In the 1990s the U.S. Supreme Court decided a handful of religious liberty cases on the basis of the First Amendment’s free speech clause. The most significant of these was Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (1995). In that case, the University of Virginia had denied funding to a religious student publication called Wide Awake. The case began with a focus on the establishment clause, and it might have been based on the free exercise of religion—but it ended up being about free speech. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that once the university created a policy to fund student publications, it had created a “limited public forum” for speech. Within such a forum the university could not discriminate on the basis of the content of the speech. The free exercise clause was largely ignored. In the ensuing years several other cases followed a similar pattern.
At the time, many considered these cases victories for religious groups.
Political leaders in the tiny Buddhist nation of Bhutan have announced a nearly six-month ban on all public religious activities ahead of the upcoming elections, citing the Himalayan nation’s constitution that says “religion shall remain above politics.”
This NYT Magazine list of "32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow" is fascinating. I'm especially amazed by #1 (clothing that generates electricity and charges gadgets), #6 (cars smart enough to avoid causing traffic jams) and #23 (smart teeth!). Others (#20, #31) are sort of sci-fi disturbing but only mildly so.
A coalition of religious leaders and a top Presbyterian official have blasted the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that would allow large corporations to give unlimited financial support to candidates during elections.