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. 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. This makes religious freedom a progressive value by any measure – and is exactly why the rich and powerful of the 21st century are hell-bent on redefining it to their advantage.

The Christian Right is bringing a vast set of distortions into public life in the name of religious freedom. Their goal is to impose a conservative Christian social order with theocratic elements inspired by religious law. To achieve this goal, they seek to remove religious freedom as an integral part of religious pluralism and constitutional democracy, and redefine it to justify discrimination.

The Christian and business Right has been steadily building political, policy and legislative capacity in the states since the 1980s. Since 2016, a Christian Right state legislative campaign called Project Blitz has become part of this …

In recent years, this advocacy work has come to represent a critical mass (though not a majority) of students on many evangelical campuses who are vocally pressing for change. But resistance to that change has built as well, drawing not just on…

Religious freedom is a central issue of our time. It has figured prominently in recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a major theme of the presidential election of 2016. And it has been a major theme of the Christian Right in both…

Paul Rosenberg recently published an essay at Salon that challenged the myth that the United States was founded as a Christian Nation. The occasion was the then-forthcoming annual celebration of Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the…

Originally published in 2011, the Culture Impact Team Resource Manual—which includes, among other things, sample voter guides and instructions for church-based voter registration drives—has served as the primer for church-based, Christian Right…

Throughout history, people have used religion to justify a myriad of injustices. In the United States, for example, some Christians used their faith to defend slavery and segregation, citing scriptural references as moral justification for the…

As Donald Trump exited the stage after addressing the 2016 Values Voter Summit (VVS) in Washington, DC a year ago, the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” blasted from the speakers. The audience gathered together for the Family…

The hundreds of Southern Baptist and conservative Reformed leaders who initially signed the recent Nashville Statement, have always opposed all forms of sexuality and gender expressions outside of heterosexual marriage. But in the face of broad…

PRA first reported on the World Congress of Families (WCF) in 2000, noting its role within the coalition of Christian Right groups that was beginning to emerge as a well-organized and influential force at the United Nations. Writing for The Public…

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is an international legal organization serving at the frontlines of the Christian Right’s effort to redefine religious freedom and insert its anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice agenda into every element of government and…

During the presidential campaign and since assuming office, Donald Trump has repeatedly promised the Christian Right that he would make religious freedom a priority. In an apparent bid for their support, Trump made clear that he would advance the…

Many are called but few are chosen during any presidential transition. That’s why it’s illuminating to consider who Donald Trump has chosen from the parade of possibilities for his transition team and senior administration appointments so far— and…

To read press coverage about it, one might think that religious freedom is a concern only for religious and political conservatives, and not one of the most liberatory ideas in history. One would also think religious freedom and civil rights are at…

Religious liberty is already a central feature of the 2016 election campaign. But the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) intends to enlarge and escalate the debate when it wages its fifth annual Fortnight for Freedom this …

The 2016 Republican presidential campaign has transformed American politics, likely forever. Everyone is making adjustments, but two recent illuminating episodes suggest that some Christian Right leaders are finding the changes to be unusually…

Historians may someday see the 2016 election season as the turning point in how our society understands the Dominionist movement that is seeking to recast society in its own image.

Religious Freedom Day provides an opportunity for us to think dynamically about the meaning of religious freedom in our time – even as the Christian Right seeks to redefine it beyond recognition.

The 2014 case of General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper was a landmark event because, although the case was ostensibly about opposition to marriage equality, the decision upheld foundational notions of religious equality and equal…

Immediately following the mass murder some Christian Right leaders jumped onto the airwaves to claim the shooting was an example of the campaign against religious freedom in America. It turns out they were onto something, just not what they had…

So much of the contemporary religious liberty campaign being conducted by the Christian Right is demagogic fear-mongering designed to justify discrimination against other Americans, particularly LGBTQ people. While most of our attention is directed…

The two men are experimenting with their own version of complementarity, each playing distinct roles in the manipulation of religious liberty arguments. In his usual behind-the-scenes way, George has been acting as one of the primary strategists,…

While Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, Bryan Fischer, and other Christian Right pundits of the more shrill variety may be easy to ignore as they demand a right to discriminate on Fox News, there is a more dangerous coalition emerging. One of the primary…

Since the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell Supreme Court ruling in 2014, Christian Right agencies like Alliance Defending Freedom, the Becket Fund, the Mormon Church, and their allies at the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, have pushed state…

The Christian Right’s strategy has suffered some powerful losses of late. It is good to take notice.

The The Christian Right’s narrative that mainline church membership is declining primarily because of differences over things like marriage equality unravels when subjected to scrutiny. One of the primary reasons for the departures is a sustained…

Was the non-discrimination/religious freedom law in Utah really the “historic compromise” it’s being touted as, or a Trojan Horse for the Religious Right’s agenda? There now seems to be little doubt with the discovery that one of the law’s authors…

There were both cheers and tears as many in the Utah LGBTQ community celebrated the passage of a workplace and housing nondiscrimination law in the conservative Utah legislature. But behind closed doors, I suspect it’s actually the leaders of…

An international network of some of the world’s most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in October 2015. The World Congress of Families’ (…

Five years ago, the Citizens United decision struck a major blow to the integrity of the American electoral system. Now, the Religious Right is seeking to make their own breakthrough — a free-flow of campaign dollars to candidates through tax-exempt…

Top leaders of the Christian Right plan to issue a fresh manifesto against marriage equality in March. It may be the defining document for the anti-marriage equality forces in the run up to the legal show down at the Supreme Court this summer (not…

Christian Right thinkers and leaders are considering their options, from varying degrees of accommodation and acceptance, to massive resistance and revolution.

Political Research Associates’ senior fellow for religious liberty, Frederick Clarkson, joined The David Pakman Show to discuss Religious Freedom Day, and how the definition of religious freedom laid out by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison is now…

The Christian Right is often long on style and short on substance. Depending on the day many of its leaders may cast themselves as the second coming of the Founding Fathers, the living legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or even as facing…

Religious Freedom Day may be the most significant national day that most of us have never heard of. Considering how central religious freedom is to the Christian Right’s framing of issues ranging from abortion and contraception, to LGBTQ…

The Christian Right does not want us to think about Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the enactment of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786. And when I say that the Christian Right does not want “us” to think…

A conference at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC a few months ago provided a platform to launch a trial balloon for revising the Christian Right’s contentious and often bizarre approach to separation of…

In the heat of our political moment, we sometimes don’t see how our future connects deeply to our past. But the Christian Right does — and they do not like what they see. The Christian Right has made religious freedom the ideological phalanx of its…

The Christian Right has been operating on multiple fronts to stop—or at least limit—the scope of the advance of marriage equality, including seeking to enable business owners, civil workers, and elected officials to openly discriminate against LGBTQ…

It’s true. Religious liberty is under sustained attack in America—but not in the way the Christian Right would have us believe. A theocratic (and sometimes Neo-Confederate) movement within the broader Christian Right is targeting the religious…

Their analysis is as simple as their goals are ambitious. United in Purpose claims that too few Christians of the right sort are registered, participating in public life, and sufficiently grounded in a theocratic “Biblical worldview.”

If the Old Testament Biblical Laws that are foundational to the contemporary Christian Right are to be the standard, then it stands to reason that the biblically prescribed punishments would, in their view, fit the crimes. If that is so, then many…

PRA’s executive director Tarso Luís Ramos joined The David Pakman show to discuss how SCOTUS’ Hobby Lobby decision actually restricts religious liberty. “Despite the rhetoric of Christian Right groups, the battle for the meaning of religious…

PRA’s senior fellow, Frederick Clarkson, joined Between The Lines radio this week to discuss the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision, and the broader campaign to redefine religious liberty by the Religious Right.

PRA’s executive director Tarso Luís Ramos appeared on The Real News Network to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. “The decision effectively transforms the Framer’s notion of religious liberty as a shield against…

Even though ERLC president Moore says he is confident Hobby Lobby will win their case, the panelists nevertheless agreed that Christians, and all people of faith, face creeping governmental “persecution.”

The combined case of Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius may be one of the most important religious liberty cases in American history. But the recently decided—but less well known—case Town of Greece, NY v. Galloway should not…

In March, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which was combined with Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. No matter how the cases are decided, they may well be two of the most pivotal Supreme Court…

Like other Christian Right leaders, Moore continues to rely on historical revisionism, bogus science, dubious claims of religious persecution, and hints darkly of tyrannical governmental violence to come. But his arguments in favor of discrimination…

Jay Michaelson, author of Political Research Associates’ explosive report Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Liberties, joined CNN to discuss how Arizona’s SB1062 is only the beginning of the Right’s push to…

Jay Michaelson, author of Political Research Associates’ Redefining Religious Liberty: the Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights, joined NPR to discuss how the Right has twisted the meaning of “religious liberty” to advance a bill in Arizona that…

Accidental Activist illustrates not only the considerable efforts of the Religious Right to foster paranoia about anti-Christian persecution but also the intentionality and sophistication of the narrative. Through its melding of conservative racial…

Jay Michaelson, author of Political Research Associates’ report Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights, joined NPR’s All Things Considered program over the weekend to discuss the Right’s claim that individuals’…

A well-funded network of conservative Roman Catholics and evangelicals is using a “religious liberty” framework to attack same-sex marriage, antidiscrimination laws, access to contraception, and abortion rights—not on moral grounds, but because they…

“Religious liberty was meant to be a shield, not a sword,” says Jay Michaelson, author of PRA’s Redefining Religious Liberty report (pdf). “Religious liberty has become a code word, kind of like family values.”

Consider the following situation: Because of her religious beliefs against same-sex marriage, a New Mexico photographer refuses to shoot a lesbian couple’s wedding. The photographer claims taking the pictures would infringe on her religious liberty…

As a new pope with hardline stances against reproductive and LGBTQ rights is inaugurated, a new report documents how a network of conservative Christian organizations, beginning with a group of ultra-conservative Catholic organizations, has…

The Virginia state legislature passed a bill yesterday that would allow religious and political student groups on college campuses to discriminate and still receive public funding. The bill, which would prevent universities from implementing wide-…

The political world was abuzz this spring when the National Organization for Marriage’s confidential battle plan to block LGBTQ marriage rights became public in a Maine lawsuit and the Human Rights Campaign posted it for the world to see.

Opponents of gay marriage in Massachusetts are misleading in saying that religious liberty is threatened by its legalization in the state, says The Reverend Katherine H. Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest and director of the Somerville, MA think tank…