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

A tangle of legislation, executive action, and litigation over abortion

Encouraging legislative lawmaking over judicial lawmaking, as President Dallin H. Oaks did in a recent speech, is a sound prescription. Unfortunately, at present the courts play an outsize role in defining legal guarantees of religious freedom.

Supreme Court update on 4 religious freedom cases

Sutherland’s Bill Duncan updates the four religious freedom cases that he previewed at the beginning of the current Supreme Court term. They are a good illustration of the important role of the court: In deciding which cases to take and which it avoids, it modifies the law in practice if not in fact.

The long shadow of Marbury v. Madison reaches to today’s Texas law dispute

Although it is impossible to tell how the judges will rule based on their questions, a number of the questions seem to indicate a concern that the current law is having the effect of dissuading abortion providers while being legally unreviewable until a complaint is brought.

Build Back Better’s rules could complicate faith-based childcare

While the role of government and the complexity of our economy have increased, the need to ensure protection of religious freedom has not changed.

Conference on Islam highlights how familiarity increases tolerance, understanding of differences

Neighbors, policymakers and the courts will all make better judgments – of others around them and of those their decisions affect – with the understanding of differences that comes from personal familiarity.

Religiosity improves psychological resilience, study says

A recent report from a diverse group of scholars says that “religious norms” in poorer countries lessen the psychological burden of poverty – pointing to religiosity as a significant source of resilience.

Protection of religious freedom results in a range of secular benefits

“Rather than banishing religious organizations from the public square or overlooking their potential influence, elected officials should create space for faith-based groups to thrive and contribute.”

Texas abortion case: a civics lesson on the federal court system

As the U.S. has grown through its history and adapted to new circumstances, so, too, has the judicial branch. Its history suggests that it will continue to do so into the future.

Supreme Court decisions establish precedent for future cases

Even though the Supreme Court does not resolve a large proportion of the cases that are presented to it, the decisions it does issue reverberate to affect many other disputes through the principle of precedent. Its decisions on a handful of cases can, over time, expand and contract the rights of the entire nation.

Why the judiciary is so distinct: It was designed to react, not initiate action

The judiciary branch is designed as a responsive, not proactive, branch of government. The court can’t tell Congress not to pass an unconstitutional law or tell the president not to issue a legally invalid order. It must wait until after those actions take effect and someone challenges them.

Events

Connect

Get in Touch

SI@sifreedom.org

Phone: 801-355-1272

Fax: 801-355-1705

Get the Newsletter