Legally preferential treatment of a religious organization is the legal conferral of a status that is more favorable than that accorded to other religious organizations. This essay introduces and analyzes the contrasting concept of deferential treatment. “Deferential treatment” refers to forms of favorable treatment that are cultural rather than legal. While the problems posed by legally preferential treatment of religion are well known, the problems posed by deferential treatment have received little attention. One problem is that when a religious organization receives deferential treatment, its authorities are not compelled to exercise their power in ways that track the interests of those over whom they exercise it. This leaves those subject to their power liable to abuse. Another is that deferential treatment encourages “benchmark traditionalism.” Benchmark traditionalism is problematic because it is politically unreasonable. These problems with deferential treatment give all citizens, including religiously committed citizens, reason to favor a culture of non-deference.