Jews for a Secular Democracy mobilizes Jewish voices for religious freedom. Through education and advocacy, and informed by pluralistic Jewish values and traditions, we defend the separation of religion and government.
Jews for a Secular Democracy views white Christian Nationalism as an imminent threat to our democracy, as well as a form of systemic oppression that impacts all Americans on a broad range of issues. We advocate for a pluralistic approach that counteracts the false narrative about a singular American “Judeo-Christian” value, and we seek to rebuild a government free from religious coercion.
Why a Jewish Initiative?
While there are excellent secular organizations fighting for the separation of church and state, and great Jewish organizations fighting for social justice, Jews for a Secular Democracy is uniquely focused on issues of religion-state separation from a Jewish perspective.
Jews for a Secular Democracy draws on Jewish history and teaching to advocate for a civil society that provides equality for people of ALL backgrounds and beliefs, protected by a government neutral toward religion in its fair enforcement of policy and law.
How do we work for change?
Our goal is to educate, advocate, and mobilize the Jewish community into action on issues of religion-state separation, and help bring the United States back to a place of understanding that protection from discrimination for minority beliefs and minority populations means protection for us all.
Many of today’s most important issues relate to the separation of church and state. And while Jews should and do get involved with organizations working on those specific issues—such as LGBTQ equality, women’s equality, reproductive rights, immigrants’ and refugees’ rights, climate change, public-school funding, and so much more—we believe that an understanding of the common challenge threaded throughout all these issues will also provide shared tactics to counter the current attacks on our rights. And that common challenge is the breach in the wall of separation between church and state.
The Jewish experience in America is one of gaining more rights, thanks to the separation of religion and government. Yet we had to fight for those rights:
- Jews have been both immigrants and refugees, and were at times turned away from these shores because of religious discrimination, including at times of greatest need;
- Around the world, Jews have been victims of prejudice and worse at the hands of extremist ideologies without a secular constitution, unprotected by the rule of secular law;
- Even within the United States, laws protecting Jews from discrimination in realms like jobs and housing only happened within living generations.