The Top Ten Films Every Legislator Should Be Required to Watch Before Voting on a Religious Freedom Restoration Act or Any Demand for Extreme Religious Liberty (in no particular order)

  Selma Philomena Absence of Malice American Sniper Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief Deliver Us from Evil Secrets of Mormon Cult: Breaking Polygamy The Imitation Game A Question of Miracles: Faith Healing   Children of God: Lost and Found  

Tuesday’s Top Ten Questions on the Mandatory Quiz for Legislators to Ask RFRA Advocates Before Becoming a Sponsor or Casting a Vote

When the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by Congress, the members never asked the questions that should have been asked. Now RFRA advocates are urging the states to pass similar laws. It’s time for legislators to ask the hard questions in the interest of the public good. Here is a fair quiz that will provide more education on RFRA than the unquestioning assumption that RFRAs are good.   1.         There are over 100,000 religious sects in the U.S. How many of the 100,000 are in this state? 2.         List 2 active religious groups in the U.S. Read More …

The Top Ten Recent Extreme, Extreme Religious Liberty Proposals

Over 2014 and into 2015, the United States has been awash with a tidal wave of demands for extreme religious liberty, each becoming more outlandish than the last. Never has the Supreme Court’s wise and reasonable First Amendment free exercise doctrine in Employment Div. v. Smith looked so good. While the movement was already in place by the time the Supreme Court interpreted the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in June, the decision–without question–opened the floodgates for extreme religious liberty demands of every stripe. The increasingly creative, if that’s the word to use, extreme Read More …

Top Ten Religion and Rights-Related Stories of 2014

As the academic and calendar years come to an end, we look back at our top ten religion- and rights-related stories of the year. God vs. the Gavel. Professor Hamilton published the new edition of God v. the Gavel. Originally published in 2005, the first edition presciently warned against some of the events that came to pass in 2014, most notably Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court granted extreme religious freedom to employers who believed, but could not prove, that contraceptives are abortifacient. The majority ignored the religious and reproductive liberty Read More …

The Top Ten Religious Tenets or Practices that Have Endangered Our Children and that State Legislators Need to Know Before Voting for Extreme Religious Liberty Statutes Like the State RFRAs

              It is an odd juxtaposition in history: Believers are demanding more “religious liberty” in the states (as in more than the First Amendment ever provided) when, at the same time, we have cascades of child sex abuse scandals in one religious organization after another and Islamic fanatics, untethered by law or human rights, beheading even converts on chilling videos.   It is not as though we can any longer pretend that all religious actors are benign and praiseworthy. Some are downright scary. Yet, religious lobbyists are demanding state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) with abandon, making it possible for Read More …

Top Ten Objections to the HHS Regulations Interpreting Hobby Lobby

Comments were due this week on the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed regulations regarding preventive reproductive health care services. The new rules were issued in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which exempted Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood from the Affordable Care Act’s requirements to provide those services to their employees. The proposed regulations seek to identify who is exempt (by defining a closely held corporation) and how women employees will receive the health care denied to them by their employers. We have the following top ten objections to the rules and their Read More …

The Top Ten Misstatements in Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Recent Defense of Extreme Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby, and RFRA

When he delivered the Keynote at a religious liberty symposium at BYU earlier this month, Sen. Orrin Hatch was on the defensive–as he should be. He is an original co-sponsor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, its re-enactment in 2000 making it more extreme, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) of 2000. The story line that greased the skids for RFRA, RLUIPA, and the state RFRAs can no longer pass the laugh test. Yet, Hatch persists in misrepresenting the history and law of free exercise. This Top Ten is a list of his Read More …

Top Ten Supreme Court Cases Hamilton and Griffin on Rights are Following this Term

We look forward to the opening of the Supreme Court’s 2014 Term on Monday, October 6. Here are the top ten cases that we are following. We provide a description below of each case and introduce the commentators who will share their expertise about these cases by posting after the oral argument. The cases are listed in order of the dates of oral argument. Heien v. North Carolina. A North Carolina police officer stopped Heien and the friend driving Heien’s car because only one brake light was working. Officers found cocaine in the car and charged Heien with trafficking cocaine. Police Read More …