Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Faith

The Butler University Seminar on Religion and World Civilization got off to a wonderful start this year, with a session focused on freedom of religion as defined in the first amendment to the United States Constitution. Our three guest speakers were Sheila Seuss Kennedy, Rick Garnett, and Dan Conckle. Some who have attended many of [Read More...]

Limits to Religious Freedom

Since Tuesday is Constitution Day, and I will be gathering students from my course on “Religion and Freedom of Expression” soon for the first time to talk about Randall Bezanson’s book How Free Can Religion Be?, I thought I would see if there is interest in discussing the topic on this blog. As a starting [Read More...]

The US Constitution and Religious Texts

Thom Stark wrote the following on Facebook: In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, if someone didn’t like the Constitution of the U.S., they criticized it. In the 21st century, if someone doesn’t like it, they claim that it says what they’d rather it say. That’s because the Constitution has become a religious text. [Read More...]

DOMA and Prop 8 Struck Down

In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act! Read the text of the decision here. A key quote from towards the end: The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by [Read More...]

The Ten Recommendations

When I saw yesterday’s Non Sequitur cartoon, it reminded me of something that I run up against regularly in class: For today’s students, the Ten Commandments have always been ten “recommendations” or “suggestions.” No matter how strongly they were ingrained in them from an early age, they have not had the status of law – apart from [Read More...]

What Fundamentalists Worship

Quite a number of people are discussing t-shirts like this one (or the wider use of the sentiment expressed on it) in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy: I am glad that fundamentalists are finally being a bit more honest about what they mean by “God.” They clearly do not mean an omnipresent [Read More...]

Possibly the Most Interesting Pact With the Devil

Rick Perry has apparently made some bizarrely critical comments about the separation of church and state. That separation is the separation that the forerunners of modern Evangelicals, including the Baptists in particular, struggled for and advocated. It is the one that is surely responsible for the fact that religion is a vibrant part of American [Read More...]

So You Wanna Talk About Free Speech?

A lot of people have brought up “freedom of speech” and related phrases in discussion of the current expressions of support for and protest against Chick-fil-A and its CEO Dan Cathy. But freedom of speech is only the issue at one very specific point in the controversy. No one should be denying the free speech of [Read More...]


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