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

The conflicts and controversies behind the Equality Act

The basic aim of the Equality Act would be to add two new categories – sexual orientation and gender identity – to the protections of these earlier laws. Isn’t this already the law, though? The answer is … sort of.

Sutherland Institute supports SB 244 – Student Religious Accommodations Amendments

We believe this is an ideal approach to implementing these important measures as it would do so without unnecessarily dictating specifics to the Board of Higher Education or the state’s institutions of higher education.

Conscientious objector cases show how religious freedom is connected to other rights

Whether protecting deeply held moral beliefs about animal rights, healthcare, abortion or military service, the right to conscientious objection is an important example of how the efforts of people of faith and religious organizations to secure their ability to exercise their beliefs has increased the circumference of freedom for many others – including (perhaps especially) the nonreligious.

‘Public schools are not religion-free zones’

Being truly educated means students understand one of the most powerful forces in the world: religion. This is part 13 in Sutherland’s new series that seeks to examine how Utah education standards prepare students to be active citizens.

Sutherland Institute encourages Utah legislators to pass SB 195 – Emergency Response Amendments

The following statement was delivered to all members of the Utah Senate on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. 2SB 195 was passed unanimously in the Senate after being amended during floor debate on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Supreme Court says religious freedom is essential even on death row

While some view religious freedom as divisive, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the execution of an Alabama death row inmate illustrates how religious freedom can and does bring together in unity individuals from across political and ideological spectrums.

Presidents of both parties unite in recognizing the good that religious groups do

It is no coincidence that this public enterprise focused on the institution of religion has been a source of bipartisan unity despite broad social divisions elsewhere.

Supreme Court order on CA pandemic worship restrictions should nudge lawmakers in right direction

These justices noted the state’s interest in reducing the risk of infection was “compelling” but faulted it for failing to “explain why it cannot address its legitimate concerns with rules short of a total ban” and “to explain why narrower options it finds sufficient in secular contexts do not satisfy its legitimate interests.”

Research shows religion improves gender equality

One typical criticism of traditional religion is how it treats or views women, especially in family relationships. Evidence, however, points to the opposite conclusion: Religious participation most often means greater gender equality in the home.

Lessons from the pandemic can light our nation’s path ahead

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the darker periods of time in the lives of many people and for our nation as a whole. But vaccines are bringing with them the hope that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That means we have the opportunity to look back and learn from this difficult experience.

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