Cancel Culture Comes to the Supreme Court

By |2020-10-13T16:56:26-05:00October 13th, 2020|Categories: Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, Supreme Court|

The reality is that no person and no private institution can escape the ceaseless initiatives by legal activists, judicial activists, cities, states, and, depending upon the Administration, the federal government to re-standardize American public as well as private life, and search out and cancel dissenters. In recent years, including this presidential year, cases in the [...]

The Early Church & the Origins of Religious Liberty

By |2021-01-15T18:13:02-06:00June 28th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Christianity, Freedom of Religion, Politics, Religion|

From Tertullian, a North African Christian writer of the early third century, to the Reformation, there is a significant Christian tradition that affirms religious freedom. The origin story of religious liberty commonly cited in college courses and museums, informed by proponents of the so-called Whig view of history, goes something like this. In the West, [...]

Winning the Long Defeat

By |2018-11-28T21:55:23-06:00November 28th, 2018|Categories: Catholicism, Christendom, Christianity, Conservatism, Culture War, Freedom of Religion, Heroism, Joseph Pearce, Modernity, Sainthood|

Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect “history” to be anything but a “long defeat”—though it contains… some samples or glimpses of final victory. – J.R.R. Tolkien Together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat. – Galadriel My kingdom is not of this world. [...]

Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance”: A Jewel of Republican Rhetoric

By |2021-02-19T11:43:31-06:00October 29th, 2018|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, E.B., Essential, Eva Brann, Freedom of Religion, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, James Madison, St. John's College|

The document entitled “To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, A Memorial and Remonstrance” is a jewel of republican rhetoric.[1] Nor has this choice example of American eloquence gone without notice. And yet, compared to the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, it has remained obscure—more often quarried for stately [...]

The “Masterpiece” Decision: Half a Cake Is Better Than None

By |2018-06-08T22:53:34-05:00June 6th, 2018|Categories: Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, Homosexual Unions, Supreme Court, Thomas R. Ascik|

Though Masterpiece is a decision upholding religious liberty, the Supreme Court’s ruling makes it clear that free speech about homosexuality does not enjoy broad protections… In the first of two momentous cases on its docket as to whether some Americans can be left alone as dissenters from the punishing orthodoxies of the progressive society and state, [...]

Not One of Us: Immigration, Equality, & the Common Good

By |2020-06-16T16:48:03-05:00January 16th, 2018|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Founding, Christianity, Conservatism, Democracy, Equality, Freedom of Religion, George Stanciu, History, St. John's College|

God unequally bestows gifts to us that are to be used for the common good. The wise can guide others; the well-organized can administer businesses that provide employment; the strong can protect the weak. With such an understanding, equality and a hierarchical social structure are not incompatible, but complement each other. My three children grew [...]

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

By |2021-01-15T17:36:11-06:00January 16th, 2018|Categories: American Founding, Freedom of Religion, Primary Documents, Thomas Jefferson|

Thomas Jefferson considered his authorship of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom one of his three greatest accomplishments; he dictated that his gravestone should acknowledge this fact next to his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and his founding of the University of Virginia. Drafted in 1777, the statute was  first introduced into the Virginia [...]

The Reformation & the Secularization of America

By |2019-09-05T14:38:06-05:00November 18th, 2017|Categories: American Founding, Christianity, Culture, Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, History, Religion, Secularism, Thomas Jefferson|

The “separation of church and state” was intended in part to prevent the sorts of religious conflicts that had racked Europe in previous centuries. Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time before the ambiguity of this figure of speech would be exploited… During her confirmation hearing last September, Notre Dame law professor, Amy Coney Barrett, [...]

Should Religious Symbols Be Banned on Public Lands?

By |2020-06-15T13:05:40-05:00November 7th, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Featured, Freedom of Religion, Politics, Religion, Secularism, Thomas R. Ascik, World War I|

Is a long-standing commemorative cross on public land socially divisive and a governmental endorsement of religion? Or, to the contrary, is a constitutional challenge to that cross an act of gratuitous social divisiveness? Recently, in American Humanist Association v. Maryland, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling of the federal district court of [...]

Religious Liberty Wins Again in the Supreme Court

By |2018-01-22T09:41:28-06:00July 4th, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Constitution, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Government, Religion, Thomas R. Ascik|

In favor of Trinity Lutheran, the Supreme Court ruled that a government program cannot require a church “to renounce its religious character in order to participate in an otherwise generally available public benefit program for which it is fully qualified…” In its decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer this week, the Supreme Court took another [...]

The Son Also Rises in the East: Faith & Freedom in China

By |2020-05-15T17:41:38-05:00April 29th, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Featured, Foreign Affairs, Freedom, Freedom of Religion, Joseph Pearce, Religion|

President Xi has initiated a campaign of national renewal based on a return to China’s traditional values. But at the same time, an astonishingly large number of ordinary Chinese people are turning to Christianity. In a recent essay for the Catholic Thing, Mary Eberstadt focuses on reasons for hope and cheerfulness in the midst of America’s [...]

Religious Persecution in the West: How Bad Will it Get?

By |2016-09-22T22:20:07-05:00September 22nd, 2016|Categories: Culture War, Freedom of Religion, Religion|

A poignant passage in Immaculée Ilibagiza’s book Left to Tell recounts how her father, a proud and prominent Tutsi in their village, resisted leaving Rwanda in the spring of 1994, shortly before the genocide. The signs of brewing violence were becoming increasingly obvious, but Ilibagiza’s father was determined to be a sign of hope for [...]

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

By |2016-07-15T23:11:41-05:00June 24th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Featured, Founding Document, Freedom, Freedom of Religion, James Madison, Liberty, Statesman|

Editor’s Note: On June 20, 1785, as a member of the Virginia legislature, James Madison authored the following essay. It was meant to serve as a petition expressing opposition to the idea that Virginia’s citizens should be taxed to support the state’s clergymen—a proposal that Patrick Henry had put forward. The success of Madison’s petition, which garnered [...]

Naked in the Public Square

By |2016-06-20T21:14:35-05:00June 20th, 2016|Categories: Bruce Frohnen, Christianity, Culture War, Freedom of Religion, Senior Contributors, Sexuality|

The “Naked Public Square” is Clothed—with Intolerance When Richard John Neuhaus published The Naked Public Square in 1988, his book captured the imagination of a generation of religious conservatives. Neuhaus expressed the concerns of millions of Christians in particular, who saw public life being stripped of religious symbols and content. He went on to argue [...]

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