Resolute Square

Project 2025: What Is Religious Liberty?

For Christian Nationalists, it means "I can discriminate against you, but you can't discriminate against me," writes Project 2025 expert Andra Watkins.
Published:June 12, 2024

*Andra Watkins is an award winning author, survivor of Christian Nationalism and an expert on Project 2025. Read and support her important work here: How Project 2025 Will Ruin Your Life

By Andra Watkins

Project 2025 calls for government-sanctioned discrimination for all religious employers. Here’s how.


Provide robust protections for religious employers. America’s religious diversity means that workplaces include people of many faiths and that many employers are faith-based. Nevertheless, the Biden Administration has been hostile to people of faith, especially those with traditional beliefs about marriage, gender, and sexuality. The new Administration should enact policies with robust respect for religious exercise in the workplace, including under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA),8 Title VII, and federal conscience protection laws.

Project 2025, pages 585 - 586

Being hostile to people of faith means forcing religious employers to follow federal hiring and firing guidelines under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They must therefore consider applicants who are divorced. Or who may have a same-sex marital partner. Or who may be a single homosexual. Or who may be transgender. Or who may identify as non-binary. Many religious employers would classify heterosexual couples who live together but aren’t married in this group.

To many Americans outside the Christian Nationalist community, these issues have nothing to do with religion or faith. LGBTQIA+ people are who they are. Who they are isn’t a faith matter.

Likewise, people sometimes choose to live together but not marry. Maybe they don’t believe in the institution of marriage or don’t want to be formally married. How couples choose to live together is a matter of preference, not faith.

Setting federal guidelines that require employers to be inclusive doesn’t violate the Constitution, because these issues are not matters of faith.

However, for Christian Nationalists, EVERYTHING is a matter of faith. They cannot view the world through any lens other than that of faith. When someone tells them they must accept someone or something that violates their faith, they feel persecuted, because it is drilled into them to rebuke things their faith deems “sinful” or “wrong.”

In 2020, the Supreme Court weakened how Title VII applies to religious groups and made it more difficult for religious employers to be sued for discrimination. This is yet another example of Project 2025: Happening NOW.

Project 2025 also aims to force non-religious employers to tolerate whatever religious employees do and say at work. Even when it harasses or humiliates co-workers and harms morale.

Provide Robust Accommodations for Religious Employees. Title VII requires reasonable accommodations for an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs, observances, or practices unless it poses an undue hardship on the employer’s business. These accommodation protections also apply to issues related to marriage, gender, and sexuality. Unless the Supreme Court overrules its bad precedent, Congress should clarify that undue hardship means “significant difficulty or expenses,” not “more than a de minimis cost” as the Court has previously held.

Project 2025, page 586

So for example, when an airline employee continuously talks about faith to her co-workers, constantly rebukes a homosexual co-worker and calls out their “sin,” repeatedly witnesses to co-workers even after they’ve asked her to stop, and similar, Christian Nationalists believe employers should force “religious liberty training” on their workforce rather than fire a disruptive employee. This viewpoint is baked into Project 2025.

Let’s return to yesterday’s newsletter. Here’s what James Madison said about religion, specifically Christianity, in government:

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergyignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy.

Source: Foundation for Economic Education

Now let’s compare and contrast Madison’s views on separation of church and state to secret recordings of Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts.
Alito’s recorded exchange per Reuters:

In the recording, she (Windsor) said: "I think that the solution really is like winning the moral argument. Like, people in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that, to return our country to a place of godliness."

A voice that sounded like Alito's responded: "Well, I agree with you. I agree with you."

When asked about the current divide in American politics, the voice that sounded like Alito responded: "One side or the other is going to win. I don’t know. I mean, there can be a way of working — a way of living together peacefully, but it’s difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental things that really can’t be compromised. They really can’t be compromised. So it’s not like you are going to split the difference.”

Roberts’ recorded exchange when Windsor posed a similar question, per The Hill:

Would you want me to be in charge of putting the nation on a more moral path?” Roberts asked Windsor after being pressed for his thoughts. “That’s for people we elect. That’s not for lawyers.”

He added that it’s “not our job” to consider faith in the court’s decisions, or any guiding framing for the country’s ideology, pointing to the perspective of his “Jewish and Muslim friends.”

“It’s our job to decide the cases the best we can,” he said.

Roberts was more circumspect in his response. While we (and James Madison) may not always agree with Roberts’ opinions, his reply befits a Supreme Court justice (or any judge, for that matter.) Alito’s does not.

Before I close, I reference Dahlia Lithwick’s excellent interview with Rachel Laser and Katherine Stewart in Slate on Monday. Here’s how they ended their discussion:

Laser: The antidote to Christian nationalism is the separation of church and state, because it refuses to let Christian privilege into the law, it refuses to let conservative Christianity be the guiding principle in America. It insists that America keep to its promises that are embedded in our Constitution, of religious freedom as a basic human right. And that’s why Christian nationalists have gone after the separation of church and state, and that’s why their allies at the Supreme Court are on a crusade to eradicate church–state separation—because they are in lockstep with a movement that must get rid of church–state separation in order to accomplish its goals.

Source: Slate

When Project 2025’s Christo-fascist authors talk about “religious liberty,” they mean THEIR right to force their religion on everyone in society. Something as simple as saying, “I don’t want to hear it” offends their sense of religious liberty. We aren’t going to change this about them, but we don’t have to accept it as part of our government. To quote Alito, “One side or the other is going to win.” We cannot let him and his fellow Christo-fascist Republicans win in November. We must beat them at every level of government for as long as it takes.