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Know Your Rights

The ACLJ is dedicated to defending your constitutional rights. We have been providing assistance and legal representation, at no cost or charge, to people just like you for decades, winning monumental cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and in numerous state and federal courts. It is absolutely paramount to the defense of liberty that you KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Below you will find a number of blogs explaining answers to commonly asked questions about your constitutional rights. If your rights are being violated in any of these areas, please contact us at ACLJ.org/HELP.

Religious Liberty rights
Know Your Rights: Sharing Your Faith and Witnessing Are Protected From Government Intrusion by the U.S. Constitution

Know Your Rights: Sharing Your Faith and Witnessing Are Protected From Government Intrusion by the U...

Religious Liberty

Over the years, many Americans have wondered what they may or may not do when it comes to sharing their faith or witnessing in public. Though there is not a one-size-fits-all answer, the ACLJ has written a legal memo addressing many of the most common questions Christians often ask. Most importantly (and as discussed in our memo ): The First Amendment free speech clause reads, “Congress shall make no law. .. abridging the freedom of speech,” and . . .

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Know Your Rights: Senior Living Centers and Other Housing Facilities Cannot Discriminate Based on Religion

Know Your Rights: Senior Living Centers and Other Housing Facilities Cannot Discriminate Based on Re...

Religious Liberty

Picture this: You work most of your life, you attend church regularly, you raise your children to follow God, and then you start thinking about your golden years. This is it! Your years of hard work have paid off. You can now enjoy the fruit of all those years of sacrifice. Perhaps one day you decide to move into a senior living community. As you settle into your new community, you decide (for example) to host a weekly Bible study with other . . .

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Know Your Rights: Employees Have the Right to a Religious Accommodation To Attend Church

Know Your Rights: Employees Have the Right to a Religious Accommodation To Attend Church

Religious Liberty

Our country was founded on the idea that all citizens are free to exercise their religion in their daily lives, including while at work, without discrimination. The ACLJ has time and again fought to protect your rights in the workplace, specifically the right to keep the Sabbath and go to church. We regularly assist individuals through the process of requesting religious accommodations from their employer to attend church, synagogue, or any . . .

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Know Your Rights: Zoning Bureaucrats Cannot Discriminate Against Churches and Religious Organizations

Know Your Rights: Zoning Bureaucrats Cannot Discriminate Against Churches and Religious Organization...

Religious Liberty

We are seeing an increasing use of zoning rules to discriminate against churches and religious institutions, literally attempting to zone them out of existence. But this is a direct violation of federal law, and we have put together a legal memo to go over some of the key principles. For decades, local zoning laws have been used to discriminate against those who seek to establish a church or other types of religious institution. Under the guise . . .

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Know Your Rights: Employee Religious Liberty Rights in the Workplace

Know Your Rights: Employee Religious Liberty Rights in the Workplace

Religious Liberty

Contrary to what some may believe, individuals do not forfeit their religious freedom when they enter the workplace. Although the facts and circumstances of any particular situation are important to take into account, as a general rule, both federal and state laws protect most employees from religious discrimination in the workplace. ACLJ attorneys have often defended employees under the federal law, which is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of . . .

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Know Your Rights: The National Day of Prayer Honors Our Country's True Foundation

Know Your Rights: The National Day of Prayer Honors Our Country's True Foundation

Religious Liberty

It’s not often a Supreme Court Justice uses a personal anecdote to illustrate a point in a written opinion. Many years ago, in McCreary County v. ACLU (a 5-4 decision holding that a public Ten Commandments display violated the Establishment Clause), that’s exactly how Justice Antonin Scalia opened his dissent: On September 11, 2001, I was attending in Rome, Italy an international conference of judges and lawyers, principally from Europe and the . . .

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Know Your Rights: Bibles and Voluntary Bible Studies in the Workplace

Know Your Rights: Bibles and Voluntary Bible Studies in the Workplace

Religious Liberty

We often receive questions relating to an employee’s right to keep a Bible on his/her desk or to read or host a voluntary Bible study during one’s lunch break. Unfortunately – and contrary to First Amendment principles and federal law – some employers mistakenly instruct employees not to engage in such activity while at work. This erroneous instruction is many times driven by a complaint from a co-worker who is offended or bothered by the . . .

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Know Your Rights: School Prayer

Know Your Rights: School Prayer

Religious Liberty

Students are often harassed and even precluded from praying at school, but as we explain in our legal whitepaper, the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent are clear that prayer, just like other speech, is protected. The United States of America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our highest Court has discussed the historical role of religion in our society and concluded that “[t]here is an unbroken history of official acknowledgment . . .

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Know Your Rights: Homeowners Associations and Housing Complexes Cannot Discriminate Based on Religion

Know Your Rights: Homeowners Associations and Housing Complexes Cannot Discriminate Based on Religio...

Religious Liberty

For those of you who are (or have ever been) part of a homeowners association (HOA), you have likely dealt with your HOA in some form or another. Whether it was because, according to your HOA, your grass was too long, your vinyl siding needed to be power washed, or worse yet, your garden beds were not properly mulched, receiving such a notice can stir you up in surprising ways. How can an HOA hold so much power? The good news is that an HOA’s . . .

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Know Your Rights: The Right To Pray in Public

Know Your Rights: The Right To Pray in Public

Religious Liberty

From the nation’s founding to the present day, Presidents and governors have called for voluntary prayer or reflection in response to natural disasters, tragedies, and other significant events. Those who signed the Declaration of Independence believed that God hears and answers prayer, as they “appeal[ed] to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of [their] intentions.” Declaration of Independence (U.S. 1776). Contrary to what some may . . .

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Know Your Rights: Christmas in the Workplace

Know Your Rights: Christmas in the Workplace

By Edward White
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16 months agoReligious Liberty
Religious Liberty

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is aware that celebrations of Christmas and other holidays by businesses may be hindered by questions of what is permitted or prohibited. This post summarizes the accompanying White Paper, which discusses in general fashion holiday activities in the workplace. Overview of Applicable Law The law governing private businesses as it concerns religious expression is different in key respects from the law . . .

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Know Your Rights: Holiday Observance in Public Schools

Know Your Rights: Holiday Observance in Public Schools

By Edward White
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16 months agoReligious Liberty
Religious Liberty

While students, teachers, administrators, and staff are celebrating the Christmas season in a variety of creative and entertaining ways in public schools across the country, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is aware that some of these celebrations may be hindered by questions of what is permitted or prohibited. It is our concern that public schools may feel pressured to censor religious expression during the Christmas season. The . . .

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Know Your Rights: The Constitution and the Celebration of Christmas – Dispelling the Myths

Know Your Rights: The Constitution and the Celebration of Christmas – Dispelling the Myths

By Edward White
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16 months agoReligious Liberty
Religious Liberty

For millions of people in this country, Christmas is the celebration of the single-most important moment in the history of the world: the birth of Jesus Christ. For many of those who do not believe or otherwise acknowledge the profound religious nature of Christmas, it is still a time of joy and gift-giving. The holiday is celebrated in churches, family gatherings, parties, and in the public square. It is a precious time that brings communities . . .

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Persecuted Church rights
Know Your Rights: Protecting International Religious Freedom

Know Your Rights: Protecting International Religious Freedom

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15 months agoPersecuted Church
Persecuted Church

Most people are very familiar with the domestic religious freedom work of the ACLJ. However, many may not be as familiar with our global work with international bodies in defense of persecuted Christians and human rights. Internationally, religious freedom is a protected right, though it is not always implemented and enforced, and that’s where we come in. As we explain in our memo, “International Human Rights & Religious Liberty ,” the U.N. and . . .

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Pro Life rights
Know Your Rights: Protecting Pro-Life Pregnancy Resource Centers

Know Your Rights: Protecting Pro-Life Pregnancy Resource Centers

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10 months agoPro Life
Pro Life

Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) are life-affirming and often faith-based organizations that exist to provide critical aid to women who are facing difficult or unplanned pregnancies to help them give their children the gift of life. They offer, free of charge, a variety of educational, medical, and material resources and assistance to millions of women and their babies annually. These centers are on the front line of the fight for life, and the . . .

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Know Your Rights: Pro-Life Sidewalk Counseling and Abortion Protests Are Free Speech

Know Your Rights: Pro-Life Sidewalk Counseling and Abortion Protests Are Free Speech

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15 months agoPro Life
Pro Life

Ever since abortion became a major controversy in this nation in the 1960s and 1970s, pro-life Americans have stood up against the slaughter of the innocents, and the exploitation of their mothers, entailed in abortion. These efforts have taken many forms – especially education, assistance to expectant mothers, political and legal campaigns, sit-ins, picketing, and sidewalk counseling. Unsurprisingly, supporters of abortion have sought to shut . . .

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Know Your Rights: Can Healthcare Workers Be Forced To Participate in Abortions? The Law Protects Conscience Rights

Know Your Rights: Can Healthcare Workers Be Forced To Participate in Abortions? The Law Protects Con...

By Francis J. Manion
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17 months agoPro Life
Pro Life

The right of healthcare workers—including pharmacists, nurses, and doctors—to practice their profession according to their religious and moral consciences continues to be threatened. And that threat doesn’t just come from within the workplace (hospitals, pharmacies, etc.), but from the government itself. Indeed, the Biden Administration has promised—and is actively taking steps to fulfill that promise—to reverse the protection of conscience . . .

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Free Speech rights
Know Your Rights: First Amendment Free Speech Protections Apply to Government Employees

Know Your Rights: First Amendment Free Speech Protections Apply to Government Employees

Free Speech

The last several years, most of us have heard the expression, “the speech police.” This expression is often tied to various social media platforms and those who seek to shut down the speech of those with whom they disagree. Familiar tactics of the “speech police” often include attacking folks who present counter viewpoints. The “speech police” often target those who support specific policies, including, for example, protecting the rights of the . . .

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Know Your Rights: Churches Have a Constitutional Right To Speak Out on Moral Issues

Know Your Rights: Churches Have a Constitutional Right To Speak Out on Moral Issues

Free Speech

It is a recurrent concern of churches to reach out to the ACLJ because they fear being silenced by local and state authorities and the IRS when taking a stand on the moral and cultural issues affecting society and their communities. To be clear, first, the United States Constitution protects a church’s right to speak out on moral issues. Second, even though the Internal Revenue Code precludes churches from assessing the qualifications of . . .

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Know Your Rights: The Government Can't Censor Christian Speech

Know Your Rights: The Government Can't Censor Christian Speech

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14 months agoFree Speech
Free Speech

Religious free speech has often been restricted or suffered attempts made to restrict it, particularly with the pretense or misunderstanding that a government may not permit use of its publicly available billboards or other public areas because to do so would be to establish a state religion. We have prepared a legal memo explaining this complex area of law. The constitutional prohibition on establishing an official religion is in the First . . .

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School Choice rights
Know Your Rights: Parents Have Rights Regarding the Education of Their Children

Know Your Rights: Parents Have Rights Regarding the Education of Their Children

School Choice

Remember in the not-so-distant past when kids went to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic? As parents across the country shockingly discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, these foundational skills are no longer a priority in many public schools. Instead, some teachers have been using classroom time to indoctrinate, not teach, our precious youth. As a result of these troubling public school trends, parents are now much more engaged . . .

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Know Your Rights: Teacher/Administrator Rights & Responsibilities

Know Your Rights: Teacher/Administrator Rights & Responsibilities

School Choice

There is understandably widespread confusion regarding the rights and responsibilities of public school teachers and administrators under the First Amendment. The First Amendment consists of three complimentary clauses: the Establishment Clause, the Free Exercise Clause, and the Free Speech Clause. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech. .. .” . . .

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Know Your Rights: Students Maintain Their Constitutional Rights to Freedom of Religion and Free Speech While at School

Know Your Rights: Students Maintain Their Constitutional Rights to Freedom of Religion and Free Spee...

School Choice

It’s common for concerned parents to reach out to the ACLJ because their child’s constitutional rights were silenced at school. Whether it’s a teacher simply not understanding the law or the administration having a lapse of judgment, we are typically able to resolve these situations quickly for your child. The ACLJ has ensured that public school students maintain their rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech ever since 1990 when our . . .

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Battling Antisemitism rights
Know Your Rights: We Must Not Ignore the Alarming Rise of Antisemitism

Know Your Rights: We Must Not Ignore the Alarming Rise of Antisemitism

Battling Antisemitism

Those who remember the horrors of World War II likely think that those types of large-scale atrocities committed primarily against Jews could never happen again. Unfortunately, over the last several years, there has been a rise in antisemitic attacks both here in the United States and abroad. This is not to suggest that this rise is similar in scale to what happened in World War II. Nevertheless, it is essential for us to recognize this growing . . .

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Israel rights
Know Israel’s Rights: The Importance of Defending Israel and Debunking Dangerous Myths of the Palestinian Conflict

Know Israel’s Rights: The Importance of Defending Israel and Debunking Dangerous Myths of the Palest...

By Mark Goldfeder
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6 months agoIsrael
Israel

Ever since Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, the Jewish state has faced continuous existential threats from a slew of different opponents. After decades of fighting on the battlefield, however, Israel’s enemies have realized that they simply cannot overpower the tiny country with its outsized military prowess; so over the last several years, they have increasingly shifted their focus elsewhere – abusive lawfare and the use of . . .

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