The FFRF Action Fund is sounding the alarm on a massive, well-funded theocratic effort to influence a future U.S. presidential administration.
The right-wing collaboration, called “Project 2025,” recently published a 920-page “Mandate for Leadership” that instructs on how to implement an agenda of autocracy in the first 180 days of a presidency. PBS News Hour described it as a goal to restructure U.S. government and “replace it with Trump’s vision.”
“The president Day One will be a wrecking ball for the administrative state,” claims Russ Vought, a former Trump administration official who’s now president of the conservative Center for Renewing America.
“The unabashedly theocratic recommendations that are part of Project 2025 haven’t received the media attention they deserve,” warns FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Voters who value our secular U.S. Constitution and its foundational principle of guaranteeing a secular government, must take heed.”
The mandate, based on the theory that Article 2 of the Constitution gives the presidency complete control of the executive branch, recommends stripping power from, or entirely dismantling, virtually all federal agencies. In addition to putting the Justice Department under the political control of the White House, this would eliminate federal support for public education, jeopardize health care protections guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and much more. The general goal seems to be to eliminate any federal programs that “provide for general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” while consolidating as much power as possible into the Oval Office.
Project 2025 was convened by the Heritage Foundation and has a reported whopping $22 million budget and an “advisory board” that consists of dozens of notorious organizations. Some are well-known for advancing policies that favor wealthy corporations over the American people, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). But the advisory board also includes Christian nationalist groups committed to promoting Christian supremacy and dismantling civil rights for everyone else — groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, First Liberty Institute, Moms for Liberty and Turning Point USA.
The participation of these Christian nationalist groups explains Project 2025’s consistent pattern of favoring Christian religious privilege over the constitutional separation of state and church. For example, in addition to eliminating the Department of Education — effectively weakening public schools across the country — Project 2025 calls for mandatory religious exemptions from accreditation “standards and criteria” for private schools. In other words, religious private schools and universities that fail to meet accreditation standards would be entitled to claim accreditation anyway — simply because of their religious beliefs.
Project 2025 also urges the next administration to remove an Obama-era list of private schools that have applied for Title IX exemptions. This list informs prospective students if a school has “opted out of” sex discrimination protections for religious reasons, and Project 2025 wants to make sure those exemptions are kept a secret via executive order.
Project 2025 pushes for the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt a “biblically based” definition of “marriage and family,” and for the Department of Labor to force employers to incentivize employees to take the Christian Sabbath off of work.
The recently published mandate shows a plain sectarian preference, advocating for religious favoritism only for those who believe in a particular conservative form of Christianity. While repeatedly touting a supposed “Judeo-Christian tradition” and bemoaning alleged assaults on the religious liberty of Christians in the United States and abroad, the only mentions of Islam in the 920-page publication are references to Islamic terrorism and concerns over the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
The Heritage Foundation, according to the Guardian, has ties to fossil fuel billionaire Charles Koch. That’s why Project 2025 takes aim at climate-change mitigation. Crucial agency offices related to energy transition would be eliminated in the Department of Energy. The Environmental Protection Agency’s focus on climate change would be gutted and those favoring drilling and selling off public lands would be in charge, in keeping with climate-change denial by Christian nationalism.
The FFRF Action Fund urges voters and policymakers alike to pay close attention to the coordinated efforts of the extremist groups involved with Project 2025. For the sake of preserving true religious liberty, and resisting a slide into theocratic autocracy, we must not allow those behind this egregiously un-American wish list anywhere near the levers of power.
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations, and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.