John Courtney Murray is still dead

Blood transfusions, you see, are religiously forbidden for Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is to say, in Alito’s apparent way of thinking, the religious scruples against blood transfusions do not involve a legitimate religion. Concern about abortion, however — even when that concern has no factual basis — is a legitimate religious scruple because, well, it’s Catholic. [Read more…]

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Pope Bobby I of the Church of a Beer and a Bump

The courts do not want to get entangled in questions of religious sincerity. That is neither their area of expertise nor an area — usually — in which they have any jurisdiction. So judges will go to great lengths to avoid any argument that requires them to evaluate the measure of religious devotion held by those making free exercise claims. Alas, such evaluations are sometimes unavoidable because they are part of the statute or the religious exemption the courts are being asked to consider. [Read more…]

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Hobby Lobby reaction round-up

Here’s what I’ve been reading today about the Hobby Lobby ruling by the Supreme Court, from Kimberly Winston, Sahil Kapur, Kalli Joy Gray, Dave Lartigue, Martin Longman, Maya Dusenberg, Mark Silk, Michelle Krabill, Miranda Blue, Chauncey DeVega and many others. [Read more…]

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A case of the collywobbles

“Somebody got the collywobbles,” Blake Kirk said. Savor the perfection of that. That’s the precisely necessary word — perfect in its denotation, connotation and implication, and perfect in its tone. That doesn’t happen every day. [Read more…]

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Coercion and conscience: Why apostasy laws, like all religious privileges, are a Bad Thing

Sudan’s “apostasy” laws are an extreme example of the problems created by any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” As America’s First Amendment argues, and as Ibrahim’s case illustrates, the establishment of religion in any form makes the free exercise of religion in any form impossible. This is true not just for “apostates” — religious minorities and dissenters from the privileged official religion — but for adherents of the official religion itself. [Read more…]

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Heterosexual marriage still unthreatened in all 50 states

No-fault divorce laws did not mandate that Catholic priests had to start sanctifying remarriages. The repeal of Prohibition did not mean that Southern Baptists had to start drinking. Marriage equality does not ask or require anything of Catholics and Southern Baptists either. Their insistence on pretending that somehow it does is, at a very basic level, just weird. [Read more…]

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History matters: Juan Cole on religious conflict in Iraq

It was foolish to think that voting and elections could bring “democracy” or “freedom” to post-Saddam Iraq without first establishing a bill of rights guaranteeing secular government and legal protections for religious minorities. Attempting the former without the latter just puts religious freedom at stake in every election. That’s a guaranteed recipe for sectarian civil war. [Read more…]

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The sleep walk never ends

A few things, including: Sunday school malpractice; Alice’s hippie Jesus; an unfortunate billboard; Ararat and Olympus Mons; James Dobson’s “freedom to worship;” and poor Wayne, still in handcuffs after 30 years. [Read more…]

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