The Charter

When it is released in late 2017, the American Charter of Freedom of Religion and Conscience will affirm our nation’s robust commitment to freedom of religion and conscience, a commitment that:

  • Is grounded in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
  • Is grounded in Article 18 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
  • Recognizes freedom of religion and conscience as a universal and inviolable right to be protected for people of all faiths and ultimate beliefs, including atheists, agnostics, and “Nones.”.
  • Includes the right to seek, hold, share, or change one’s beliefs about religious and ultimate truths, and to manifest these beliefs in private and public, alone or in community with others, subject solely to the dictates of conscience and the just demands of the common good.

The American Charter is being drafted in collaboration with scholars, experts, and key representatives of diverse religious and nonreligious constituencies from across the political and ideological spectrum.