Policy

Religious Freedom

Respecting human dignity requires that we respect the core elements of how people and groups identify themselves, including their religious beliefs. Religious belief has been a powerful motivation for protecting the rights and liberties of others; it kindled movements to abolish slavery and protect Americans’ civil rights. For millions of Americans, religion is the source of the values required in a free society, such as understanding, respect and sacrifice for others. Additionally, religious institutions provide irreplaceable care for the most vulnerable people in society.

For all of these reasons, the right to exercise religion is a fundamental human right. The law should respect the independence of religious institutions, defend the right of conscience, and protect the right of individuals to act on their religious beliefs, while establishing reasonable protections for public health and safety in a spirit of fairness for all.

Policy

Religious Freedom

Respecting human dignity requires that we respect the core elements of how people and groups identify themselves, including their religious beliefs. Religious belief has been a powerful motivation for protecting the rights and liberties of others; it kindled movements to abolish slavery and protect Americans’ civil rights. For millions of Americans, religion is the source of the values required in a free society, such as understanding, respect and sacrifice for others. Additionally, religious institutions provide irreplaceable care for the most vulnerable people in society.

For all of these reasons, the right to exercise religion is a fundamental human right. The law should respect the independence of religious institutions, defend the right of conscience, and protect the right of individuals to act on their religious beliefs, while establishing reasonable protections for public health and safety in a spirit of fairness for all.

Research & Insights

Texas abortion case: a civics lesson on the federal court system

As the U.S. has grown through its history and adapted to new circumstances, so, too, has the judicial branch. Its history suggests that it will continue to do so into the future.

Supreme Court decisions establish precedent for future cases

Even though the Supreme Court does not resolve a large proportion of the cases that are presented to it, the decisions it does issue reverberate to affect many other disputes through the principle of precedent. Its decisions on a handful of cases can, over time, expand and contract the rights of the entire nation.

Why the judiciary is so distinct: It was designed to react, not initiate action

The judiciary branch is designed as a responsive, not proactive, branch of government. The court can’t tell Congress not to pass an unconstitutional law or tell the president not to issue a legally invalid order. It must wait until after those actions take effect and someone challenges them.

Latest Supreme Court religious freedom case: Boston flagpole dispute

Last week, the court announced it would hear another case involving a claim of unequal treatment.

Athletic uniforms and religious freedom: Illinois takes a positive step

Recently, Illinois became the first state to enact legislation that would protect the ability of people of faith to participate in school athletics (both in high school and college) without having to abandon their commitment to live consistent with standards of their faith.

Some historical context for Supreme Court abortion case

The specific question the court will consider is whether states are permitted by the U.S. Constitution to allow abortions prior to viability. In the background, however, is a much more significant question: whether the nearly 50-year-old decision by the court in Roe v. Wade should be abandoned.

A religious freedom preview of the upcoming SCOTUS term

These important cases, and possibly others that will arise in coming months, will provide opportunities for the court to continue to shape the response of states to claims by their citizens that their religious beliefs are being infringed.

Religion is key factor in connecting men to their families

When the law discourages religious expression, it discourages meaningful religious participation and weakens one of the main drivers of men’s healthy and beneficial engagement with their families.

Mississippi abortion case more likely than Texas law to impact Roe v. Wade

The real possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade is found in a case pending with the Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That case involves a Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Knowing courts’ constitutional role, limits can calm reactions

The court’s basic role is to apply existing legal rules – which could be provisions of the Constitution, laws passed by Congress, treaty obligations, etc. – in specific situations.

Events

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SI@sifreedom.org

Phone: 801-355-1272

Fax: 801-355-1705

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