report | Oct 24, 2007

A Delicate Balance: The Free Exercise Clause and the Supreme Court

In a new series of occasional reports, “Religion and the Courts: The Pillars of Church-State Law,” the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life explores the complex, fluid relationship between government and religion. Among the issues to be examined are religion in public schools, displays of religious symbols on public property, conflicts concerning the free […]

report | Oct 24, 2007

The Free Exercise Clause and the Parameters of Religious Liberty

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that the federal government will respect the “free exercise” of religion. But the precise meaning of “free exercise” and exactly what constitutes an infringement of this right are not clear-cut. At the heart of the debate is one basic question: Do individuals or groups professing sincerely held […]

transcript | May 8, 2007

International Religious Freedom: Religion and International Diplomacy

Pew Research Center Ten years ago, the U.S. Congress launched a debate on U.S. international religious freedom policy that ultimately resulted in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Foreign policy actors continue to debate how religious freedom – and religion itself – should be factored into U.S. foreign policy. Has the State Department interpreted […]

transcript | Nov 20, 2006

Legislating International Religious Freedom

Library of Congress Washington, D.C. With the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, the United States became one of the few countries in the world to make promotion of religious freedom an explicit foreign policy goal. The act, signed into law by President Clinton, established an Office of International Religious Freedom at […]

transcript | May 11, 2006

Judge Allows Religious Rights Case at Guantanamo Bay to Move Forward

Washington, D.C. A May 10 Associated Press article reports that U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina is allowing four former detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to pursue a lawsuit alleging their U.S. captors violated their religious rights. The Pew Forum responds to questions raised by the news. Featuring: David Masci, Senior Research Fellow, Pew Forum on […]

report | Mar 22, 2006

Prospects for Inter-Religious Understanding

Although tolerance is an American ideal and freedom of religion is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, American history has often been characterized by inter-religious conflict. Without question, however, much progress has been made in overcoming blatant forms of institutionalized religious discrimination. But historic tensions among American religious groups, not to mention […]

report | Dec 7, 2005

40th Anniversary of Vatican Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae

December 7, 2005, marks the 40th anniversary of Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom. Dignitatis Humanae asserts the fundamental right of all individuals, religious communities and families to freedom of religious participation and expression, and it affirms the duty of civil authorities to protect this right. Beyond religious freedom, the document […]

transcript | Sep 29, 2005

The Right to Assisted Suicide?: Oregon Goes to the Supreme Court

Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. Oregon has twice, by ballot initiative, adopted a measure allowing for physician-assisted suicide. The measure, known as the “Death With Dignity Act,” raises serious moral and ethical questions, and was challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Department contended that it had the right to invalidate the law, […]

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