Is Religious Liberty A Big Story?

I’m at the 2012 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. this morning. We’ll be hearing from professors and theologians interested in the topic throughout the day. Robert P. George, Dr. Thomas Farr, Nathan Diament, William Galston, Richard Land, Donald Landry, Hannah Smith, Gerard Bradley, Meir Y. Soloveichik, and many others.

They represent Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Jews and others concerned about rising th…

  1. Illiniguy

    It is a big story, and the magnitude of the filing (>40 plaintiffs over 12 Federal circuits) underscores that. Things will start to pop when the first injunction delaying the implementation of the mandate is granted.

    That said, there are surely going to be dissenting voices in the “social justice” wing of every denomination, and the media is certainly going to frame its coverage from the standpoint of those people. I’m confident, however, that the media will, as it seems to be doing with greater regularity, overplay its hand.

    This, too, shall pass away. Obamacare delenda est.

  2. Mollie Hemingway

    This religious freedom conference is interesting. We began with Robbie George discussing some of the history behind religious freedom in a pluralistic society. And now we’re discussing whether we’re facing unprecedented threats to American religious freedom and the rights of conscience (general consensus: yes; notable dissent from Nathan Diament of Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America — but, he says, that’s not good news that it’s unprecedented).

    Diament reminds listeners of Scalia’s decision in Employment Division vs. Smith — a wrongly decided case regarding religious freedom in America.

  3. tabula rasa

    As pretty-much everyone knows on Ricochet, I’m the Mormon who talks too much (I disclaim moral responsibility–it must be genetic; otherwise, I’m a firm believer in free will). 

    Anyway, from my perspective (and I think from my Church’s perspective as well), religious freedom is becoming the biggest civil rights issue of the new century.  Elder Dallin Oaks (former Dean at the U. of Chicago Law School, former president of BYU, former member of the Utah Supreme Court), and for many years a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, has been writing and speaking extensively on freedom of religion issues. His speech at Chapman law school (Feb. 2011) is a good example, though it pre-dates the HHS mandate issue.  This is both a video link and a link to a written copy.  

    Mollie: I’d love to hear more about the conference.

  4. Mollie Hemingway
    tabula rasa: As pretty-much everyone knows on Ricochet, I’m the Mormon who talks too much (I disclaim moral responsibility–it must be genetic; otherwise, I’m a firm believer in free will). 

    Anyway, from my perspective (and I think from my Church’s perspective as well), religious freedom is becoming the biggest civil rights issue of the new century.  Elder Dallin Oaks (former Dean at the U. of Chicago Law School, former president of BYU, former member of the Utah Supreme Court), and for many years a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, has been writing and speaking extensively on freedom of religion issues. His speech at Chapman law school (Feb. 2011) is a good example, though it pre-dates the HHS mandate issue.  This is both a video link and a link to a written copy.  

    Mollie: I’d love to hear more about the conference. · 2 minutes ago

    You’ll be happy to hear that your coreligionist Hannah Smith is doing a fantastic job presenting the major issues. She’s senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

  5. KC Mulville

    The same bishop who is now objecting to the lawsuit is also one of the co-signers of the letter to the U.S. House and Senate on what counts as a valid moral budget. He objects that the whole collection of bishops wasn’t first consulted thoroughly on the issue. He fears presenting it as if the “whole Catholic Church” is in perfect agreement on the issue.

    But if this is portrayed as a merely Catholic issue, it misses the point. The lawsuit is being pursued as Americans defending their American rights. Cardinal Dolan isn’t suing because he’s Catholic; he’s suing because he’s American. This is an offense against American rights.

    Portraying it as a Catholic thing is just a distraction. It’s American.

    After all, Cardinal Dolan doesn’t need the secular courts to render judgments about Catholicism … that’s what we pay Dolan for.

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