Should the government allow people of faith to act according to their religious beliefs? This question is at the center of an ongoing legal and cultural battle over religious freedom laws, which includes Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed by Gov. Mike Pence.
At face value, the laws seem aimed at protecting an individual’s religious beliefs at the state level. But there's a lot of room for interpretation.
Opponents argue the laws are essentially a license to discriminate against members of LGBTQ communities, Muslims, or anyone else a person may disagree with on the basis of faith.
So far, twenty states have religious freedom laws on the books, and sixteen more are considering legislation in 2015. As states debate, approve, and amend religious freedom laws, Patheos bloggers are speaking out amid the growing firestorm, offering their interpretation, views, and predictions.
Although the initial frenzy of Indiana's RFRA passage has quieted for now, the RFRA debate is far from over.
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I was like everyone else. I thought at first that the Holy Father's visit with Kim Davis was exactly what the Vatican has now said that it wasn't: A form of support.
Since we discovered that Pope Francis met with Davis, many Progressives have been in an uproar.
Nothing makes Jesus facepalm more than the stupid oversimplifications of our culture war.
It's shameful that the deep partisan divides in our nations political and religious institutions have become so severe that this level of manipulation would occur.
According to news reports, Pope Francis had a private meeting with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis last week.
Robert Moynihan broke the story in Inside the Vatican, after getting confirmation from Vatican sources and Kim Davis' attorney.
Change begins with our attitude toward people like Kim Davis.
David French discusses the way our spiritual forefathers considered civil disobedience.
Kim Davis emerged triumphantly to "Eye of the Tiger", as if she went the distance. She is now back on her feet after just 5 days in jail.
Here's the bottom line. The Bible isn't the supreme law of the land—the Constitution is.
Understanding Religious Freedom Legislation
Frederick Schmidt, Professor, Episcopal Priest, Columnist, "The Spiritual Landscape"
The genius of the American experiment lies in the conviction that freedom is not given by the state, but is an inalienable gift given to human beings as God's creation.
Von G. Keetch, Chief Outside Counsel, LDS Church
It is important to remember the value religion provides for society as a whole. When we shift our attention to the benefits religion provides as a public good, then the case for protecting religious freedom becomes even stronger.
I don't have a problem with people breaking the law for the right reasons.
John Mark N. Reynolds
Kim Davis is not taking lives. She is simply refusing to obey an unjust law. The voters of her region can remove her, but they have yet to do so.
Let's begin to shift the unChristian response of publicly judging and shaming to a public response of understanding and encouragement.
Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, Apostolic Administrator, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis
When I hear our elected leaders speak about protecting "freedom of worship" rather than "freedom of religion," I remember the powerful words of Bishop Warduni of Iraq.
Thomas Kidd, Professor, Evangelical Blogger, "The Anxious Bench"
I am struck by the Obama administration's bold, relentless challenges to established understandings of religious liberty.
Erin Wathen, Progressive Christian Blogger, "Irreverin"
Every time someone abuses the Bible or the Constitution in order to inhibit the rights of another person, we are all at risk.
Edward Morrissey, Editor and Correspondent, HotAir.com
When government arrogates the power of a command economy to itself, liberty cannot long survive.
Lydia MN Crabtree, Pagan Blogger, "Birthing Hereditary Witchcraft"
Our first amendment sanctified the holy right of religion to exist outside of government.
Benjamin L. Corey
These laws are clothed in terms of freedom for Christians, while being incredibly un-Christian at the core.
Today the Supreme Court hears the case being brought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties challenging the Obamacare mandate.