religious liberty

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Sacrificing for the Faith vs. Sacrificing the Faith

The Church rightly honors martyrs for their sacrifice. Nowadays, however, there seems to be some confusion about the subject. It’s one thing to lay down your life for your faith. It’s another thing to lay down your faith for the sake of some secondary good such as interreligious harmony. I don’t know of any Church [...]

Catholic Ties to the American Public Order Continue to Unravel

It has been clear for quite some time that a new and different public order is taking shape in America in which Catholics (or at least Catholics faithful to the magisterium of the Church) will have serious difficulty finding a comfortable place. The recent election does nothing to change this fact because it does not [...]

New Book Offers Sophisticated Defense of Religious Liberty

We are living in a moment of peril. It is also a moment of opportunity. Our liberal friends are currently gnashing their teeth, worrying that the end may be near. In their minds, dark forces of tribalism and hatred are descending from all sides to obliterate them. After years of having similar feelings ourselves, it’s [...]

US Civil Rights Commission Targets Religious Liberty

On September 7, 2016, the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a report entitled Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties. The report has not received the attention it deserves. Should the next president appoint and the Senate approve judges and justices that agree with its findings, the report will serve as a playbook [...]

The ABA’s Attempt to Muzzle Lawyers

We hear more and more about the attack on conscience rights in the health care and counseling professions: the Obama administration early on moved to reverse federal protections from health care workers having to take part in morally objectionable procedures; Washington State’s requirement (sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court) that pharmacies sell abortifacients; the new [...]

Radical Clinton Drops Her “Old-Fashioned Methodist” Faith

When conservatives and many Catholics first learned back in 2007 that I had the temerity to write a book on the faith of Hillary Clinton, especially after books on the faiths of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, they looked at me with a mix of amazement and annoyance. Why would you do that? I [...]

The Vanishing United States

One of the great legacies of Union victory in the Civil War was the preservation of “these United States.” Historian Shelby Foote noted in the Ken Burns PBS documentary The Civil War, “Before the war, it was said, ‘the United States are…’. Grammatically, it was spoken that way and thought of as a collection of [...]

The Narrowness of Martyrdom

A broad justification for martyrdom is preferable to a narrow one. A person would prefer to die for something grand, sweeping, and generally held. Perhaps world peace, or what used to be called the fellowship of man. Martyrdom is in practice narrow. When St. Thomas More died on a scaffold in Henry VIII’s kingdom, it [...]

The Little Sister’s Last Stand for Religious Liberty

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. This is a case in which a small order of nuns is seeking exemption from an Obama Administration requirement that they help distribute free contraceptives and abortifacients (drugs that cause abortions) through their government-mandated healthcare plan. Why does [...]

The Separation of Charity and State

The years-long assault on religious freedom continues in the United States, as Catholic charities, colleges, and other institutions are forced to comply with—or fight legal battles against—mandates concerning adoptions and employment matters related to same-sex couples, abortion and contraceptive health care coverage, and other items on the growing list of issues on which Church teaching [...]

Why Catholics Should Not Call for Boycotts

As the recent Starbucks red cup dustup shows, boycotts and rumors of boycotts will always be with us.  It seems like there never really was any active Starbucks boycott over the cups, and one wonders if the whole thing was simply a public relations ploy. However, there are many actual current boycotts. A quick search [...]

Kim Davis Bleeding in the Rearview Mirror

Kim Davis is an innocent victim both of cowardice of churchmen and the smug eagerness of certain priests to put her in her place. First, a few largely uncontested facts: it was Vatican personnel who invited Davis to meet the pope in Washington DC. Neither Kim Davis nor anyone connected to her requested the meeting. [...]

Is There a Wall of Separation Between Church and State?

Until 1947, few Americans knew about Thomas Jefferson’s comment, made in a private letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, that the First Amendment’s guarantee against a federally established church made a “wall of separation between church and state.” It was in that year, in the case of Everson v. Board of Education, that the Supreme Court [...]

Augustine, Aquinas, or Kant? Pope Francis at the UN

One of the world’s worst-kept secrets is the Holy See’s high regard for the United Nations. Since Paul VI, popes have appeared before its General Assembly to express their “great esteem,” as Francis remarked in his recent UN address, for its work. Not all Catholics entertain favorable views of the UN. They point, for instance, [...]

Efforts to Silence Clergy Continue Apace

Christians in the U.S. worry that the day may be coming when they will no longer be able to freely speak their minds about their faith. But that day has already arrived in Canada, Europe, and the U.K. In 2008, a Canadian Human Rights panel imposed a $5,000 fine on the Reverend Stephen Boisson for [...]

After Obergefell: The Effects on Law, Culture, and Religion

“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds…. What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.” ∼ St. Thomas More, Utopia In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court didn’t just confect a new right to same-sex civil marriage. In some ways, it inaugurated [...]

Court Rules Against Little Sisters of the Poor

Tuesday afternoon, a three-judge panel in Denver effectively told the Little Sisters of the Poor that they would be forced to go along with the contraceptive provisions of Obamacare and relevant regulations regardless of conscience.   If not, the sisters would be so severely fined by the federal government that they would have to close their [...]

Corporate America: A Friend of the Family?

One of the interesting features of the recent public debate over same-sex "marriage" (SSM) has been the high profile support for it by large American corporations. Such support has included sharp attacks against assorted “religious freedom” state laws ostensibly designed to protect those with faith-based scruples. Indeed, Fortune magazine recently described what it termed “an [...]

Court May Deny Religious Liberty of Catholic Schools

The key battleground for the federal government’s twenty-first-century assault on religious freedom may be Catholic education—in particular, those faithful Catholic institutions that refuse to surrender and remain committed to Christ and His teachings as they come to us through the Church. On Tuesday, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., told the Supreme Court that religious colleges [...]

Religious Liberty Is Not Enough

I want to thank those who took the time to respond to my recent article, “Why Religious Liberty Arguments Aren’t Working.” Our focus at the Ruth Institute is crafting sound arguments and clarifying the proper context for their use. Religious liberty arguments are a case in point. While there is merit in religious liberty arguments, [...]

Opposing the Sexual Revolution Requires Freedom

In a recent Crisis magazine column, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse—a valued leader in the pro-marriage and family movement—contends that “religious liberty arguments aren’t working” in the effort to retain marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In fact, she says the religious liberty argument in the marriage arena “weakens our case.” Instead, Dr. Morse [...]

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