Is the Problem Really Religious Freedom?

By: Robert J. Joustra

This fall, the Review of Faith & International Affairs will be publishing a review of two important new books from critics of the freedom of religion or belief: Saba Mahmood and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd. My full review will be in that issue. One of the orienting questions I had reading these books was: What exactly is the problem with religious freedom? Why, of all the human rights available on the panacea of rights advocacy, has this, still relatively minor right, managed to achieve the status of a super-right worthy of such sustained criticism? 

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Reflections from the Field: From Godless Communists to Holy Russia and the Immoral West

By: Karrie Koesel and Jekatyerina (Katya) Dunajeva

At the height of the Cold War Russia was frequently depicted in the West as a country ruled by godless communists—a brutal regime that set out to eradicate religion and thus, one that also lacked a strong moral compass. These same charges are again resurfacing many years later, but this time Russia is directing the charges at the West. Over the past several years, Russian leaders have played up its moral superiority and defense of traditional values, while openly criticizing the West as amoral and devoid of spiritual values.

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Liberalism in Action: A Response to "Illiberal Liberalism?"

By: Teresa Donnellan

On Tuesday, October 27, the Religious Freedom Project held an event titled, “Illiberal Liberalism? The Fate of Religious Freedom in the Public Square.” The panel, moderated by RFP Associate Director Timothy Shah, featured Kirsten Powers, a political pundit and author of recent book The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech; Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and Phil Zuckerman, a professor at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and founder of the nation’s first secular studies university department. 

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Let's Work to Reconnect Religious Liberty to the Grand Liberal Tradition

By: Allen Hertzke

For some years, I have noticed troubling signs that many liberals are coming to see religious liberty as a conservative cause, not as a fundamental underpinning of a free society.

The Hobby Lobby decision seems to have accelerated that trend. The Washington Post editorialized that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) should be amended to narrow its scope, which some Democratic Senators appear ready to propose, while prominent legal scholars recommend scrapping the law altogether. 

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Religious Freedom As the First Freedom

By: Matthew J. Frank

Americans are fond of referring to religious freedom as “the first freedom,” and for support of this view like to point to the fact that “the free exercise” of religion is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and so has a “firstness” twice over. 

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