Entries by William C. Duncan

Testimony in favor of Senate Bill 196 (Health Education Amendments)

Statement as prepared by William C. Duncan, senior fellow at Sutherland Institute, who testified in favor of SB 196 – Health Education Amendments, on Feb. 21, 2017, before the Senate Education Committee of the Utah Legislature: The core policy of Utah as it relates to sex education today recognizes that marriage is the only appropriate […]

Achieving balance in hate crimes law

This brief analysis suggests that it is possible to enact a hate crimes statute that would avoid creating the most troubling criticisms of such laws — that they might abridge freedoms of speech or expression. Three elements, if included in a statute, make a fairer outcome more likely. First, the statute requires an underlying, serious […]

Chaffetz is right – D.C. should not promote suicide

In November, the District of Columbia Council overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow doctors to help patients commit suicide if doctors believed the person had six months or less to live. Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz announced last week that he will seek to have Congress overturn the law. Congress, of course, has this responsibility […]

Vision for Religious Freedom

True equality requires the protection of religious liberty. Religious freedom ensures equal treatment for all of God’s children. To understand the former, one need only contemplate the contradiction in values, morals and logic contained in this scenario: A demand for equality leads to legal protection of an individual’s right to their core belief and expression […]

December’s milestones of religious freedom: from Becket’s martyrdom to Bill of Rights

The action of T.S. Eliot’s play Murder in the Cathedral takes place right after Christmas in 1170, culminating in the martyrdom of Thomas Becket on Dec. 29. Though only touched on incidentally in the play, which is far richer than a political tract, the story of Thomas is an archetypal struggle between secular and religious […]

Intolerance of judge’s religious belief puts her career in danger

Probably thanks to both increased attention and heightened conflict, every few weeks or so, we see a new story featuring a conflict over religious belief and a new intolerance of those beliefs when they are contrary to current philosophies of family and sexuality. The most recent example is the criticism of hosts of a television […]

Op-ed: A new dialogue of fairness and hope on religious freedom

Originally published in the Deseret News. This election season was full of highs and lows. On religious freedom, perhaps the lowest point came when the presidentially appointed chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights embraced extreme, ideological rhetoric by labeling religious liberty and religious freedom as “code words” for “discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, […]

Schools as culture-war battlefields

There always seems to be a temptation to introduce political battles into public schools. Like the military (also often a site for social experimentation), they are created and managed by the government, so policymakers can use them – or rather the children who attend them – to try out new ideas and to advance contested […]

Civil rights report’s ‘finding’ on religious groups is wrong and dangerous

Seventeen religious leaders, representing faiths with millions of adherents, recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Orrin Hatch asking them to repudiate a recent report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. These officials are responsible for the makeup of the commission. The report, Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Non-Discrimination […]

LGBT advocates sue Utah schools

Local and national organizations have announced that they will pursue a federal lawsuit to change the curriculum of Utah schools on marriage and sexuality. A federal lawsuit – which prematurely ends the conversation – is not the way to address this issue. Most importantly, it prevents the participation of Utah parents, who have the primary […]