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

Be thankful for religious freedom (and the not-so-uniform Pilgrims)

Thanksgiving is an appropriate occasion to talk about religious freedom. The Pilgrims’ baby steps toward religious toleration have had surprising but welcome ramifications through the last four centuries.

Alito: Widespread support for religious freedom is shrinking

Is religious freedom “fast becoming a disfavored right”? That is the worry expressed by Justice Samuel Alito in a recent speech to a virtual convention of the Federalist Society.

How the ‘nones’ vote might impact religious freedom

A priority for advocates of religious freedom should be to help those with no particular religious belief understand how their rights and liberties are strengthened when religious belief and exercise are protected.

‘Three Ring Government’ and religious freedom

Putting aside pedantic quibbles with the lyrics, the key insight is the importance of checks and balances. That important feature of government could become a key to protecting religious freedom after the 2020 election.

SCOTUS may settle important religious freedom questions in foster care case

The ruling may offer the justices the chance to settle some of these important questions about the prerogatives of state and local government when dealing with religious organizations, the potential coexistence of the principles of nondiscrimination and religious freedom, and the legal effect of the First Amendment’s free exercise clause. Only time will tell whether the court avails itself of the opportunity.

People of faith give stalwart support to foster care system

Equality and nondiscrimination in America are ideas that should be inclusive enough to accommodate, rather than exclude, religious Americans and their institutions.

Religious Liberty, Civics and the Public Classroom

“As students properly understand the relationship between the First Amendment’s religion clauses and the public school, they will understand the proper relationship for religion in the American public square as they become adults.”

Q&A: Multiple opportunities for religious freedom protection at Supreme Court

“The Supreme Court needs to answer these fundamental questions soon. If it does, it should make clear that governments can’t single out churches for disfavored treatment – even during a pandemic.”

Religious belief accelerated efforts for women’s suffrage

A common (and incorrect) stereotype is that religion treats women as subservient to men. Both contemporary and historical evidence show otherwise, however.

Q&A with legal scholar: Upcoming SCOTUS cases

With another U.S. Supreme Court term beginning, there are more opportunities for guidance and protection of religious freedom. To understand these opportunities, we asked Howard Slugh some questions about religious freedom cases in the upcoming court term.

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Phone: 801-355-1272

Fax: 801-355-1705

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