Guest / Limited Access /
The Supreme Court's Religious Freedom Reality Check
Image: iStock

Few subjects prompt louder cries of anguish than suppressed religious liberty. Many Christians worry that precious freedoms are "under assault." Talk about a "war on religion" trips off the tongues of many activists.

We are right to be concerned, because religious freedom is vital and necessary for the health of society. This is why the 2009 Manhattan Declaration considers it a core concern, and why key Catholic and evangelical leaders now work together to protect it. The question is: Are we on the verge of secular totalitarianism, as some activists seem to suggest?

Christian concerns about a suffocating secularism go back decades. Yet activists who sound the alarms today fear more than the loss of a religious perspective in public life. Religious identity itself is at stake, and along with it, freedom of conscience.

Colleges and universities pressure campus fellowships to admit leaders hostile to Christian moral teaching. Governments that partner with Christian groups are now severing ties because faith groups refuse to place needy children with homosexual couples. Hospitals seek to strip medical workers' conscience protections; they strong-arm nurses into assisting with abortions. Bureaucrats bully religious employers into bankrolling health plans that include contraceptives or the morning-after pill.

Attempts to constrict religious liberty are indeed terrifyingly real; hence we understand the rhetoric of grave threats and imminent dangers. But in the midst of all this, a blessedly reassuring Supreme Court decision has arrived. We hope it will rouse the doomsday prophets from their fatalistic crouch.

In mid-January, the court issued the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueWhy Are Our Communion Meals So Paltry?
Subscriber Access Only Why Are Our Communion Meals So Paltry?
If we have such an extravagant Savior, we should attempt to create a fuller meal.
RecommendedIn the Battle Between LGBT Rights and Religious Freedom, Both Can Win
Subscriber Access Only In the Battle Between LGBT Rights and Religious Freedom, Both Can Win
Why we needn’t fear the worst-case scenario.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickWhat It’s Like to Be Gay at Wheaton College
What It’s Like to Be Gay at Wheaton College
The evangelical university has received negative press on LGBT matters. My own experience paints a different picture.
Christianity Today
The Supreme Court's Religious Freedom Reality Check
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.