38 results for tag: separation of church and state


Twin threats: Trump’s “religious freedom” executive order, like FADA, means freedom to discriminate

By Ken Burrows Amid the competing personal and political headlines of the early Trump presidency, one story that’s been comparatively quiet has been Trump’s executive order on “religious freedom.” A draft copy of the order was leaked in January, downplayed at the time by press secretary Sean Spicer as essentially a work in progress and said to be just one among several draft directives on a range of topics being considered by the president’s transition team. But it has not gone away. Indeed, in early March The Advocate, an LBGT-interest magazine and website, described Trump’s order as “still very much alive and on its way,” ...

Neil Gorsuch on church-state separation: The case for concern

by Ken Burrows Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia, has promised to be a “faithful servant of the Constitution” and is known to be, like Scalia, a proponent of originalism. Originalists in this sense are said to be judges who interpret the words of the Constitution as they were understood at the time they were written—in other words, what did the drafters of the document originally intend in what they wrote? Gorsuch also has been quoted, in a talk before an audience at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, as ...

Scalia was not an originalist on church-state separation

By Ken Burrows A little over a month before he died on February 13, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a Catholic high school audience in Louisiana that “there is no place in our constitutional tradition” for the argument that the state should refrain from endorsing religion. It was a position he embraced persistently, on the bench and in public and private speeches. This is the same justice who was quoted in a 2013 New York magazine interview as insisting it is only rational to believe in the devil. The same justice who argued in a 2005 Supreme Court case that the Ten Commandments stand for the direction of human affairs by God and are ...

Minority Rights, the Fight Against Terrorism, and the Constitution

by Dr. Schuyler Foerster   Professor Edward Corwin, an eminent legal and political scholar, wrote that the U.S. Constitution is an “invitation to struggle”—an invitation to struggle among competing ideas, among competing centers of power, and among competing responsibilities in the exercise of governmental authority. In the domain of national security, the “invitation to struggle” built into the Constitution has been tested many times.  In combatting terrorism, these Constitutional issues have taken on different and much more complex forms.  They also require more careful attention on our part if we are to strike the proper ...

Perils of RFRA: How “extreme” religious liberty violates the no-harm rule

Perils of RFRA: How “extreme” religious liberty violates the no-harm rule Why Colorado’s HB 16-1180 is fraught with damaging consequences **NOTE: On March 16, 2016 House Bill 1180 was postponed indefinitely. By Ken Burrows In the historical archives of church-state issues in America, no line is quoted more often than that in Thomas Jefferson’s reply to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 in which he endorsed “building a wall of separation between church and state.” However, a less quoted line in that same letter is becoming more and more relevant to church-state controversies today. It is Jefferson’s observation, leading into his ...

Religious exemptions: An experiment on our liberties — Part 2

by Ken Burrows In Part 1 on the subject of religious exemptions last month, we discussed why “religious freedom” and “freedom of conscience” are not absolutes to which all other principles in our pluralistic society must defer every time these freedoms are invoked to justify exemptions. We discussed why we need a separation between religion/conscience claims that affect only the individual claimant and those that go on to impermissibly harm others, concluding that freedom to practice your religion does not confer freedom to impose it on others, especially in light of our church-state separation principles. We pointed out that ...

Religious exemptions: An experiment on our liberties- Part 1

by Ken Burrows The Supreme Court’s 2014 decision exempting certain businesses from having to provide contraceptive health coverage (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) followed by this year’s decision establishing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right (Obergefell v. Hodges) have given rise to a wider movement demanding religiously based exemptions to providing services and/or products to selected individuals and groups on an equal basis. These demands are frequently described as “religious freedom” or “freedom of conscience” issues. In this two-part analysis, we’ll examine the concept of such exemptions in context of our history ...

Freedom to marry vs. freedom of religion

by Ken Burrows In the 7/11/15 edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette, the chair of the El Paso County Commission, Amy Lathen, argued that the legalization of gay marriage represents an assault on religious freedom, going so far as to speculate whether a Christian pastor who refuses to perform a gay marriage based on his church’s stand against it will be hauled off to jail, or if religious leaders will be silenced by government for preaching in favor of traditional marriage. This paranoiac mood has been joined in by other critics of the recent Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage, such as GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee ...

Religious Liberty from a Religious Perspective

by Rev. Dr. Benjamin J. Broadbent Lead Minister of The First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, of Colorado Springs This speech was given at the 2015 Creating Community Breakfast. It is a joy and honor to be here with all of you at Citizen’s Project’s 11th Annual Creating Community Breakfast. We’re here because we value inclusion, equality, justice, and respect for the dignity of all. In fact, we believe that these values can and should direct our future as a city, as a state, and as a nation. We’re here because we believe deeply in religious liberty. That is, we believe in the freedom to practice religion accord...

2015 Citizens’ Religious Freedom Institute

Citizens Project's  2015 Citizens’ Religious Freedom Institute is scheduled! Download the PDF flier here. Register here. Share on Facebook here. Attend this seminar to learn how the First Amendment to the US Constitution protects religious freedom in public schools. For teachers, students, parents, administrators, staff, school board members, and open to the public. Saturday April 11, 2015 ~ 8 AM-12:30 PM Part 1: How the Law Defines Religious Freedom in Public Schools Cheyenne Mountain High School, 1200 Cresta Road Thursday April 16, 2015 ~ 4:30-7:30 PM Part 2: Best Practices and School Policies Citizens Project 322 N Tejon ...