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

Q&A: AEI study shows how schools’ focus influences family life

Adults who attended Protestant schools are twice as likely to be in stable marriages, compared with adults who attended public schools, and 50% less likely to have a child outside of marriage. Why?

Protecting religious freedom at the federal level

Congress needs to act to ensure that discrimination laws apply as intended, to protect people in need without threatening the work of religious groups and people of faith.

Religious social services are critical to America’s inmates

If we fail to offer legal protection to the efforts of churches and faith-motivated individuals to offer material and spiritual assistance to those willing to accept it, we are really harming the most vulnerable people in society – like the children of Deborah Daniels.

Utah offers way to prevent religious freedom conflicts

If a one-sided approach leads to stalemate, a different approach is necessary. This insight spurred Utah’s Legislature to try something new in 2015.

Religious freedom scholars say Little Sisters case creates new front in divisive culture war

Unless Congress enacts legislation to settle the dispute permanently, the net effect of the Little Sisters of the Poor case will be to keep the administrative agencies in the middle of the culture war.

Who should resolve religious freedom conflicts and how?

Advocates of religious freedom need to continue litigation activity but must begin to pay more attention to legislation.

Religious freedom conflicts can ensnare schools, healthcare workers

While conflict between religious freedom and LGBTQ+ discrimination (or other forms of discrimination) often gets attention, there are two other prominent contexts for conflict to arise: healthcare and education.

SCOTUS 2019-20 term marked by modest victories for religious freedom – read our Q&A with Jewish leader Howard Slugh

The theme of the term was incremental change. The Roberts court has adopted a slow step-by-step approach to building legal doctrine.

What are the current conflicts between religious freedom and government actions?

Without resolution of some kind, we can expect continued litigation and a patchwork of state solutions that will be supportive of, or hostile to, religious interests.

What is the current law of religious freedom?

This is part 2 in a series on an approach to advancing religious freedom by reducing opportunities for conflict. Part 1 described the sources of law that create the legal climate for religious practice. This article will outline the current law of religious freedom in the United States.

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Phone: 801-355-1272

Fax: 801-355-1705

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