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

Legal dispute in Texas spotlights the critical role religion plays in responding to homelessness

This unique motivation and inclusion of individual transformation in their work differentiates religious charities from the important work done by government agencies and secular charities. Ensuring room for that type of work is one of the reasons religious freedom protections are so important.

Supreme Court says California can’t limit worship in homes

California’s attempts to regulate worship during the pandemic have consistently been turned back by the U.S. Supreme Court for failing to ensure equal treatment of religious and other activities.

New lawsuit aimed at BYU and other religious universities argues religious accommodations are unconstitutional

A new lawsuit aims at ending a nearly 50-year-old accommodation for religious colleges and universities, including BYU, but it appears to be more about making a statement than stating a valid legal claim.

People of faith shouldn’t dismiss others’ fears of discrimination

It is probably the case that not everyone will be happy with arrangements that could result in harms to someone’s personal interests or religious faith. But historically, Americans have made accommodations that have proved workable.

‘Zero-sum’ view of religious freedom is a bad take

What is required is to reject the impulse to find unhappiness in the progress of a rival. If we can recognize that an abundance of rights for others means an abundance of rights for ourselves, we will be on the path to genuine equality.

Massachusetts case highlights religion’s historical role in higher education

College students and college graduates in America today have religion to thank in no small part for the higher education that is setting them up (or has already set them up) for financial and life success and happiness.

Foster care bill may start conversation about protection of vulnerable children

Although the upcoming Supreme Court decision on religious agencies and foster care will be important, it is heartening to see members of Congress weighing in to highlight the need for “all hands on deck” in helping children in foster care, including religious agencies.

Responsible centrist senators must save Equality Act from itself

Supporters of the Equality Act and religious freedom would likewise find their minds expanded and their lives enriched by listening to people who straddle both faith and LGBTQ+ identity.

Supreme Court’s confirmation of right to share beliefs on campus is a victory for all

Without this ruling, there is a chance that a university could hamper a student’s rights in the hope that they will just accept the limitation without protest, only to quickly give in and avoid liability by changing its policy in case of a lawsuit.

Utah enacts forward-thinking religious protections in 2021 session

This session, the Utah Legislature enacted two pieces of legislation with important implications for religious freedom.

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Phone: 801-355-1272

Fax: 801-355-1705

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