Religious Liberty

Talking Points and Basic Information
1. Free Exercise of Religion
By Robert F. Sanchez, James Madison Institute Director

2. Religious Liberty
Family Research Council
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion.  We believe in religious liberty for people of all faiths and of no faith, but we deny that minority religions are entitled to greater protection than members of the country’s majority Christian faith.

3. The Christian Doctrine of Religious Liberty
By Barret Duke, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
As the church seeks to speak to these new and old threats to religious liberty, she must also contend with a postmodern mind-set among Western intellectual elites that no longer believes in absolute moral truth. This abandonment of the concept of absolute moral truth has led many to question whether any culture can demand certain behaviors of any other culture.

4. Religious Liberty Overview
Alliance Defending Freedom
Throughout our history, America has been a land defined by religious faith and freedom. Religious freedom is our first and most fundamental, God-given right deemed so precious that our Founding Fathers enshrined it in the U.S. Constitution.

Comprehensive Research and Articles
1. Let Religious Freedom Ring: Stop the Assault on Our First Freedom
Heritage Foundation, June 19, 2012
Often called the “First Freedom,” religious liberty is a cornerstone of the American experiment. One of the gifts of providence to the United States is a Constitution that has successfully safeguarded the fundamental right to religious liberty.

2. The Power of ‘No’ in Support of Religious Liberty
By Jennifer Marshall, June 1, 2012
Four hundred years later, the right to say no to government is in peril. Religious groups by the dozens have been forced to go to court to ensure the federal government will let their no be no. They seek, simply, to protect the religious freedom that all Americans have enjoyed to this point.

3. Moral and Religious Liberty in the Armed Forces
By Chuck Donovan, Heritage Foundation
April 5, 2011
The repeal of the 1993 law prohibiting open homosexuality in the military poses significant risk for military service members and chaplains who, as matters of religious or moral conviction, hold to traditional values regarding marriage and sexual behavior.

4. Faith, Freedom, and the First Amendment: The Guarantee of Religious Liberty
By Thomas Berg, Heritage Foundation
March 29, 2012
Freedom of religion is at the heart of the American understanding of liberty. Under our constitutional order, the free exercise of religion is not a mere matter of toleration but an inalienable natural right. As George Washington explained in his famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport: “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”

5. Obama v. Religious Liberty: How Legal Challenges to the HHS Contraceptive Mandate Will Vindicate Every American’s Right to Freedom of Religion
By John Malcolm, Heritage Foundation
June 15, 2012
James Madison once wrote that “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” Yet this sacred property is now under assault from an increasingly avaricious federal government. The contraceptive mandate—a regulatory mandate issued pursuant to Obamacare—requires that religiously affiliated institutions provide contraceptives or abortifacients. Providing such services would require these institutions to violate their religious convictions and would give unprecedented power to the federal government to dictate how religiously affiliated institutions must behave.

6. The Kansas Two-Step: Secretary Sebelius’ Dancing Around the Topic of Religious Liberty
By David Christensen and Jeanne Monahan, Family Research Council and Human Events
May 13, 2012

7. Women and Religious Liberty
Interview with Jeanne Monahan
Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council
March 21, 2012
Monahan talks with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about the perniciousness of the coercive HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, and some of the common myths about it.

8. Will Evangelicals Stand Up for Religious Liberty?
By Robert Scharzwalder and Julia Klewit
November 28, 2011
While Evangelicalism does not have specific teachings on contraception in the way that the Catholic Church does, no Christian organization in the United States should be comfortable with the requirement that insurance must cover abortions. Since that is the intention of the Obama administration, why are Evangelical Protestant colleges and universities, and Evangelical leaders generally, not speaking out? Why are they not joining with Catholic leaders and institutions in opposition to these anti-religious liberty measures?

9. State Forces Church to Choose 
By Chuck Donovan, Heritage Foundation
June 12, 2011
Our nation’s simmering conscience wars have claimed another victim: the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, Ill. Once again, the conflict centered on the legal redefinition of marriage and family. But at a deeper level, what’s at stake is the future of moral and religious liberty.

10. Religious Freedom Must Be An Integral Part of U.S. Foreign Policy
By Richard Land, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Religious freedom around the world is in decline. It should be a matter of great concern for all freedom-loving people. We need to face the fact that unless the various communities of faith in the U.S. come together with a clear message and a unified effort, the plight of millions of people around the world whose right to freely express their faith will not improve.

11. Religious Liberty Under Fire On Campus
Alliance Defending Freedom
Anyone who spends five minutes on a public university campus knows that the school can be very different from the outside world. On campus, Christian principles and beliefs are ridiculed, while radical politics advancing a secular worldview are widely accepted. For a long time, campus apologists dismissed Christian complaints, believing they stemmed from narrow-minded attitudes exposed for the first time to true diversity and “critical thinking.” They would argue, “the campus environment is not hostile, but merely challenging.”

12. Dig Deeper: Does Religious Freedom Still Exist in Our Schools?
By Candi Cushman
The answer is yes–if you’re relying on principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution and several federal court rulings. But sadly, the answer appears to be no—if you read recent headlines about what’s actually happening in our nation’s schools.

Websites, Books and Additional Information
1. Marriage and Religious Liberty
Open letter signed by numerous religious leaders.

2. The Becket Fund For Religious Liberty
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest legal and educational institute that protects the free expression of all faiths.

3. Baptist Joint Committee For Religious Liberty
Primarily an education and advocacy organization, the Baptist Joint Committee is a leading voice in Washington, D.C., fighting to uphold the historic Baptist principle of religious freedom. It stands guard at the intersection of church and state, defending the first freedom of the First Amendment.

4. Liberty Institute
In 1972, Liberty Institute began as a small advocacy organization under a different name and advanced the cause of liberty, including religious liberty. What began nearly 40 years ago has grown into an influential non-profit law firm, dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America.

7. A Historian’s Analysis: The Origins of the “Blaine Amendment”
The Journal of the James Madison Institute (page 49)
By Thomas V. DiBacco
This relic of 19th Century anti-Catholic bigotry remains in Florida’s Constitution

8. The National Legal Foundation
The mission of the National Legal Foundation is to prayerfully create and implement innovative strategies that, through decisive action, will cause America’s public policy and legal system to support and facilitate God’s purpose for her.

9. Pacific Justice Institute
Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. Pacific Justice Institute works diligently, without charge, to provide their clients with all the legal support they need.

10. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

11. Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom is a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.