tv Religious Liberty CSPAN September 1, 2015 6:25pm-7:18pm EDT
>> and you, sir, are the one who basically for the federal government when you were head of bureau of indian affairs were the one against the will of his own people that recognized him federally as the leader of that nation. it's not a nation, it's a corporation and he's a billionaire up against billionaire, right? so you guys are playing a trick on people trying to actlike this is a liberal issue when it really isn't. i'm a liberal guy, i f i thought you guys were fighting racism, i'd be holding hands with you. >> oh, please. >> well, thank you. let's have somebody speak. >> thank you for demonstrating exactly what we're here for. we do appreciate those perspectives. [ applause ] >> i was asked to keep talking in another forum but there's another gentlemen -- >> you called my friends ignorant and they're native americans and they're ignorant because they cheer for a team you don't like? this guy went to m.i.t. and asu, he's not ignorant. he's not uneducated. >> we see you've come with an
indian. [ laughter ] >> thank you. >> excuse me, we met here, he didn't come with me and i didn't come with him, i just met him yesterday. that fact is a majority of native americans support these name names. >> let's go ahead and have two more questions. >> my name is christopher beck, i'm from arizona. i'm a graduate of the city high school, one of the warrior, redskins fan since i was five years old. so i've always been around native mascots. i've always travelled with the teams that we played on, go off the reservation and play, being a fan of the redskins, it's been a part of my life. for someone like me, i identify with the team.
i identify with the name and the logo and that's -- it's always been a source of pride and i'm not the only one. we're not -- we're not ignorant. we're not uneducated. we know why we are fans of this team and why we support this team. sports is a big joining factor and for us this is a sports issue and a sports team that we can gather around and support each other and be proud and there's nothing wrong with that if you're a redskins fan and if you're a native or redskins fan, i'm not a fan of other teams but the redskins have been the one i started at when i was ---like i said, five years old. that's where i started that and that's what it's always been with me. so to hear a lot of these comments -- because this is such a divisive issue. it's probably the most divisive thing i've seen in a lot of the issues and i think a lot of you guys do a lot of good work. teaching, your activism, your
energy is awesome. the smithsonian institute, your work and being an athlete, a hero to a lot of kids. and your work with morningstar, you've made a lot of good -- did a lot of great things. but i think for some reason this issue is huge. it's such a divisive thing that when you go on to comments on twitter, on if, you can just hear back and forth "you're a sellout, racist, half breed, you don't count." everything back and forth and i've never been a part of an issue or read other issues where you just see natives fighting each other. to me it's like how do we stop this? what is it going to be to unite us to better causes, to other things because i don't -- personally i don't believe that native mascots or anything hurt people. i don't know, maybe because i was -- i was born in a city where i was surrounded by a
native community, navaho community, went back to my grandpa's house where in crown point and they've always been a part of some type of native, whether it's through traditional ceremonies and everything as well. but i have lived off the reservation, i lived in boston for 12 years, i've heard from -- where i started that school, actually, at asu i moved back to boston for 12 more years and it was never an issue. at the time i wore my redskins hat, nothing. no one said anything to me but there are -- there are stereotypes is and i have come across them and racism and i've been call misdemeanor things but a lot of this for me and other fans like myself it's never been about the sports. the only thing about sports for us is being a uniter. something that we have been able to gather. so i guess what i'm coming down
to, my question is, is like what's the end result then if this happens because it's dividing people right now. and i think that's the scary part of that. >> it doesn't give you pause that dr. manly begay from tuba city used to be the principal of the school was a plaintiff in the original lawsuit against the washington football team or that the navaho commission on human rights and the dene medicine men association and the tribal council are all on one side of this issue and you and amanda -- and amanda blackhorse and you are on another? doesn't that give you pause just for a moment? >> no, because this has always been about pride for me and i know that the person that did the and a half hnavaho nation c a lawyer. so the native mascot thing, it's a red skin bashing thing, that's what it comes down to, we can
talk about native imagery and words across the reservations we have and navaho we have three of them, we have the warriors, the scouts and the redskins. so i follow josh butler, how he went through that. it went to a council of nine people, passed by six out of the nine but it's never been to full council. they're trying to impeach him in tuba city because he doesn't do anything. today there was an article about it, it was a small story that was buried so i'm saying there are some people that try to take advantage and i understand that you guys are -- you guys had your issues and have your side and i respectfully disagree with you guys, i'm not trying to change your mind. what i want people to know is that there's a lot of natives like me that are fans that we find pride in this team, we find pride in the name and we see it
as a unifiers and a way to get together and be together and celebrate one thing. >> we know where the greater weight of the people fall. and right now most of our people are moving in one direction and the people on your side of the issue are not so vocal anymore and so it's good that you're being vocal about it and you still have passion about it and we simply disagree but we're going to prevail. >> i disagree with that. i don't think there's a majority. >> it's the overwhelming majority and you may take issue with that. [ applause ] >> i disagree with that because i know plenty more and i know that we're starting to speak up more, i think. >> the national congress of american indians, national indian education association.
>> they don't stand for us. >> just go right through them and how many native people they represent, how many people they are -- have you been to a national congress of american indians association meeting? you go there and not one person is on the other side of the issue. i mean, that's our experience for those of us who meet and make up these policies. we don't just invent them, we make them up because we all agree on this. >> i'm not saying you're making it up, just that i disagree. >> and that's fine. you're obviously entitled to do that. and let me just point out that you won't hear me certainly and you haven't heard anyone tonight talking about sellouts or traitors. because that's just not productive. >> like uneducated or ignorant or needing help.
that stuff. >> it's such a divisive issue, it's the one i've seen people going after each other. >> well, thanks for coming. >> thank you for listening. >> ignorance by design, that's all i can say. ignorance by design. [ applause ] >> and this will be our last, i'm afraid. we're out of time. >> my name is brendan. i had a great time tonight. i thought the presentation and the panel were awesome. i don't think it's a question that these mascots portray a horrible misrepresentation of indigenous culture, but what i did see was a lot of the misrepresented imagery were men and so i wonder if you think these stereotypes also affect indigenous women and how indigenous women have been portrayed and that western
colinization has deemed women docile. >> well, let me point out pocahontas was a woman. [ laughter ] >> well, i mean the mascots. >> well, that's a whole other lecture but the answer is, yes, native women are stereotyped in ways that invite, in essence assault on women. and it's an ongoing thing if you watch the imagery around native women that shows up in the popular media and the popular culture. it's a very old theme that native women are in a sense representatives of the land itself, ripe and available for plunder. and that was the imagery that was used about native american women from the very beginning when europeans first began reporting back to their country
saying oh, you should see this place. and the women, holy cow. and that's what it was really all about and so in answer is yes and victim done a powerpoint twice with outrageous images of native american women that are contempora contemporary. >> i think overall when enough level of acceptance in sporting events, everyone's impacted. non-indian and indian alike and when they're saying there's none of this happening, none of this racism happening. last week in rapid city, south dakota, a group of students who earned their way to a free hockey game through academics, not being indian, were doused in beer and called -- and i apologize to my african-american brothers and sisters -- but they used this term for us back home, "go home prairie finganythin ni"
and that was last week. was anybody arrested or asked to leave that stadium? no. it had to happen after it became in the press. so these things are happening a lot and i know that i have young women and young men there that will always have a different perspective because of what happened to them last week. that cannot be allowed anymore and if you can have this kind of imagery and be okay with it and american statistics, polling says it's okay, i say it's not. how many of us does it take to say "no more"? because i guarantee you if this was an african-american head you'd find african-americans that say "this doesn't bother me." but you'd also find african-americans that say "no way i will allow this to happen to my people." this is what we're asking for is just more understanding. [ applause ] >> so with that we want to thank
you all for coming here and listening so carefully and participating in the conversation. i want to once again thank the arizona state university college of law indian legal program for arranging this event to the herd museum for hosting the event. thank you all for coming tonight and we hope we'll see you at the heard many times. [ applause ]
when congress returns from his august recess, one of the first items of business will be a resolution of disapproval on the obama administration's nuclear agreement with iran and other world powers. starting tonight at 8:00 p.m. on c-span, key statements and hearings that took place after the deal was announced in mid-july, including a speech in early august by president obama at american university. house and senate hearings with negotiators and statements for and against the agreement by senate leaders. here are some of the highlights. >> now, because more sanctions won't produce the results that the critics want, we have to be honest, congressional rejection of this deal leaves any u.s. administration that is absolutely committed to
preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one opti option -- another war in the middle east. i say thises no to be provocative. i am state ago fact. without this deal, iran will be in a position, however tough our rhetoric may be, to steadily advance its capabilities. its breakout time -- which is already fairly small, should shrink to near zero. does anyone really doubt that the same voices now raised against this deal will be demanding that whoever is president bomb those nuclear facility facilities? and as someone who does firmly believe that iran must not get a nuclear weapon and who has wrestled with this issue since the beginning of my presidency i
can tell you that alternatives to military action will have been exhausted once we reject a hard won diplomatic solution to the world almost unanimously supports. so let's not mince words. the choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war. maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon. >> when i was in college i wasn't a particularly good student. the first part of college i was interested in sports, the latter part i was interested in working. i learned one thing. i learned about the credible path method. i ended up building buildings all over our country and i learned that you can start with something like this and you lay out a vision and you build it out and you begin with the end in mind and put first things
first. it's the critical path and what i've seen our secretary do is i know he's developed a tremendous warmth with iran's foreign minister zarif and he talks about i often but what i think you've done in these negotiations is codify a perfectly aligned pathway for iran to get a nuclear weapon just by abiding by this agreement. i look at the things that they need to do, the way it's laid out and i don't think you can more perfectly lay it out. for my perspective, mr. secretary, i'm sorry not? unlike a hotel guest that leaves with a hotel bathrobe on his back, i believe you've been fleece
fleeced. congress has until september 17 to vote on the agreement. all of the president's remarks and this senate foreign relations committee hearing starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. you can watch house floor debate on c-span and the senate on c-span 2 when they gavel back in. two attorneys representing both sides of religious freedom cases before the supreme court spoke on a panel about religious liberty hosted by the national constitution center. they're joined by "washington post" columnist in michael gerson and merrill chertoff from the aspen institute. >> the first amendment to the united states constitution states that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. these words don't signal the end but rather the beginning of a
spirited debate about the proper relationship between religion and the american state. in the early years of the united states, some interpreted the first amendment to mean that congress couldn't establish an official religion but cities and states could. by contrast, thomas jefferson described the first amendment as erecting a wall of separation between church and state. in ever son againson against th education the supreme court quoted jefferson's words urging this wall must be high and impig are nabl. in lemon against kurtzman, however, the court recognized some relationship between government and religious organizations is inevitable adding that the line of separation far from being a wall is a blurred indistinct and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship. the first president, george washington, articulated an
additional approach in his famed letter to the synagogue chb cited as the basis for the concept of religious pluralism, a definition that is more inclusive and perhaps more appropriate in today's united states than the venerable term "tolerance." washington said "it is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that enjoyed the exercise of their inherited natural rights, per happily the government of the united states, which gives no -- which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their virginia tech which you will support. our speakers today have given issues of the appropriate
interaction between religious liberty and our u.s. laws. greg lipper and christina ariega is counsel on key cases in the u.s. supreme court and in the states, michael gerson is one of the nation's most thoughtful public intellectuals writing about the intersection of religious belief and politics. greg lipper is with the americans united for separation of church and state and before that worked at the covington law firm. christina ariega is with the beckett fund and has been the counsel in hobby lobby against burwell and a number of other cases and tells me she has quite an eclectic collection of pets at home. we learned that in the green room. michael gerson is a columnist in with the "washington post" and also works with the one foundation on alleviation of disease and poverty globally. there are two categories of cases we'll talk about today.
the first are the more traditional types of cases in the religion field the accommodation cases and they often involve minority religion and the accommodation of a minority relidge glon a majority society. there's another category of case which are very much in the news which is what i would call religious accommodation 2.0 and those include cases like the hobby lobby against burwell case and the cases that are now growing out of the states. since that's in the news, that's very much on everybody's mind and since we have with counsel on both sides of the case with us here today we'll ask them to start off by telling us about what has happened in this area since hobby lobby against burwell and i'll start off with christina ariega. >> so you may wonder why my hair is a little messy.
greg and i already got at in the the green room. [ laughter ] and i've been specifically asked to talk about areas of agreement. i'm working hard on it. as i'm sure you hear my accent. i have not been drinking. i'm cuban-american so i feel very passionate about these issues. i'm executive director of the beckett fund for religious liberty. so one area of disagreement that we have is the hobby lobby case. so as you may have heard, americans united mischaracterized it as crazy evangelical denying health care to women. that wasn't actually the case. i'm kidding. you never said "crazy." [ laughter ] so the green family of hobby lobby are a evangelical family from oklahoma city. they started their business in a garage with a $600 loan. they started to make mini frames, they'd pay their kids seven cents each for making the
frames and as devout christians when they opened their stores -- and they eventually opened stores in 46 states, employ 26,000 employees -- they closed on sundays. their trucks only take merchandise into the stores, that i don't allow the trucks to bring alcohol. they have no lewd cards in their stores and they provide very a very generous health care benefit to their employees. they pay for every medication, every drug, everything that the affordable care act required but when the health and human services mandate was enacted they had absolutely no objection to 16 out of the 20 drugs that the government mandated, they only objected to four, and these four drugs were drugs that the government itself conceded may prevent implan station, that was the science behind this, it was never argued in the case, the government said it prevented implantation and for the green
family that was a form of early abortion, they could not cover these four drugs. so they covered 16, they covered everything else. they had great health benefits and because of their values they also paid more than twice the minimum wage to each of their tm wage to their employees. they found themselves painted into a corner by the government. the government, while forcing the owners of hobby lobby to provide these 20 drugs, exempted millions of americans from having to comply with this mandate they consider so vital. the case became incredibly politicized. you may have heard about it. indeed, when the government went before the supreme court, the supreme court decided their case was very weak because they lacked -- their arguments were not strong enough and we won that case. in that case, the government said that closely health corporations have a right to religious liberty. since there was a big hysteria then that rights would end, health care would end, women
would die, none of that has happened. it was all very politicized, again. it has benefitted individuals in prison or individuals who want to exercise their right to religious liberty. does that answer your question? >> i think that greg probably has a slightly different version of the facts here, so -- >> the facts and the legal principles. before i start, meryl mentioned thomas jefferson. it's actually his birthday today. it is a very appropriate day to be having this discussion. >> we're not going to ask you to resolve that here. >> so let me take a step back actually before we get into this particular legalities of the hobby lobby case. although it is often portrayed as a case brought under the first amendment, it was brought
under the religious freedom restoration act. people on the left, people on the right, all came together to support legislation cosponsored by ted kennedy and orin hatch. president clinton talked about the proverbial divine intervention to bring all these people together. there are some cases in which accommodation should be made for people's religious beliefs. there are some cases where greater exemption should be provided. it is especially important to religious minorities. for instance, muslims or siekhs.
what has happened in cases, though, like hobby lobby and places like indiana and arkansas is kind of the religious freedom restoration act has been weaponized for people to impose their religious beliefs on others and to deprive third parties of their rights. there are many situations in which accommodations are appropriate, but they've never been allowed when they would deprive somebody else of their rights. for profit commercial employees, employers, are permitted to withhold health care compensation. in the case of hobby lobby, though -- i take kristina at her word that nobody has died as a result of it, but tens of thousands of hobby lobby's
employees are deprived of certain level offense contracepti contraception, including the iud. so there had been cases previously in which people raised religious exceptions to paying taxes and the minimum wage. those claims had always been rejected. be it individuals or companies. companies have never been allowed to use the religious beliefs of their owners to harm third parties, including their employees. that consensus has broken down in a deeply fractured hobby lobby decision. for the balance in our country between the rights of religious worship on the one hand and a system of secular laws that protects everyone on the other. >> i want to get back to this
notion of weaponized. there's an argument that could be made on both sides about weaponization, but i do want to ask you, kristina, the case that said that rfra did not apply to the states was a 1997 case. it's been 17, 18 years since the decision of that case, and we are only now starting to see a big focus on state level rfras or mini rfras. there's a disturbing correlation between that and the passage, for example, in indiana of gay marriage. so does that suggest that perhaps the focus on rfra has something to do with factors other than those that are being articulated by the plaintiffs? >> what was the last part of your question? >> being articulated by the opponents of the rfras.
>> no. as soon as the '97 decision came down, states started to adopt rfras. over 30 states now have religious protections that were rfra like, so many states felt they did not need to have a rfra protection in their state. also, there was a sister legislation. we're so nerdy. we're talking with all these acrony acronyms. for a cuban to say that quickly and without tripping, it's quite the feet. it also protected, but to your point, greg, of who benefits from these religious freedom restoration acts, the department of interior sent covert agents
that went into his family pow wow because they heard he had eagle feathers. there's an eagle feather act that prohibits native americans who are not in a federally recognized tribe to have feathers. it is thanks to texas, religious freedom -- the federal religious freedom restoration act, the government had to return these feathers recently. it is true that the original rfra was meant to protect minority religions. most of our clients are minority religions. what rfra never said or alluded to was anything to do with sexual orientation or gender identity. i think that the states moved as quickly as they could given the '97 decision. >> michael, want to bring you into the conversation. so these rfras in the states,
how do you see controversies over florists, cake baking? how does this place out and whoo kinds of accommodations should be made not just for people of minority religions but people whose lives that are not easily accommodated by evangelicals or people from other religious beliefs? >> it's a little strange. i'm a non-cohf ko-combatant in legal battle. the history of rfra seems to be relevant here. this was a two-part test about compelling, you know, governmental goals in the least intrusive means that was championed by justice brennan and the aclu for many years and
was in effect for decades. and it was -- it was really justice scalia who was the bad guy in this scenario. >> he was? >> that wrote the smith decision and overturned this that caused the congress to react and reinstate this test. it was in the house. it was chuck schumer who took leadership on this. it passed the senate. it really was a point of agreement. it is a shame, a terrible shame, when issues this important get sucked into the vortex of the culture war because what we're talking about is not just one issue among many. we're talking about one of the great achievements of the american tradition, which is the protection of a kind of religious pluralism that's actually good for the country. it's motivated over the years
people to do good, religion has, when it comes to hospitals and homeless shelters and catholic charities and a variety of religious groups. and it's motivated the search for justice over the years in the abolition movement, prison reform movement, and other things. religion is not some -- religious freedom is not some problem to be solved, some controversy to be engaged in. when you hear george washington's statement from earlier, that is a thrilling moment in the history of the world in which a power like america came to the defense of a genuine pluralism in which people could pursue their own visions of the good with respect for one another. so i hate to see when rfra laws are used in ways that are
suspect because it actually, i think, brings discredit to that cause, but i would say that rfra standard which we've had for decades has really never come up against this public accommodation laws. that really hasn't been a problem for decades. all that standard does is say that there should be a balancing test not guaranteeing any outcome, but accommodating deeply held religious beliefs, so i think that you can question people's motives in bringing up rfra laws in the states, but this balancing test has actually been a well-tested pretty good method to accommodate in the normal rules of the majority and a handful of exceptions of people that feel like they're beliefs are being burdened. and it's the courts that make this decision and they've
generally been wise in its application. >> so let's talk about the little sisters of the poor and notre dame case versus hobby lobby. these are religiously owned and religiously affiliated organizations that are refusing to provide particular categories of benefits. mike, do you see a distinction in people of the green and han families? >> there are some divide even on the part of advocates of religious liberty between those who put a great emphasis on the autonomy and identity of religious institutions and those who would extend it to for profit institutions. i think that that divides some
of the coalition on these issues. it's -- the indiana law, as i understand it, actually made sure that it applied to for profit corporations, and i think people are maybe more mixed on that, but it's -- but i guess i would defer to the experts. >> and i'm going ask them. greg? >> so the case like little sisters of the poor and notre dame and the second wave of challenges two the contraception regulations, i think they represent two important distinctions. the first is these at least look closer to actual religious institutions than does a national retail craft chain on the one hand. on the other hand, these entities have already received a significant accommodation and refused to take yes for an answer because for two years now, the administration has said fine.
you do not have to include contraception, any form of contraception, in your health plan. all you have to do is fill out a form saying i object, send it to your insurance provider, and the insurance provider will provide the contraception coverage to your employees at no cost to you and no cost to them. that was still not good enough. all these entities are challenging it. i refuse to sign this piece of paperwork. the administration granted further accommodation. okay. you don't have to fill out the form and send it to you're welcome insurance compa-- your company. again, these entities have refused to take yes for an answer. the basis of what the supreme court ultimately said in hobby lobby is there's a less restrictive alternative because the government has created this accommodation for these nonprofits, but these nonprofits, many of which
kristina's organization represents, even filling out the form is objectionable, basically saying we will not rest until our employees are unable to get contraception from anyone. i think that is -- i think another example of the sort of extreme weaponization of religious liberty, but it also i think contributes to the think that michael has talk about. when religious liberty gets associated with denying women vital health care, denying women control of their bodies, and refusing to sign paperwork, you know, that is deeply troubling -- that is deeply troubling to the cause of religious liberty as a whole. you saw the same thing in indiana and arkansas. when religious liberty is associated with discrimination, with denying people public service and accommodations, that is deeply troubling.
religious restoration acts have become toxic. when governor pence is saying this isn't about discrimination -- when his fallback it is actually about e deprivining people of contraception, it has eroded what had been a great consensus in favor of religious liberty. i think it is going to do long-term damage to the broad e cause. >> those little sisters of the poor so unreasonable. they devote their lives to serving the elderly poor. they take care of 13,000 elderly poor people. they hold their hands while they're ill. they help them die, and they're committed to life at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. and they just said, hell no, we won't go. they didn't say the word hell. mother lorraine would be really upset if she heard me say that. they don't -- the government has
exempted millions of americans from having to comply for this mandate for commercial reasons, for secular reasons, because they were the government's friends, because they felt like it. but they refused to exempt this order of nouns and then they created this paper game. it's a money game. it doesn't take a lawyer and a mathematician to understand somebody has to pay for it. when the sisters signed that piece of paper, it triggers a contract. somebody else has to pay for it, and they consider that to be an elicit thing. they consider that to be a sin, and the government is not in the business of telling people what they can and cannot believe. they believe what they believe is reasonable unless they have a really important reason to tell them. you have three teenagers. who has teenagers?
the government has the right to come in and say it is in the compelling interest of the state not to allow human sacrifice. as to the for profit, it doesn't take a lawyer to understand that a gay musician or a gay photographer should not be forced by the government to go and photograph an event at the westboro baptist church. this last week the aclu and americans united say the gay photographer should be forced to participate in an event at westboro church. no one in america has ever supported those claims. my children are watching. i never inhaled. frida why should she be forced, if she were an artist, to participate in a no drugs rally? people disagree about religion and sex all the time in america,
and the answer is not to bring in government regulation and the answer is not to exaggerate claims. has it been weaponized? absolutely. that does not mean you wipe an entire body of law that requires a day in court because somebody's view you consider to be repulsive. >> what about this notion that the government is going to take over providing the contraception if the green and han family don't provide it. how is that different from the case of the conscientious objector? somebody else would have to give that service. a conscientious objector statute is fine. >> it's very different. when the little sisters say we cannot pay for it, that's very
different from someone taking it. they can just not pay for it. the government provides millions and millions of dollars through title 10 to planned parenthood clinics who provide these drugs to women who want them by showing up for free at no cost to the woman. this is all taxpayer money. the government figured out a way to put a 50 cent stamp on a piece of paper to carry it from florida to california. why can't they figure out a way to get these contraceptives to women that does not involve nuns? they're forcing the little sisters of the poor to violate their conscious and have to pay for these drugs and devices that they object to. that's unprecedented. >> i think kristina is losing sight of the idea of balance. it isn't for us to question anyone's unwillingness to fill out a form.
we balance interests. there are other people at stake. there are employees who will go without coverage if the nuns won't fill out the form or if anyone won't or if the university of notre dame won't fill out the form. to say, well, the government could pay for it. the government could pay for anything, but we wouldn't say, for instance, that i have a sincerely held religious objection to paying women the same as men. well, the government has money. they can make up the salary difference. no big deal, right? no, we would say we're going to enforce equal pay laws. the government can make up the salary difference. we would reject that claim. let alone saying, i refuse to fill out a form. notre dame's lawyer was asked at the oral argument does that mean it would be a substantial burden on religious exercise for a conscientious objector simply to
say i object? he said, yes. even that would have to be considered a substantial burden. again, that's all well and good. for people to believe that is fine. but when somebody else is losing an important benefit as a result, that's when i think there has to be balance brought. i think the idea that i am entitled to every possible idios idiosincri -- >> we're going to leave it there. clearly not something we're going to be able to resolve, but let's try to find some areas where both sides may agree a little bit more and they may get us back to some of the more traditional areas for the
protection of minority religions in a majority society. the most recent example is the hult against hobbs case. that's an area, i think, where more or less you both agree. >> yes, we do agree. kristina's organization represented a muslim prisoner who wanted to wear a half inch beard in prison. the case was brought under that religious individualized person's act. that was a case in which -- that was the sort of situation that brought the coalition together, right? a modest religious accommodation that's important to someone's religious beliefs and granting the accommodation doesn't harm anyone. there's arguments made about threat to security, but they didn't really hold up. that is case where we do agree where religious accommodations laws are serving their intended
purpose. it would have been very different if it was i have a religious right not to associate with women prison guards. that would cross over into imposing religious belief on somebody else and there we might disagree. no reason not to grant it. yes. i think there is plenty of room for agreement about those cases. >> so the one of the reasons that the supreme court ruled that this prisoner had the right to grow the beard it was because the state of arkansas had no real reason, right? there were no security reasons. the state of arkansas had said you cannot grow the beard. you have to shave just because we said so. that was the weakness of the argument. in the case of many of the religious freedom cases we're seeing the ones where defending our clients is because
oftentimes the government says, hey, you have to do this just because we said so, like little sisters with the poor, like hobby lobby. like many cases where the government had no real reason to not make an accommodation. we do agree this was an important case. barry lynn, did he start americans united? >> it was started in 1947. >> he would be very upset. you look good, barry. you don't look that old. barry lynn belongs to the universal church of christ and 14 pastors in the state of south carolina from the same denomination supported by americans united are suing the state of in north carolina. that's what the religious freedom restoration act does. they give a day in court when
there's disagreement. >> let's try to get off of rfra. >> i thought we wanted to talk about rfra. >> we want to talk about some other things as well. actually, i'm going to turn it over to mike at this point. are these cases, the religious accommodation cases, are they becoming more difficult? as we become increasingly pluralistic, is that creating a pluralism anxiety? and are we getting to a situation now where these religious accommodation cases may become really difficult for the courts to deal with? >> i do think there's more at stake here than just disagreement on details. there's a conflict of vision behind many of these cases. there is a form of modern liberalism that essentially says only the individual and the state are real in any meaningful sense and one of the main roles
of the state is to protect individuals against oppression by other social institutions. then there's an approach i would call a principled pluralism that says a community of communities that allow people to seek a vision of the good consistent with the common good is actually a positive thing. it has a positive value. so i do think it really matters what perspective, what political philosophic perspective, you bring to a lot of these issues. i come from a more conservative side that says in fact the most important institutions are not the state and more than the individual. they're the institutions in which the individual is shaped, where morality is passed, where culture is -- the standards of