Week 3: Religious Freedom and the Christian Right
Religious freedom is the right of individual conscience; to believe as we will and to change our minds freely, without undue influence from government or from powerful religious institutions. It also means the right to practice our beliefs free from the same constraints. The right to believe differently from the rich and the powerful is a prerequisite for free speech and a free press, the other two elements of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That is one reason why religious freedom is often called the First Freedom. Religious freedom is integral to the idea of separation of church and state. Separation exists not to limit religious expression, but to safeguard against creeping religious supremacism and the theocratic temptations that have persisted throughout American history into the present.
This conservative Christian alliance is challenging a century or more of social advances and many of the premises of the Enlightenment underlying the very definition of religious liberty in the United States. Its long-range goal is to impose a conservative Christian social order inspired by religious law, in part by eroding pillars of under-girding religious pluralism that are integral to our constitutional democracy. Contrary to the vision of much of the Christian Right, religious freedom is for everyone.
- When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the Christian Right by Frederick Clarkson
- Religious Freedom is a Progressive Value by Frederick Clarkson
- Dominionism Rising: A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight by Frederick Clarkson
- The Christian Right on the Gender Frontier: The Growing Anti-Trans Offensive by Cole Parke
- See our Religious Freedom Portal Page!
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The Coalition for Liberty & Justice is a broad alliance of faith-based, secular and other organizations that works to ensure that public policy protects the religious liberty of individuals of all faiths and no faith and to oppose public policies that impose one religious viewpoint on all.