When freedoms clash—when we're not sure where my rights end and yours begin—we customarily turn to the courts to resolve the matter. And the courts are likely to get an interesting set of cases connected with the Religious Liberty Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives in mid-July and will be considered by the Senate this summer (see the report on page 736).
Despite public school controversies that generate sparks every December, church-state columnist Charles Haynes of the Freedom Forum recently wrote, “The First Amendment solution is stunningly simple: Schools should plan holiday programs that are educational in purpose and balanced in content [but] to pretend Christmas doesn’t exist . . . is just plain silly.”
President Barack Obama couldn’t have been more explicit in his inaugural address. Moments into his young presidency, the Democrat let Muslims know that he wants to work with them to bring stability to the world.
Recent advances for same-sex marriage have raised important issues concerning religious liberty. The four New England states (Con necticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont) that recently recognized same-sex marriage have all had to consider how broadly to protect churches, organizations and individuals that object to participating in or facilitating such marriages. A national TV ad against gay marriage sounded alarms about religious liberty and triggered parodies from gay rights groups (and Stephen Colbert).
Protestants are about to become a minority in the U.S. after almost four centuries of numerical superiority and cultural dominance. A new study by the National Opinion Research Center reports that by the end of the year Protestants will probably make up less than 50 percent of the population.