we also equally believe in freedom from religion. Our public schools need to create an environment where children feel comfortable and part of the community regardless of their religious beliefs. Using our public schools for religious education violates students’ and their families’ First Amendment rights.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) - Religious freedom does not permit groups the authority to exclude or deny public services based on sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity, race, sex or any other status. We are committed to fighting back against any attempts to use religion as a weapon to discriminate against minority groups.
Christian Heritage Week -- The ACLU-WV contacted the governor's office, advocating or the end of "Christian Heritage Week." Separation of church and state is established in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and courts have been clear that no religion should have the appearance of having special privilege, favor or endorsement from the government - nor should there be unnecessary entanglement between government and religion. We will continue to oppose such practices throughout the state.