Religious Freedom

January 1, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 1
Do U.S. laws adequately protect religious rights?
By Reed Karaim


California Muslims Khadija Zadeh, left, and Noora Siddiqui (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)
California Muslims Khadija Zadeh, left, and Noora Siddiqui attend an interfaith service at the Islamic Community Center of Redlands on Dec. 6 for the victims of a mass shooting in San Bernardino by followers of the Islamic State. American Muslims have faced a wave of anti-Islam sentiment following the Dec. 2 massacre and November terrorist attacks in Paris. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, but several high-profile legal cases recently have tested the limits of that freedom, deeply dividing the nation. The Supreme Court's 2015 decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry has led some Christians to refuse to serve gay couples. And the inclusion of a contraception benefit for women in the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, has prompted some Christians to challenge the contraception mandate in court. They say their religious faith will not allow them to support or participate in marriages or birth control they believe violate God's will. But their critics say that by citing their religious faith as a reason to refuse to serve people or recognize their legal rights, they are imposing their religious views on others in violation of the Constitution. Meanwhile, other court battles over religious liberty have involved the right of members of minority religions in the United States, particularly Muslims, to practice their faith.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Religion and Politics
Jan. 01, 2016  Religious Freedom
Nov. 07, 2014  Religion and Law
Oct. 19, 2012  Understanding Mormonism
Jan. 03, 2012  Sharia Controversy
Jan. 15, 2010  Government and Religion
Feb. 2009  Religious Fundamentalism
Dec. 07, 2007  Protestants Today
Jan. 19, 2007  Future of the Catholic Church
Jul. 30, 2004  Religion and Politics
Nov. 21, 1997  Religious Persecution
Sep. 08, 1995  Catholic Church in the U.S.
Nov. 25, 1994  Religion in America
Oct. 14, 1994  Religion and Politics
Sep. 12, 1986  Getting Religion in Politics
Dec. 14, 1984  Balancing Church and State
Aug. 27, 1976  Politics and Religion
Sep. 09, 1959  Religion in Politics
Jul. 24, 1942  Churches and War
Aug. 15, 1928  American Churches in National Politics
Apr. 09, 1927  The Religious Issue in American Politics
Aug. 01, 1926  The Religious Conflict in Mexico
Conservatism and Liberalism
Domestic Issues
Religion and Politics
Religious Freedom
Religious Movements
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Terrorism and Counterterrorism