Are church walls meant to confine?

By William C. Duncan The current complexion of the debate about religious liberty has been shaped by three converging cultural streams: an increase in the size of government that has subjected increasing areas of public life to legal regulation, shrinking legal protections for religious liberty and acceptance of open hostility to religion. One obvious manifestation of this latter trend is the ongoing battle over public displays of religious belief. Over the past few decades, prayers at graduation and football games, crèche displays, invocations in public meetings, religious memorials, etc. have…

We’ve Already Balanced Equal Protection and Religious Freedom

It’s a bit frustrating that anyone feels like we’re in uncharted territory, or like we have some tough task ahead to balance religious freedom with equal protection rights for LGBT people. While there are some distinctions between the gay rights movement and the racial civil rights movement, those are, for the purposes of equal protection, distinctions without a difference. They don’t need to complicate our legal framework or the balance we’ve struck in the past between religious freedom and equal protection. As it relates to racial equal protection, the compromise…

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…

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: What it Is, and What it Ain’t [Hub Debate]

  With the Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday, finding  that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare, our debate topic is set: did the Supreme Court get it right? Or wrong?    I have thought long and hard how to approach today’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (i.e., the Religious Freedom Restoration Act challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate (Mandate)). I have written on various aspects of this subject before, but I wanted to really get at what this case is about.…

Corporations Aren’t People — But People Are, Even When They Act Through Corporations

The question isn’t, “Should we give corporations rights?” but rather, “Should we deny individuals rights when they act through corporations?” Yesterday, I had a discussion with a good friend about what I view as the only interesting aspect of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling — that Hobby Lobby, as a for-profit corporation, is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). My friend’s point was this:  why should we allow someone who makes the decision to incorporate to claim both that he is not the corporation (for purposes of…

Religious Freedom Restoration Act: Why Doesn’t Utah Have One? [Publius Online]

Recently, Utah Senator Stuart Reid announced that he is working on three bills that are intended to protect religious freedoms in Utah, including implementation of a state-based version of the Religious Freedom Act.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . . .” These are the immortals words of the Declaration of Independence. They represent a declaration of eternal, universal truth, and they act as our American moral political compass. In recent weeks, the need for Utah to implement legislation commonly know as the  Religious Freedom…