The Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Equality: In Bladensburg Cross Case, the High Court Partially Restores Founders’ View

The Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Equality:  In Bladensburg Cross Case, the High Court Partially Restores Founders’ View

Everyone should welcome the Supreme Court’s holding in American Legion v. American Humanist Association that the Bladensburg Cross memorial does not violate the Constitution’s ban on a government establishment of religion. The American Humanist Association argued in error that the presence of the Cross on Maryland public land represented an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Such a view misses a fundamental First Amendment purpose: free exercise equality.

Notre Dame Offers Online Course Exploring Contemporary Christian Persecution

Notre Dame Offers Online Course Exploring Contemporary Christian Persecution

Christians around the world continue to suffer persecution for their faith in record numbers. Following a century when more Christians were martyred than in the previous twenty centuries combined, Christians continue to be killed, tortured, exiled, and to see their property destroyed from North Korea to Nigeria, China to Egypt, and India to Indonesia.

Under Caesar's Sword: Christians in Response to Persecution is an online course that explores the plight of Christians and challenges participants to respond in solidarity as Christian disciples.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein Calls for Religious Freedom in Full, for Individuals and Institutions

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein Calls for Religious Freedom in Full, for Individuals and Institutions

On May 29, the Religious Freedom Institute convened a working group of scholars to launch its Freedom of Religious Institutions in Society (FORIS) Project, an initiative dedicated to examining institutional religious freedom in countries around the world and its relation to the common good in those societies. “Institutional religious freedom” refers to the freedom of religiously defined organizations to live out their beliefs in society. This includes not only houses of worship, but schools, universities, hospitals, newspapers, TV channels, adoption and foster agencies, welfare agencies, and a welter of other organizations contributing in their particular way both to their own communities and to the common good.

Protect religious freedom by exercising it, defending for others

Protect religious freedom by exercising it, defending for others

In an article in the most recent issue of Legatus Magazine, Thomas Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, writes on the rise of religious persecution throughout the world and the decline of religious freedom in the West.

Farr insists that American Catholics should respond to these threats by exercising the freedoms guaranteed to them in the First Amendment and defending religious freedom for others. They should also, Farr continues, “Demand that [the U.S.] government’s foreign policy advance religious freedom for everyone.”

Ispahani: Pakistan's blasphemy ordeal

Ispahani: Pakistan's blasphemy ordeal

Farahnaz Ispahani, Senior Fellow with RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, writes in The Hindu that while Asia Bibi has been released, “her relocation to Canada does not reflect substantive change in the persecuted state of Pakistan’s religious minorities.”

For hundreds of individuals whose blasphemy cases remain pending for prosecution, “The Pakistani legal system offers little protection….and mere accusation is tantamount to punishment.”

RFI's Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team Files Amicus Brief in Tree of Life Christian Schools Case

RFI's Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team  Files Amicus Brief in Tree of Life Christian Schools Case

The Religious Freedom Institute’s (RFI) Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Tree of Life (TOL) Christian Schools, located in Upper Arlington, Ohio. The school is now waiting for the justices to decide whether they will accept the case for review.

Saiya: Religious Repression and the Easter Attacks: The Hidden Connection

Saiya: Religious Repression and the Easter Attacks: The Hidden Connection

Nilay Saiya, Senior Fellow with the Religious Freedom Institute’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, writes at The Diplomat about the relationship between religious repression and the terror attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.

Rogers: Surabaya Christians forgive their attackers

Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at the human rights organization CSW and a Senior Fellow of the Religious Freedom Institute, writes at UCA News how Surabaya Christians on the Indonesian Island of Java are living a “symbolic illustration of the Easter story.” Though the attack was just under a year ago, these Christians have offered forgiveness to the six suicide bombers who killed 13 and injured many more at three different churches.

Read more: Surabaya Christians forgive their attackers

Punish Those Responsible for the Sri Lanka Attacks, Not Muslim Minorities

Punish Those Responsible for the Sri Lanka Attacks, Not Muslim Minorities

The largest single attack on Sri Lankan soil was not claimed by any extremist group until early Tuesday when ISIS declared responsibility. ISIS has conducted targeted attacks on Easter in the past, so the likelihood that the little-known Sri Lankan Islamic radical group, National Towheeth Jamaath (NTJ), is actually an ISIS affiliate or franchisee seems plausible.  

Easter Terror Attacks Reveal New Perpetrators in Asia's Rising Tide of Religious Violence

Easter Terror Attacks Reveal New Perpetrators in Asia's Rising Tide of Religious Violence

Waking to the news of the Easter morning bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, my reaction was likely different than that of most people around the globe: Buddhist nationalists did this, I thought. The reason I reacted in this way requires some explanation, given the contemporary global and particularly western association of suicide bombings with radical Islamist groups.

Leading Muslim and Christian Scholars Convened at Pepperdine to Discuss an Islamic Case for Religious Freedom

Leading Muslim and Christian Scholars Convened at Pepperdine to Discuss an Islamic Case for Religious Freedom

On March 4, a group of leading Muslim and Christian scholars convened at Pepperdine University for three days of intensive discussion on this complex subject. The private consultation culminated in a public event, co-sponsored by the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI), Pepperdine University’s Center for Faith and Learning, Bayan Claremont, Pepperdine School of Law, and Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion

RFI President Addresses United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief

RFI President Addresses United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief

President of the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) Thomas Farr offered remarks today at an event held at United Nations headquarters titled, “International Religious Freedom: A New Era for Advocacy in Response to a New Age of Challenges and Threats.”

Can a Religious School Still Be Religious?

Can a Religious School Still Be Religious?

A religious school strives to pass on its faith through the spiritual and educational formation of children. Religious schools in the United States are privately-funded alternatives to public schools and aim to inculcate the values of their religion. It should be no surprise that in many of these schools, staff and students are expected to reflect those values in belief and behavior.

RFI Holds Book Launch and Panel Discussion on Coptic Martyrs and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East

RFI Holds Book Launch and Panel Discussion  on Coptic Martyrs and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East

On February 12, the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) and The Bruderhof co-sponsored a multi-part forum commemorating the atrocity and the testimony of immeasurable courage and faithfulness it occasioned. The event included a lengthy discussion between Mosebach and RFI Executive Director Kent Hill about his 2018 book, The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs. A series of speakers and a panel discussion followed, each unpacking the broader social, political, and moral implications of what ISIS did, how these 21 young men responded, and the need for advancing religious freedom in the Middle East and around the world.