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

Teaching freedom of religion in grades 7-12

Being truly educated means understanding one of the most powerful forces in the world: religion. Being a truly educated American means understanding the importance of protecting that force: freedom of religion.

University policies vs. student religious practice: Washington state finds a solution

The Washington model illustrates that by recognizing potential conflicts and enacting appropriate accommodations, schools can do their work without unnecessarily infringing the religious exercise of students. It is a model other states, including Utah, should follow.

Illinois court decision underlines vital religious role of helping families in pandemic

Caring for children and families in vulnerable situations is an undoubted public priority, and everyone willing to provide good-faith help is needed.

SCOTUS case to address harassment in the digital age

The case involves a regulation issued by the California Attorney General for charitable organizations. Those organizations have long been required to provide financial disclosures, but they had only been asked to file basic financial information.

What we’ve learned about religious freedom during the pandemic

As the pandemic restrictions were just settling in, Sutherland noted that the situation was an important “stress test” for how the government would treat fundamental rights, like religious exercise. Now that there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel – though still a ways away – what are the preliminary test results?

How ritual animal slaughter is related to religious freedom and protection of minorities

The value of constitutional protections is highest when they are necessary to protect those who would not be protected in the normal political process.

2021 needs two things to bounce back from 2020

During this first full week of 2021, many feel relieved that 2020 is behind us: We’ve concluded a tumultuous year of pandemic lockdowns, economic hardship and election controversy. Beyond that relief, however, it is critical that we ask ourselves how to make 2021 (and beyond) better.

Lessons for religious freedom in last-minute rulemaking

It is not uncommon for presidents to try to quickly get some things done before they leave office. This particular action, though, highlights some important realities.

Government leaders should not pit other interests against religious freedom

With the change in presidential administrations, speculation (and advice) about the relative priority to give to religious freedom concerns is rising.

Supreme Court says Muslims in do-not-fly case can sue government officials for damages

Responsibility for one’s actions will be required for government officials like it is for the rest of us – and that offers relief for both the Muslim plaintiffs and the rest of us.

Events

Connect

Get in Touch

SI@sifreedom.org

Phone: 801-355-1272

Fax: 801-355-1705

Get the Newsletter