Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'Separation of Church and State'

The Great Awakening Shaped the Constitution—and Religious Freedom

How did religious freedom develop in America? It didn’t happen the way most of us were taught in school—whether in elementary school or law school. In fact, notes legal scholar Richard Garnett, the “standard story” about religious freedom in Early America is profoundly misleading: In my experience, this “standard story” is familiar to most Americans, whether or not they are historians or constitutional lawyers, though lawyers have probably been more exposed to and influenced by it than most. Continue Reading...

The First Amendment Defense Act

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage a constitutional right under the Fourteenth Amendment,” says Zack Pruitt in today’s Acton Commentary, “will generate huge conflicts—in some cases unforeseen—with the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.” Fortunately, some legislators are already attempting to do something to prevent such conflicts. Continue Reading...

How Justice Scalia Harmed Religious Liberty

Over the past hundred years few judges have been able to match the wit, wisdom, and intellectual rigor of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. During his thirty year career he has been an indefatigable champion of originalism (a principle of interpretation that views the Constitution’s meaning as fixed as of the time of enactment) and a vociferous critic of the slippery “living constitution” school of jurisprudence. Continue Reading...

What Exactly is ‘Religious Freedom’?

Over the past few weeks the American media has revealed two important truths: (1) Religious freedom has become a surprisingly divisive and controversial topic, and (2) very few people understand what is meant by the term “religious freedom.” Is religious freedom merely the liberty to attend worship services? Continue Reading...

Federal Court Rules Religious Organizations Can Hire (and Fire) for Religious Reasons

Earlier today a federal appeals court handed down an important ruling that protects the liberties of religious organizations. In the case of Alyce Conlon v. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected a plaintiff’s attempt to enforce state and federal gender discrimination laws on one of the nation’s largest Christian campus ministries. Continue Reading...

10 Quotes for Religious Freedom Day

Thomas Jefferson wanted what he considered to be his three greatest achievements to be listed on his tombstone. The inscription, as he stipulated, reads “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.” Today we celebrate the 229th anniversary of one of those great creations: the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. Continue Reading...