A Delicate Balance: The Free Exercise Clause and the Supreme Court
More than a century of court decisions in this area have forged a ragged path from one extreme to the other, with permutations in between.
A Half Century After It First Appeared on the Dollar Bill, “In God We Trust” Still Stirs Opposition
Oct. 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the appearance of the words on U.S. paper currency. The phrase, which is also the nation’s official motto, has been caught in a broader controversy over just how high the wall separating church and state should stand.
In Search of a Way Out: Rethinking the Arab-Israeli Conflict
In an interview with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Palestinian scholar Sari Nusseibeh discusses ways in which a settlement could help resolve the larger tensions between Islam and other faiths.
From the Ten Commandments to Christmas Trees: Public Religious Displays and the Courts
As a supplement to a Pew Forum legal backgrounder, Prof. Robert W. Tuttle discusses how current law might apply in circumstances such as a recent religious display controversy in Louisiana.
Rev. Falwell’s Moral Majority: Mission Accomplished?
When the late Rev. Jerry Falwell disbanded the Moral Majority in 1989, he declared that “our mission is accomplished.” If Falwell meant that evangelical Christians had come to accept the idea that organized religion should play an activist role in the political process, his claim of success is well-supported by public opinion surveys.
God at Graduation
Spring is the season for school graduations, and graduation ceremonies play a featured role in the national debate over the place of religion in public education. Is a clergyman’s benediction at a public school event a violation of the separation of church and state? Can students lead a prayer at their school commencement?
Religion and International Diplomacy: A Ten-Year Progress Report
Experts discuss the successes and shortcomings of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Are U.S. national interests advanced by the act, and should they be?
Can Secular Democracy Survive in Turkey?
By nominating an observant Muslim for the Turkish presidency, Prime Minister Erdogan inadvertently highlighted deep-rooted tensions about the role of religion in the nation’s political life.
Strange Bedfellows: Why Are Some Religious Groups Defending ’Bong Hits 4 Jesus’?
A recent Supreme Court case involving the free speech rights of students is producing some very unusual alliances. Christian conservative groups, such as the American Center for Law and Justice and the Christian Legal Society, are defending a student who was punished by his high school principal for holding up a sign that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.”
The Christmas Wars: Religion in the American Public Square
Every year as the holiday season gets underway, debates break out across the country over the appropriateness of religious displays in public spaces. But the so-called “Christmas Wars” are only a small part of a much larger debate concerning the proper place of religion in public life, a debate that began at the nation’s founding.