Religious Liberty


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President Trump's Religious Liberties Executive Order - Podcast

Timothy Courtney May 15, 2017

On May 4, President Trump signed a Religious Liberty Executive Order relaxing IRS enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt organizations like churches from political speech and activities. The “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” Executive Order also directs “the Secretary of Health and Human Services” to “consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate.”

An earlier version of the Executive Order was leaked in February, and contained many provisions, specifically about LGBTQ discrimination and federal contractors, which did not make it into the final. Prof. Carl Esbeck of the University of Missouri School of Law and Mr. Gregory Baylor of the Alliance Defending Freedom joined us to discuss the order and its precursor. 


American flag and church steeple
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The Dog That Hasn’t Barked (Yet): Waiting on Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley

Carrie Severino October 27, 2016

As the Supreme Court continues to fill its schedule for October Term 2016, one particularly important case has yet to be scheduled for argument. The petition for certiorari in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley was filed last November by a Lutheran church seeking to challenge a little-known provision of the Missouri state constitution that forbids state funds from going “directly or indirectly” to any “church, sect, or denomination of religion.” The Court granted certiorari in January, and although Trinity Lutheran has been fully briefed since mid-August, the case remains in limbo. Whatever the reason for the delay, the decision is likely to reveal a great deal about the court’s trajectory in church-state relations cases well beyond this Term.   [Read More]


Shining City on a HIll by Linda Chavez

Religious Liberty and Nondiscrimination Norms: Is Peaceful Coexistence Possible? (Part 2)

Peter Kirsanow September 27, 2016

In my first blog post discussing the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ new report on conflicts between nondiscrimination norms and religious liberty, I briefly discussed the roots of this conflict. I also noted that the Commission’s progressive majority (the Commission has a total of eight members, six of whom are progressives and two of whom are conservatives) have resoundingly resolved this conflict in favor of nondiscrimination. [Read More]


Silhouette of Statue of Liberty

Religious Liberty and Nondiscrimination Norms: Is Peaceful Coexistence Possible? (Part 1)

Peter Kirsanow September 14, 2016

In March 2013, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing to examine conflicts between religious liberty and nondiscrimination norms. Although it took over three years for the Commission to approve a report based on the testimony received at that briefing, the report has finally been released and is available here. In this series of posts, I hope to illuminate some of the contours of this conflict. [Read More]