Posts Tagged ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’


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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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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David Smith on Episodic Religious Persecutions

Despite being a nation prided upon religious freedom, the United States has witnessed several episodes of intense persecution of religious minorities. Prof. David Smith (University of Sydney) discusses why these episodic violations of civil liberties happen with specific reference to the Latter Day Saints in the mid-19th century and the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early 20th century. He links these (and other) events to the threat that they generate towards the political status quo. We also discuss how this may relate to harassment of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims in US history over the past two centuries.

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Ani Sarkissian on Religious Liberty in the Post-Soviet World

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 heralded what many thought would be a new era of liberty in a region of the world that has known little freedom for most of its history. However, many of the new regimes that emerged from the Soviet rubble have slipped back into autocracy. We review these political developments and what this has meant for religious freedom in the region with Prof. Ani Sarkissian (Michigan State University). Interestingly, we observe a fairly wide variation in how governments react to religious organizations with some governments supressing all faiths whereas as others picking and choosing which religions to allow and which to repress. Albania, of all places, emerges as the most religiously free of the post-Soviet “competitive dictatorships.” Find out why.

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Roger Finke on Religious Persecution

Roger Finke of Penn State University talks with Tony about the prevalence and reasons for religious persecution around the globe. We explore the connectcions between seemingly small violations of religious liberty and religious persecution. Prof. Finke further argues that even small violations of religious liberty can presage greater threats to a wider set of civil liberties. Our discussion covers all regions of the globe, with a focus on Japan, Nigeria, Iran, Russia, France and the United States.

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