February 16, 2014 |
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 says, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. " But, like other rights enshrined in that declaration, religious freedom is widely violated around the world. Is that any of the business of the United States? President Obama thinks so, and he's right. Before the most receptive audience imaginable - a National Prayer Breakfast - Obama recently insisted that "promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy.
February 4, 2014 |
Two decades ago, Congress overwhelmingly approved and President Clinton enthusiastically signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But now that the 1993 law is being used to challenge the Obama administration's requirement that employer health plans include contraceptive services, some supporters of the law are having second thoughts, and several organizations want the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. That would be a mistake. The law was a response to a 1990 Supreme Court decision involving two Oregon men who had been denied unemployment benefits after they were fired for using the hallucinogenic drug peyote during a Native American religious rite.
September 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration set the stage Thursday for another Supreme Court showdown on the president's healthcare law, this time to decide whether for-profit companies can be forced to provide full contraceptive coverage for their employees despite religious objections from their owners. The administration's lawyers asked the justices to take up the issue this fall to decide whether these corporations can claim a religious exemption to this part of the healthcare law. U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. called the issue one of "exceptional importance" that needs to be resolved soon.
August 15, 2013 |
The notion that religious freedom is under siege isn't just an American preoccupation. Some Christian leaders in Britain also have sounded the alarm, prompting a pointed rejoinder from the former spiritual leader of the Church of England that also should be required reading for paranoid American religious conservatives. Rowan Williams, who retired as Archbishop of Canterbury last year to return to academic life, said, “I am always very uneasy when people sometimes in this country or the United States talk about persecution of Christians, or rather, believers.” Christians in Britain and the United States may fairly complain about being ridiculed, Williams acknowledged.
July 8, 2013 |
When the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it was a "tragic day for marriage and our nation. " But the bishops go further, arguing that when the state legalizes same-sex civil marriage, "conflict results on a massive scale between the law and religious institutions and families.... Religious liberty is then threatened. " The bishops are equally alarmist about what they see as the threat to religious freedom posed by the Obama administration's requirement that employee health plans - including those at religious colleges and hospitals - include contraception services.
May 28, 2013 |
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. " So says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. But a voluminous report issued by the State Department last week demonstrates that those lofty principles continue to be widely dishonored.