The History of Religion in the United States: Liberty and Theocracy (Blog.ConstitutionCenter.org)

Never before have Americans needed to be reminded more of where American religious liberty started. This country was never a country of one faith, but rather always a growing collection of believers with a wide array of beliefs. Numerous Protestant sects, Catholics, and Jews arrived early, while hundreds of other sects followed in the 19th century to the point that today there are over 100,000 religious sects in the United States. The miracle of the United States constitutional experiment is that this ever-increasing proliferation of believers has not been accompanied by religious civil wars. From the beginning we have had Read More …

Salvation Army Case Shows Ministerial Exception is Unnecessary

A recent employment discrimination case, Rogers v. Salvation Army, demonstrates that the ministerial exception is an unnecessary legal rule. The ministerial exception is a court-created rule, affirmed by the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, that dismisses lawsuits against religious employers at the mere invocation of the word minister, thus denying employees their day in court. In non-ministerial cases, an employee files a lawsuit alleging race, gender, age or other discrimination, and the court or jury decides if she has proven her case. Some employees win those cases, and some employees lose. Proving discrimination is Read More …

So-Called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) Protect Gender and Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Not Religious Freedom (LSE-USApp Blog)

Religious discrimination in the United States hasn’t suddenly increased. What have increased are the efforts of religious corporations, organizations and individuals to block progress on LGBT and women’s equality. Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)  In 1993, in response to intensive lobbying by most of the nation’s churches, Congress passed a RFRA that was supposed to apply broadly not only to the federal government but also to all state and local governments. That RFRA allowed believers who argued their religions were “substantially burdened” to challenge every law in the country. Under the statute, whenever a believer alleged a substantial burden Read More …

Don’t Kid Yourself: A RFRA Is a Bundle of Negative Unintended Consequences (Cambridgeblog.org)

I would like to loudly applaud Nevada and Georgia for declining to drink the RFRA Kool-Aid this year.  Smart.  All RFRAs are a bundle of negative unintended consequences and bad public policy, as I explain in God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty and here. There is no worthwhile fix.  Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison were not as smart, as they apparently believed that a RFRA can be “fixed” to avoid political fallout.  They are obviously operating from a platform of misrepresentations about what RFRA does and a lack of knowledge regarding the Read More …