Legal theorists have long believed that Christians stand a better chance at winning religious liberty cases in federal courts than do members of minority faiths. But new research by Gregory Sisk, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, finds that exactly the opposite is true. Sisk talked with ct about his research and what it means for Christians in America.
Why did scholars believe mainstream Christians fared better than minorities in religious liberty cases?
Some suggested that this was because most judges on state and federal benches are Christians. Judges were thought to sympathize with those who expressed views consistent with their own.
But you didn't find that to be true?
Our research suggests that the opposite, in fact, takes place. Those who belong to minority faiths succeed at the same rate as religious liberty claimants in general. In contrast, those who hold a more traditional Christian faith, such as Roman Catholics and evangelical Baptists, are finding that their claims are significantly less likely to succeed in front of a federal court.
Why Catholics and Baptists especially?
There are a few possible explanations. One would be that the historical bigotry against Catholics and to some lesser extent evangelical Christians has persisted into the modern day and can be found even on the judiciary. But I'm inclined to reject that conclusion. In actually reading these opinions, there is simply nothing that suggests any kind of crude prejudice against Catholics or Baptists.
Looking into the data a little bit further, we found that the claims that traditional Christians tend to bring are a shot across the bow of the modern liberal secular ship of state. They tend to resist increased government supervision of church ...1
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