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).
What are the limits of religious freedom? The Supreme Court has taken up a case involving O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, a small sect that blends Christianity with South American spiritism. As a central act of their faith, UDV members ingest a tea called hoasca, brewed by mixing two plants unique to the Amazon basin. The practice has landed the UDV in trouble with the U.S. government because hoasca contains one hundredth of 1 percent of dimethyltriptamine (DMT), an illegal hallucinogen.
Americans are locked in an intense conflict over the role of federal courts. Conservatives are deeply aggrieved by Supreme Court decisions in the past 30 years that have struck down laws against abortion, laws on homosexuality, and certain laws and policies promoting religion in the public square.