Posts Tagged ‘First Amendment’

Laura Olson on Attitudes towards Religious Free Exercise

What do public school teachers think about the ability to exercise religious expression in the classroom? Prof. Laura Olson of Clemson University discusses her study on the attitudes teachers have towards the free exercise clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Dr. Olson contextualizes this issue in recent Supreme Court cases and the a decision by a public employee in Kentucky to refuse issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We also discuss religious voting trends in light of the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

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Mark David Hall on Religious Accommodations and the Common Good

As a number of religious accommodation cases are winding their way through the U.S. court system, we invite Prof. Mark David Hall (George Fox University) to discuss the history of religious exemptions in American history. In addition to whether or not a florist or baker should be exempted from providing services to same-sex weddings based on religious beliefs, we also examine rights of conscience accommodations granted to religious groups for military service, the swearing of oaths, mandatory school attendance, and vaccinations. Prof. Hall explains how “Americans at their best” have accommodated religious views since colonial days and speculates on what the future holds.

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Michael McConnell on Church Property Disputes

When a congregation splits from a denomination, what becomes of the church property? More specifically, how have US state courts wrestled with the issue of religious property disputes while trying to preserve the autonomy of church doctrine? Prof. Michael McConnell (Stanford Law School) answers these questions in historical context. He notes how judicial decisions have changed from the traditional “English Rule” favoring hierarchical denominations over congregations, to perspectives that are less intrusive into the internal doctrine and organization of a faith, nothing that there is still a great deal of ambiguity in the law. He argues for an approach known as “strict neutral principles.”

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Francis Beckwith on Taking Rites Seriously

Prof. Francis Beckwith (Baylor University) discusses his new book “Taking Rites Seriously,” and how secular rationalism has permeated our legal decisions and what that means. He discusses the intellectual framework surrounding secular rationalist arguments, why he considers them limited, and discusses how this affects the freedom of religious believers. We cover issues such as abortion, intelligent design, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Ron Hassner on Religion in the Military

How do armed forces around the world accommodate religious beliefs and practices into the rigorous structure that is often required for combat operations? Prof. Ron Hassner of UC-Berkeley surveys a number of the critical areas where the management of belief and practice can become difficult for military commanders. We discuss cases in the United States, India, Israel, Japan, Canada, and Iran.

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John Inazu on the Four Freedoms, Religious Liberty, and Assembly

Prof. John Inazu of Washington University Law School (St. Louis) explains how four of the main freedoms contained in the US Constitution’s First Amendment are interrelated and how a series of court cases during the latter half of the 20th century has boiled down these separate, but related, freedoms into a single free speech dimension. Our primary focus is on the relationship between the free expression clause and the freedom of assembly, though other issues come into play. We review important court cases from Roberts v Jaycees to Hosanna-Tabor.

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Matthew Franck on Hosanna-Tabor and Ministerial Exemptions

The surprising outcome of the Hosanna-Tabor v EEOC Supreme Court case forms the basis for our discussion of religious liberty and how far the “ministerial exemption” to federal anti-discrimation laws can be carried. Prof. Matthew Franck (Witherspoon Institute) discusses the details of the case, how it wound its way through the court system, and what happened at the Supreme Court. Along the way, Tony learns a great deal of the U.S. legal system. We then put this case in the broader context of religious freedom and labor regulations.

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Mark David Hall on Roger Sherman, Puritan Patriot

Just in time for July 4th, Mark David Hall discusses one of the least known of the most influential Founding Fathers in American history, Roger Sherman. Building on last week’s theme, Prof. Hall uses Roger Sherman to illustrate how Reformed (Calvinist) theology had a profound influence on American ideals and institutions. Roger Sherman, a staunch Calvinist from Connecticut, figured prominently in the formulation of several critical documents in US history, including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the US Constitution (including the Bill of Rights). Prof. Hall also reflects upon the question of whether or not America was founded as a Christian nation.

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Jay Hein on the Faith-Based & Community Initiative

Jay Hein of Baylor’s ISR and the Sagamore Institute talks about his tenure running the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the Bush Administration. Our discussion focuses on the history and workings of the Faith-Based Initiative, and the proper relationship between government and religious organizations.

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Mark David Hall on Religion & the Founding Fathers

George Fox University political scientist Mark David Hall examines how various Founding Fathers viewed church-state relations in their time, and how modern Supreme Court justices interpret their writings. Some recent court cases are discussed. (To download, right click on the button to the right and choose “save target as….”)

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