The Buck Stops Religious Freedom Here [Hub Debate]

Religious freedom is under attack, but in a way so insidious that it threatens all other rights. Just as then-Senator Lyndon Johnson used the power of the IRS to silence religious institutions on many matters of politics in the ’50s, his ideological descendants are now using the power of the dollar to curtail any and all exercise of religion that conflicts with their preferred public policy. This is a dangerous road to take that limits the freedom of the many to the benefit of a politically select few. The groundwork for…

Hobby Lobby and its Aftermath: What Will RFRA Do Next? [Hub Debate]

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, people are wondering a few things: What is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)? ŸWhy do we have RFRA? What does RFRA cover? What are the limits of free exercise of religion under RFRA? These are all great questions because most people have never heard of RFRA, and why should they have? It is an obscure federal law concerning religious freedom. And how many rational people read any of the tens-of-thousands of federal laws…

Religion and Governmental Incompetence

In a recent column, I addressed the origin and importance of the American concept of religious freedom. Our American concept of religious freedom is different, in part, because our concept of government is different. We believe in a limited government — i.e., one that is not able to govern every aspect of our lives. The entire point of a constitution is to limit government, and we limit government in any number of ways, both menial and fundamental: (1) we limit the government’s ability to be led by a president younger…

Two Kingdoms, Faith, and Freedom for All

For religious believers (as the vast majority of Utahns are), this world is made up of two kingdoms: the kingdom of God (or Gods), and the kingdom of men. These kingdoms are very different. They have different languages. They have different customs. They have different laws. They have different leaders. Believers owe allegiance to both kingdoms: the spiritual and the temporal. As Isaac Backus, a Baptist leader and influential advocate of religious freedom during the Founding generation, explained, the kingdoms “are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be…

Why religious freedom? [Publius Online]

Why religious freedom? The question seems, on its face, silly. We are Americans. We value religious freedom and we have since before the Founding. Religious freedom is the first freedom protected in the Bill of Rights. It comes before the freedom of speech and assembly and before freedom of the press. It is the freedom that stands as the primary bulwark of our constitutional republic. But why? Why religious freedom? The answer is multi-faceted, but here are a few thoughts.