The Free Exercise Clause creates a unique type of constitutional liberty—a substantive freedom that limits the extent to which government can interfere with religious freedom.
A true republic respects religious speech. Such speech represents a different authority from governing power and affirms its limited nature.
If good morals are essential for a free republic to endure, and if a certain group of institutions successfully promote those morals, then it follows that a well-governed state may be friendly to those institutions—even if they are churches.
Those who would follow in Father Richard John Neuhaus’s footsteps would do well to note these lessons of his life. Religion and vocation matter more deeply than political wrangling, and we must continue to build intellectual families that combine conviviality with fighting for the greatest causes.
The “Benedict Option” isn’t the only way for Christians to confront the reality of an increasingly hostile and secular culture.
It’s not that in misery and suffering human beings grasp at foolish theories that give them some hope. Rather, amidst prosperity, human beings can blind themselves to the reality of the human condition and so never ask the questions that, once asked, cannot be plausibly answered except in theistic terms.
There are some problems in the reasoning of Justice Scalia’s opinion in the 1990 religious freedom case. But in its holding, and in its rejection of a quarter century of jurisprudence that could not be squared with the First Amendment, the judgment was correct.
Candida Moss’s book on the history of Christian persecution is a case study in how scholarship gives way to politicized polemic—but it’s also an important reminder for contemporary Christians.
If law can declare certain reasons for a private business owner to refuse service—such as sexual orientation—invalid, then it can also designate other reasons as valid—such as religious convictions about the nature of marriage.
In the old America, there were laws regulating sexual conduct, but freedom of association was largely unimpeded. In the new America, there will be no laws regulating sexual conduct, but freedom of association will be limited in defense of sexual liberation.
Finding a right to same-sex marriage in the Fourteenth Amendment would threaten the religious liberty of citizens and organizations who support marriage and silence or chill the speech of dissenters.
Antonin Scalia is one of the most brilliant, principled, sound, and thoughtful jurists ever to sit on the Supreme Court. But twenty-five years ago today, his legal skills utterly failed him.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life left a vital legacy of civil courage rooted in transcendent truth. His death is an example of joyful hope amidst suffering.
Religious liberty is precisely what allows a pluralistic society to live together in peace.
Justice Ginsburg praises the heroic women who defied Pharaoh’s authority to save the Hebrews’ baby boys from death. Apparently, she does not have an eye for contemporary parallels.
It’s fine for people to express disagreement with the Indiana RFRA—if they know what’s in it. We must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by political propagandists into mob hysteria.
The ACLU is trying to deprive other organizations of freedoms that it would insist upon for itself. Their work is not a defense of equality—it is an effort to impose a certain view of morality on the country by law.
We cannot address the unraveling of our culture without addressing the consequences of contraception and abortion. We must rightly understand the relationships between love, truth, freedom, and justice.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are conceptually different from race, and beliefs about marriage as the union of man and woman are conceptually and historically different from opposition to interracial marriage. Adapted from testimony delivered on Monday March 16 before the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
John Updike believed in a strange sort of Christianity that rejected the strictures of traditional faith, choosing divine comfort while rejecting divine commands. In other words, it was gospel without law, grace without repentance, the love of God without the holiness of God.
The way that a culture understands the nature of God shapes its conception of man, reason, and society. Though this presents enormous challenges for the Islamic world, it also has significant implications for the sustainability of Western civilization.
A shopkeeper who objects to sex-same weddings but who nevertheless provides services at such weddings generally acts in a morally permissible way if he acts to comply with a validly-enacted law, to preserve the goodwill of his business, and to make a just profit. Nevertheless, a law that in this way coerces a shopkeeper to cooperate with actions he reasonably believes immoral is gravely unjust.
It is morally indefensible for Catholic institutions to recognize and incentivize same-sex marriages by extending marriage benefits to employees who declare themselves legally married to a person of the same sex.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo recently argued that rights are a simply matter of “collective agreement and compromise.” His remarks are evidence of a desire on the part of America’s intellectual and cultural elite to divorce America from its traditional political identity and from the notion that politics has any connection to God.
For parents with LGBT children, Christianity offers an alternative to false dilemmas of affirmation or abandonment.
It isn’t too late for America’s noble experiment to succeed. But that depends on the courage and commitment of American people of faith. Adapted from a homily delivered on January 15, 2015, at the Red Mass of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.
In the real world, human goods are often in conflict with one another. This reality forces us to make difficult choices and trade-offs that cannot be eliminated or adjudicated by following simple rules.
When conscience flirts with the idea of accommodating an unjust law, it must politely, yet firmly, reject the sirens of seduction.
The terrible massacre in Paris could be a “teachable” moment on the meaning of tolerance, but it will require soul searching by America’s cultural leftists.
In the wake of Islamist attacks, non-Muslims express concern and confusion not because they are indifferent, but because they are afraid. They want to understand. Muslims have an opportunity to embrace this opportunity for understanding.
Christmas isn’t tasteful, isn’t simple, isn’t clean, isn’t elegant. Give me the tacky and the exuberant and the wild, to represent the impossibly boisterous fact that God has intruded in this world.
One option for pro-marriage business owners: obey the law and serve gay weddings, but make it known publicly that you believe that the law forcing you to do this is unjust, needs to be changed, and is obeyed only out of your respect for law and the democratic process.
The dream of a sex-positive socialist Catholicism based on Marx and liberation theology tells kids to stop complaining when they suffer the consequences of adults’ sexual selfishness. Sexual radicalism and extreme pro-LGBT advocacy have no positive role to play in Catholic higher education.
The Abrahamic religions provide a radical interpretation of the importance of speech: it is the primary way in which God reveals himself. Because persons of faith believe that God has spoken, they are called to develop and deepen their capacities for listening. This aspect of free speech is often overlooked when concentrating on laws about what can or cannot be said.
A new book by George Marsden offers a fresh analysis of American culture and religion in the 1950s. It also presents a way forward, based on the concept of “principled pluralism.”
Evangelicals are learning to model both grace and truth when discussing homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
For conservatives, a retreat into self-imposed isolation isn’t a responsible option. We need more conservatives publicly witnessing that humans are wired to know and freely choose truth, and that this has implications for the political order.
Amid reports of “earthquakes” and “seismic” shifts, we ought to remember the Catholic Church’s moral teachings in their wholeness, which have not shifted.
US religious liberty law is not perfect, but it still deserves our support. Religious exemptions witness to the value of religion as a transcendent good. And nothing in the Supreme Court cases requesting religious liberty exemptions for Muslim citizens undermines that effort.
The Obama administration has failed to advance the cause of international religious liberty, and that failure has endangered American national security. But there are concrete steps Congress can take to improve implementation of the International Religious Freedom Act. Adapted from testimony delivered before the National Security Sub-Committee of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, September 18, 2014.
In a society in which the profit motive tends to make all other interests subordinate to the almighty dollar, Chick-fil-A’s founder declared that the store would not be open on the Sabbath.
The secular state cannot be neutral in matters of religion.
The totalitarian temptation can never be entirely overcome, and there is always a possibility that barbarism will return. Thus, we must ceaselessly strive to pursue love, dignity, and freedom.
Traditional religion, with its reliance on an authoritarian God, its understanding of humans as sinners, and its grounding in particular times and places, provides the only stable foundation for affirming the sanctity of human life and enabling human flourishing in new cosmic situations.
It’s in seeking Jesus Christ with all our hearts that culture is built and society is renewed. It’s in prayer, the sacraments, changing diapers, balancing budgets, preaching homilies, loving a spouse, forgiving and seeking forgiveness—all in the spirit of charity—that, brick by brick, we bring about the kingdom of God. Adapted from an address delivered August 6th at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium.
Provided agencies meet basic requirements protecting the welfare of children, they should be free to operate according to their values, especially their religiously informed beliefs about marriage. New legislation introduced this week would protect this right.
Requiring all colleges and universities to adopt the same practices and policies would destroy their institutional identities and prevent them from achieving their diverse missions.
The Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case missed an important point. As with churches, the government has no compelling interest in coercing businesses and organizations with religious objections to carry out the HHS mandate.
The contradictory reasoning of Justice Sotomayor’s Wheaton dissent exposes a glaring weakness in the legal argument requiring religious non-profits to comply with HHS’s regulatory scheme.
The right to religious freedom is for everyone, not just those with the “right” beliefs.