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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  May 24, 2012 10:00am-1:00pm EDT

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if i were to ride -- right would be confidential if a i mentioned-- right workwrite, -- if i were to write a letter, would it be confidential if i mentioned where i worked? guest: the letters are confidential for eight years. after that, they become public record. i guess the question is how long you're going to work at a place you are working at. initially, the letters are private. if he wants to broadcast it, it requires the permission of the writers. after he is out of office, the letters become part of the archives. the letters that accumulate over four or eight years, the odds that they find your letter are slim. they do become public record
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eight years out. host: our guest has been eli saslow, author of "10 letters -- the stories americans tell their president." thanks for being here. we will be back tomorrow at 7:00. we are taking you to a daylong conference put on by the ethics and public policy center. the topic is rising threats to religious freedom around teh world -- the world. live on c-span, enjoy. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> i want to turn to our panelists. there are many of us.
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i pledge to ruthlessly enforce time limits. about 12 for each speaker, 5 for myself. if there is time remaining, i will come back and say a few words. our next agenda ietm -- item is to invite comments from the speakers. hopefully, we will have timef q & a. i will remind you and tell you, i was a prosecutor for several years, the pimp prosectutor. i'm not tough, but i know lots
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of people. speakers will speak for about 12 minutes from their seats. i will briefly introduce each of them. they will not necessarily speak in the order they are arrayed, left to right or right to left. iefif counsel for -- cheif counsel for -- hannah smith served in two supreme court clerkships. she served for at least two years as an lds missionary.
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you are on task 24/7. one of the rules is you don't watch tv for those two years. she has made up to that in the u.s. she seems intent on appearing on as many tv programs as possible. fill in the blanks. hannah is one of our country's leading religious liberties lawyers. she will speak first. >> thank you. is this on? thank you for that generous introduction. my job is to give you an overview of the threat to
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religious freedom. i will do this through the lens of litigation. i will talk about a few recent cases we are litigating to defend religious freedom in america. i will focus my comments on three threats. first, the governmaet -- the government mandate that requires institutions to act in a way that goes against what they believe. it is a threat to religious freedom. government requires individuals to purchase drugs and services that are contrary to their religious doctrine. there is a distinguished professor at harvard law school.
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she wrote in an op-ed this week, "the main goal of the mandate is not to protect women's health. rather, it is a move to conscripts religious organizations into a political agenda." let's make sure we are on the same page about what the mandate is, how it was constructed, and how would bole play out. it requires -- and how it will play out. it requires there to be contraception and education. here is a religious employer exemption included in the regulation. you have to satisfy all of the prongs of that exemption. i am sure many of you have heard it is one of the narrowest exemptions to date in federal or state law. first, you have to be a non- profit entity that is exempt not only from paying taxes, but also
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filing a tax return. you also have to be an entity that inculcates religious values as your primary purpose. you have to be an entity that primarily employees and primarily serves people of your own face. religious organizations are not going to meet this definition. they are therefore not going to be exempt from regulation. i would remind all of us that exemptions are not new. they are part of prudent lawmaking. explicitly religious exceptions -- exemptions are written into law. there is a long history of believers being released from actions that violate our conscience. some of those include religious exemptions for the quakers, including those who could not pledge allegiance to the fly, corrections workers who could not be involved in capital punishment, and health care personnel who cannot be involved
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in abortion. we have a long history of recognizing that we need to provide exemptions. we have heard the administration attempt to justify the mandate and it's a very narrow attention by saying that it only does what most states in our country already do. i want to break that down and talk about that. there are some states, about 28 on that have passed contraception mandates. as compared to the statement, the federal mandate is broader in scope and narrower in its exception than all of those comparable loss -- laws bang. only 3 of them -california- , new york, and oregon, define their attention as narrowly as the federal government. there is the opportunity for opting out through self inusir
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-- insuring or not covering drug prescription benefits. even with no exception, there is a similar opportunity to opt out to self insurance or not covering the drugs in the plan. what is the penalty for noncompliance? these crippling fines are designed with the coercive and
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10. we have heard a lot about compromise in the news. much has been talked about. it was not really a compromise. let's talk about the compromise. there was an announcement by the department of health and human services that there would not be -- that they would give religious organizations with an exception -- objection an additional year to comply with the mandate. in the affair or repressed of birds, with the president himself -- although it sounded very much like a compromise had been struck, all the administration was did was to finalize the rule without changing it in the federal register and to finalize the exemption, again without change. it made no changes to the exemption at all. what was announced during the february press conference was that the enforcement of the
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mandate would be delayed by a year. the second promise was that in a row yet to be developed, a insurance organizations, not religious organizations, would be forced to pay for the abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception, instead of the religious organization. anybody who understands economics knows that insurance companies will not offer these services for free. religious employers will be paying for these services against their conscience. the costs will be spread from -- among higher insurance premiums. if it helped the bottom line, why wouldn't they have already been doing it. if it really reduced total cost to the government, economic pressure would have already solved this problem. hundreds, if not thousands, of
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religious organizations have self insured plans. that means they are the insurance company. the new compromise offers them nothing. ironically, many of the religious organizations became -- to deal with the state contraception mandate. under the state regime. -- you are exempted from this mandate. third, even under the new proposal, for-profit organizations will have their -- will not have their religious liberties protected at all. we saw a rulemaking by the administration to promulgate this so-called compromise insurance rule. it lays out several ideas, sort of a practiced in public brainstorming -- practice in public brainstorming. there are serious moral and practical flaws.
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and major insurance company has called the proposed insurance mandate unworkable and in advisable -- inadvisable. the compromise is a hollow competent -- comment. there was a lawsuit that began to challenge the men did last fall. we launched the mandate here in d.c.. we have added three since then. as of earlier this week, there are 23 of lawsuits -- there is a total of 23 lawsuits spread throughout the district of columbia. there are three for-profit companies. among those, three non-catholic organizations. a couple of final observations, then i will move on quickly to my last two -- the notion that
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there is a religious war on women flies in the face of recent polling. if you look at "the new york times" -- the statistics for women in that poll, women sided with the argument that there should be exemptions for employers that have conscientious objections to the mandate. the specific was, for any employer, whether religious or not, should get an exemption. 46% of women support it. 53% of women favored an exemption in employees like -- eyeghe of the women are capone -- opposed
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51% of americans favored that. 40% opposed. for religiously-affiliated employers, it was higher. 57% in favor, 36% opposed. the notion that the government is considering all the interest and bald and has struck an appropriate balance -- all the interests involved and has struck an appropriate balance -- there is an acknowledgement that she did not consult constitutional precedent bang. she did not ask for legal address from the doesn't -- from the justice department while making the decision on the mandate. this is shocking. there was no legal memo prepared by the justice department about the constitutional implications of the mandate for religious
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freedom. they receive thousands of commons from religious groups warning of the illegality of the mandate -- thousands of comments from religious groups warning of the illegality of the mandate. a former bush speech writer, who now writes op-eds for "the washington post," said it best on tuesday when he said, "the only thing worse than indifference to religious liberty is casual ignorance." i will touch briefly on [laughter] the second threat. there was a case that was decided in unanimous fashion earlier this year. i should mention that we represented the church and school. we saw an unprecedented attack
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on the right of autonomy for churches to choose their own leaders. notwithstanding the fact that the federal court of appeal had recognized a ministerial exception to the federal anti- discrimination laws that allow religious organizations to choose their leaders as they saw fit. for the first time in the case, they argued that there should be no exception. that was their first line of attack. that was against the existence of religious autonomy in hiring and firing of ministerial employees. they rejected this extreme position. the second line of attack was even more interesting. they said, even if there is an exception, it should be limited to those employees who perform exclusively religious conscience. it was quite funny to those of us in the audience during or arguments -- oral arguments.
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he said, that cannot possibly be the test. the pope is the head of state carrying out secular functions. those are important. so, he is not a minister? in the actual opinion in january, the court rejected both of these extreme arguments, calling them "extreme, remarkable, and untenable. and they felt that the church had the right to choose based on the exemption. the requirements that are imposed on students and health care workers and other professionals to perform certain acts to violate their conscience -- which violate their conscience. i will name a few examples. as for mrs. to are required by state law to provide abortion- inducing -- religious pharmacists, religious
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nurses, religious graduate students, and religious government clerks who are forced out of a job ceas -- because they cannot, in good conscience, provide a signature on a marriage license to a gay couple. we represented two pharmacists in a fourth generation, family- owned pharmacy. it did not want to have to choose between their profession and their faith. the board protected the conscience of pharmacy workers. it allowed the of finance to be sent to other nearby pharmacies
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-- allow the clients to be sent to other nearby pharmacies. the board has admitted they found no evidence whatsoever that anyone in the state had never been unable to find a drug that they needed because of the religious objection of any pharmacist, notwithstanding that lack of evidence, they issued a recommendation that required them to stop and dispense medication, even if it violated their conscience. even though there were exemptions from the role for other secular reasons, if it did not want to stop the drop -- drug for other reasons, that was fine. if it was a religious reason, that wasn't acceptable. this prevents them from having to choose between their jobs and their faith. one of these pharmacists had already lost her job. the other was threatened with losing her job as well. the district court judge in tacoma, washington, held that
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these violations violated the first amendment. we continue before the ninth circuit on appeal. there are many other threats to religious freedom. many of them are documented in to the rising threats of american freedom. some of them include restrictions on the use of private property by churches, synagogues, and mosques. either include the tens to scrub out all references to religion in the public square. others include redefinition of anti-discrimination laws that lack robust protections for religious freedoms. i hope you can see that our distress is growing. we are tempering much of it in the course of law and the rule of law will continue to stave off these attacks to our precious religious freedom. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, hannah.
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our next speaker, donald lander, is chief of medicine and a physician in chief at columbia university presbyterian hospital. to hear more about -- you can read more about him in the conference brochure. if you are at the computer and you google him coming you can read the rest of his appearances. you might discover that, amazingly and perhaps uniquely, a but research and -- republic research and -- to the amateur i, he has done pioneering research pin the bile chemistry -- research in the biochemistry
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of cocaine addiction. he has ascended to the near pinnacle of practicing medicine by holding a distinguished position that he does at columbia presbyterian. he also is coholder of 10 u.s. patents. he also entered the fault and water club. i do not know what that is. i was once a member of the scotch and water club. [laughter] >> so many of the threats you're hearing about have a medical aspect. i suppose that's why i'm here. my remarks limit
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to medicine and the diea of relition -- the idea of religious freedom. we are witnessing a culmination of a decades- long process. it has marginalized, suppressed, if not substantially eliminat ing, those whom were described as prescribing to the -- the result of this ideological purification -- and it really is that. we hear about the ideology.
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many of you have a broad, theoretical interest in this. the population will be interested and very practical level. unless you die in your sleep or get hit by a truck, you come up against the medical profession. you would like that medical profession -- profession to have some more ground in values. we know the situation with 80% shifting to one side of the debate. traditional values might be more highly expressed. it could also be the case that the ob/gyn is off to the
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extreme, ideological left. descent is highly suppressed -- dissent is highly suppressed. i worked on a process for -- with human, embryonic, stem cells. the presentation was given in a very neutral terms. i presented it at medical schools, swinging around to -- the interesting thing is the whispered approval in the hallways afterwards. it is not the kind of thing that can be expressed openly. there is an enormous suppression of anything that does not adhere to the extreme, liberal orthodoxy. one imagine the ultimate expression of this and -- of
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disnen -- of dissent becomes progressively more difficult in such an environment. there are those who feel that there body rations have suffered because they have asserted their conscientious -- there modulations -- their valuations have suffered because they have asserted their conscience. one of the presentations was testimony of the assertion by an ob/gyn governing body that medical practitioners do not have a right to a constitutional objection when it goes against the desires of the patient. the absence of limits -- no
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longer a limit based on conscience for practitioner is a radical extreme. many institutions prescribe to the ideologies -- you could claim it is a hostile work and are meant for men and women of faith. -- a hostile work environment for men and women of faith. we are reaching a crescendo of a long process, long, extreme, and
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yielding -- and unyielding. thank you. [applause] >> thanks, don. he sidestepped the salt and water club. he is not an aficionado of scotch and water. richard land is and hass been for about -- has been for about a quarter of a century a member of the southern baptist community. he has become a fixture on issues related to religious liberty is, including --
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liberties, including the most moral fixtures in public life. he is an important public resources, highly visual -- visible and influential. he has been on united states commission on international religious freedom. he has embodied what is, does about. he has done his share of participating in the academic gabfests and washington, babs -- such as this one. until recently, he served as an interim pastor at the red bank baptist church in tennessee. this is a man who is not only accomplished and a pastor but also a man who holds a b.a. from princeton and oxford. my guess is that nobody else
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beside dr. richard land holds degrees from princeton and oxford as well as a master's degree from the new orleans baptist seminary. >> thank you. [applause] this sunday will be my last sunday as the interim pastor at the red bank baptist church. they have a new pastor and are very excited they've been some people ask me if i preach every sunday. i say that is the last thing i would give up. it is the thing i find the most fulfilling every week, preaching to the same people and being in touch with the local body of christ. i am neither a physician or a lawyer. high and a baptist minister and in at the cyst. i do think there -- i am a baptist minister and an
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ethicist. 20 years ago, i was in a debate with people of my own congregation and christianity in general as to what they as threats to the establishment clause. i do not see any significant threat to the establishment clause in my lifetime, but i do see rising threats to the free exercise clause from a growing secularism that is influencing the opinion-making segments of our society and is increasingly intolerant of religious expression. i am reminded as i look at the landscape of america, the famous, and from peter berger when he was told worldwide research was done to discover
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the degree of religious beliefs or practices in societies around the world. when they finished tabulating all of the data, they found that the most religious country and the world was india. and the least religious country in the world was sweden. when peter berger was told the result, he said america was a nation of indians ruled by swedes. [laughter] it is still true to a significant degree. when we hear the word "unprecedented," i can hear of no other time in the history of the united states when the justice department of the united states would go before the supreme court of the united states and make an argument as it did in one case that there
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are no particular and special protections for religion in the first amendment. and that churches and religious organizations have no more protections under the first amendment then a country club-- than a country club. john roberts, developing a reputation for says synched and pithy remarks, said in his opinion "i find the position to be remarkable, considering the fact that religion is mentioned twice in the first amendment, that they would find no special recognition of religious beliefs." if you look at the history of the first amendment, the first amendment is there to protect religious freedom and freedom of conscience. the other freedoms are there to protect freedom of conscience.
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as late as 1944 when the supreme court was protecting the right of americans who fell to a religious subjection to the pledge of allegiance to the flag said the first amendment was the north star of american freedom. i would long for such a court to be reproduced today. the position was so extreme that it lost 9-0. do you realize how difficult is to get all nine of our supreme court justices to agree on anything? but they rejected this in a 9-0 decision. in nashville where i live, one of our universities has gone amok. christian organizations on campus cannot require that the leaders of their organizations
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adhere to their tenets of their faith. that is beyond comprehension and shows you that political correctness can lead you to the lost of logical thought. when it comes to the government mandate -- i want to talk about the government mandates and obamacare and hhs. this shows either a hostility to religious freedom are a complete ignorance of the first amendment. this debate is not about contraception. it is about coercion. it is not about catholics. it is about conscious. it is about religious freedom, not reproductive freedom. this is about principle. not politics. make no mistake about it.
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this is only incidentally about reproductive freedom. it is about the freedom of religious organizations to practice their faith. we believe as americans that every human being has a god- given right of freedom of faith and conscious. due to our forefathers persecutions and in systems, this freedom is recognized in the first amendment of the constitution of the united states. the free exercise of religion goes well beyond the mere freedom of worship concept today and our culture. for them, freedom of worship is restricted to church and home and maybe not even their. we have cases of the time of zoning commissions trying to restrict how many people a couple can have in their home
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for a bible study because it causes traffic congestion. it includes the right to share one's face and to live out the implications of one's faith in the social and economic spheres. the freedoms to exercise and act not to be coerced. we must not stand by and allow our god-given rights guaranteed by the bill of rights to be atrophied, and neutered, or restricted to the mere freedom of worship. as a cardinal has said in a letter to his fellow catholic bishops, the obama administration has attempted to reduce this free exercise to a privilege, arbitrarily granted as an exemption of an all encompassing extreme form of secularism. i think i can make an argument
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that this is extreme secularist mindset embodied in the mandate violates not only the first amendment free exercise clause bought the establishment clause as well. win the federal government asserts the right to universally mandate actions, trample religious convictions, and grant exemptions to those it so chooses, the government is behaving like a secular theocracy. our forefathers knew how tenuous, unreliable, and intolerance this could be. roger williams, the baptist minister and the founder of rhode island, said a man has no power to make laws to restrict consciouconscience.
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thomas jefferson argued in 1779 during the campaign for the virginia act for establishing religious freedom that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions is sinful and tyrannical. when our country was in its greatest peril ever in 1775, when an invasion fleet of 200 ships and 35,000 troops, the largest fleet to leave great britain since normandy, left england to conquer these colonies, and every able-bodied man was needed, the congress granted a right of conscientious objection to those who believed for religious convictions that violence was
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always wrong. from our beginning, even before our declaration, before our constitution, this has been the north star of american exceptionalism, the believe that no one has the right to interfere with another person's relationship with his or her god bending and to try to do so is soul rape. there are three mega threats to our freedom. one is around the sanctity of every human life. the idea that we are all endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. everyone has the right to life, whether we are normal or not, whether we are terminally ill or not, whether we have been born
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or not. if we are a human being, we have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. secondly, the basic foundation of a human society, the family. third, religious freedom. i believe we can win this fight to defend our rights as they were given to us, but we must all be willing to stand up and tell the government no. the government does not have alternate authority over people of faith. it is why secularists do not like people of faith. week render unto god the things that are gods -- we render unto god the things that are god's. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you, richard. then that person to speak will follow me to the podium -- the next person to speak will follow me to the podium. he was described as the public peace of judy ism in washington. judaismic piece of day day i in washington. he moved into what we should call public policy since then and has become a real fixture on all matters affecting religious liberty and moral
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issues and public policy. our next speaker is nathan diament. he has become not only respected and they go to person of orthodox judaism, but i think it is worth adding that his reputation is -- he is an editor and a journalist as well as someone in the trenches. he is known for non-partisan contribution to this highly contentious area of public debate. he is a person who is called upon, guided by republicans and democrats alike. he is taken to be neither liberal nor conservative, but jewish. nathan? [applause]
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>> thank you for that introduction, gerard bradley. i also want to add my congratulations to brian and ed on this conference and project. king solomon famously wrote "there is nothing new under the sun." i suppose i am here to counter the thesis of our title, unprecedented threats to religious liberty that we face. i am here to tell you that they are not unprecedented. i am not saying that to comfort u. they are not unprecedented but they have -- recent controversies have given them more visibility. what do i mean? i am an attorney by training. the other confession i will make
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is i have a day job as a lobbyist. it is what i do on behalf of the community. that gives me a perspective of what has been going on in the trenches and the legislative arena which i think is instructive in setting the context for the threats that we face today in religious liberty. i want to take us back to 1990 when the supreme court handed down a decision. in the opinion, the court threw out the notion of free exercise and religion, that free religion advocates fought prevailed for many, many years. before then, in order for a government law that was generally neutral, not targeted at religion, but a neutral law -- in order for it to burden the free exercise of religion and
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not be struck down, it had to be -- the government had to show it was showing a compelling state interest and the means were the least restrictive on religious liberty. the issue at hand was whether native americans could be using peyote as a part of their religious services. could the government restricts that -- restrict that in outlawing hallucinogenic drug use? what happened in that case was that the compelling state interest was thrown out. and the standard was reduced for the protection of free exercise. if you had a general law not designed to discriminate against religious freedom, the
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government had a rational basis. that would be sufficient. what was the reaction? a broad coalition stretching from the far left to the far right gathered together, worked with bipartisan champions in congress, in the senate ted kennedy, to move a piece of legislation which passed in 1993 overwhelmingly. the congress saw to legislatively reinstate the compelling interest standard. a few years later, the supreme court gets to say, thank you, congress, we get the last word. in 1997, striking down the religious restoration act. in one of its early renquist era decisions designed to contracts
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congressional federal power to some degree with regard to the state's. so, the coalition get back to get their. let's get back together and write a new law which we can pass through congress which we will try to tailor to the new principles that the supreme court put forward. then the fishers began to become evident. -- fissures began to become evident. everybody in between, secular and multi-faith. started designing a statute to substitute the previous. this again would have been a broad reinstatement of a standard across all kinds of cases and issues. it would have sought to
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reinstate the standard that government can only infringe upon religion whein the least restrictive means possible. then the coalition fractured. because by this point in the late 1990's, a number of folks who were advocating for women's rights and for gay rights in particular saw a broad standard like that as being counterproductive to the agenda that they were pursuing. if you had a broad standard to which government laws had to overcome, that would inhibit, if not prevent, initiatives put forward by women advocacy groups and gay rights advocacy groups from being able to go forward. as their power mounted politically, that resulted in
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the congress which had previously passed the religious freedom restoration act overwhelmingly caused the support in congress to begin to wane. the broad bill was able to be passed through the house of representatives by a majority vote. but then it stalled coming over to the senate because of these political tensions. fast forward to the end of this chapter. the coalition had to go back to the drawing board. the statute that was passed is called the religious land use and institutionalized persons act. and only reinstates the compelling governmental interest dan beard with regard to categories of laws. land use because there was a lengthy pattern in this country where zoning and land-use laws
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have been used in a discriminatory fashion against houses of worship. if you want to use a zoning statute to try to prevent a church or synagogue from coming into your community, you have to meet this test. also institutionalized persons have had a unique set of issues. the coalition could not hold to reinstate the principles across all kinds of categories or issues -- health care, employment, so on and so forth. they could not hold that coalition together or that bipartisan support together to reassert that standard by the time we reached the year 2000. president clinton signed the more restrictive land-use institutionalized persons act into law before he left office.
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in this pattern can also be seen in another piece of legislation in the employment context which we worked on for many years. to protect religious people in the workplace. for many years, we were pursuing a religious freedom act amending an act of 1964 to reinstate a high level of protection for people of faith in the workplace. it would have encouraged and prodded and their employers to accommodate their religious needs in the workplace so individuals who have scheduling needs to observe religious holidays could be able to have their schedules shifted to accommodate their holiday schedules so people who need to wear religious clothing could wear that in the workplace. so conscience issues in the workplace or lawyers who do not
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want to work on death penalty cases or anybody else in between, if they had an objection -- they could not walk in and say "you need to let me off with no consideration whatsoever, " but it tilted the balance in favor of accommodation. this was founded on a bipartisan basis. john kerry and rick santorum. you did not see those two coming together very often. we had support left to right. it was again stymied by the same groups that identified before. by a women's advocacy groups who did not want to see accommodation for pharmacists in the pharmacies. they did not want to entertain the notion that a pharmacist could say, "i do not want to dispense morning after pills
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against my conscience." another pharmacist on duty would have provided it, filling the prescription. there would not have been any loss in that scenario. that was not acceptable. there were similar hypothetical or even real world objections from the gay rights community as loud. if you are a licensed clerk in the city of boston and you do not want to issue licenses for same-sex marriage couples, someone else at the desk and do it. your conscience is protected. legislation was stymied and stalled because of these tensions. the last example i want to give it is more recently what happened with one of the priorities of the gay rights community, called the employment
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nondiscrimination act which would ban discrimination in the private sector on the basis of sexual orientation. before 2006, when that legislation was introduced, year after year, it contained an exemption for religious employers. it said "this act shall not apply to religious employers." post-2006, the congressional elections changed and there was an emergence of greater political power. they took that one sentence exemption and they rewrote eight into three paragraphs. you do not dneed to be a lawyer to understand that turning it into three paragraphs makes it more complicated. they wanted to dramatically restrict the exemption for
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religious employers with regard to whether or not they could be on the hook for hiring or not hiring people on the basis of sexual orientation. we had to go through a legislative fight. we had to go to the hill and to others and say you cannot move this legislation forward without a proper exemption for religious institutions. we were able to prevail and have a more robust protection in theire. so we had a small victory there, but the legislation has not passed. the threats we see today of the issues that have been mentioned, these other things that are going on, unfortunately they are not unprecedented.
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they are a capstone on a trend that has been building. several years ago when joe lieberman was nominated to be vice president of the united states during the election, that was the first jewish american on a national presidential ticket. but it was also a capstone of many things that happened before hand in terms of how american jews have been accepted into american society. when steven briar several years before that was nominated to the supreme court of the united states -- breyer several years before he was nominated to the supreme court of the united states, nobody commented on the fact that there were going to be two justices on the supreme court. for decades, there was "1"
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jewish seat held. at that time, it was no big deal because it was a capstone on a trend. unfortunately, we are experiencing a capstone on a trend that has been building quietly in political circles on capitol hill and is now becoming more visible to the american public at large. i suppose there is a blessing in that. king solomon also famously wrote telling us that for everything there is a seasoned. he puts those passages in pairs. there is a time to build and a time to tear down. perhaps one of the messages in that is that things valuable in life, in situations where sometimes you take steps forward
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and sometimes you take steps back. sometimes you are in a creative mode and sometimes we are confronting a challenging or destructive mode. it is a tension that is natural to life that has to bring us forward. we have to realize that there are things in life and in the world that we cannot take for granted. life is going to be a time when we are going to be tearing down. it might be the case that for too long, many of us and america have taken an expansive view of religious liberty for granted. these threats, these dark clouds onthis increased visibility and increased debate and activism on its support of the half of
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religious liberty will help us appreciate us more and spur us to action, where not only can we defeat the challenges confronting us, but advanced religious liberty and make it more expensive for us and for generations to come. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, nathan. the next speaker is a public intellectual, and i mean that as a very high compliment. bill is a member of a diminishing breed of men and women who effectively combine advanced scholarly accomplishment with public engagement, even with practical effect of this and influence. he now holds a chair at perkins. he is a card-carrying academic political theorist. his 1991 book called "liberal
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purposes" is regarded as an important book and a contribution to the public discourse, regarded as an important book. it is under appreciated, not as widely regarded as the important work is. it is and it valuable contribution to our understanding of liberalism, because it is one of the very few books which any fool weight takes up the subject of what i would call the pearl perfectionism, perfectionist liberalism, and i think the book is absolutely important. bill is a public intellectual which means he gets around, and after he wrote the book on
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perfectionist liberalism, he was an adviser for president bill clinton. you could think him as, there is no secret that bill is a man of slightly left of center, so you could think of him as a counterpart to robert george who is conservative. you could think of bill as rob george without a banjo. [applause] >> but we have a jazz piano. i will focus my remarks on the recent statements of the u.s. catholic bishops concerning religious liberty, a document that in my judgment or its sustained reflection. in doing this, we have to do our best to decouple our inquiry from the overwrought plot mix of
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our polarized contemporary politics. the church in my judgment is not conducting a war on women, and the obama administration is not conducting a war on religion. there is instead a genuine disagreement over the respective roles of religious obligation and civil allaw. this disagreement takes place against the backdrop of an enduring fact. there's no guarantee that the requirements of citizenship and faith will prove fully compatible in a religiously diverse and non theocratic society, and there is disagreement about what to do when they come into conflict. i propose to examine the bishops' statement, not as an intervention in a political debate -- the bait, but as a document grounded in the interpretation of history and natural law as well as an empirical analysis of the current situation.
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i speak as you have heard as a political theorist, one has defended principle of next month feasible accommodation for the practices of faith-based organizations. as the clinton administration's point man on religious issues, as a critic of the obama administration's initial announcement of the coverage of contraceptive services, and as the co-author of a recent brookings report sympathetically considers the conscious-based here claims of health-care providers. nonetheless, many of you here will not sympathize with the argument i am about to make. i strongly suspect that i am not preaching to the choir. let me start with pope benedict's january 19 addressed to the u.s. bishops, on which the document i am discussing quotes. the pope sent this about the tens being made to limit the most cherished american freedoms, the freedom of religion. he expresses worries about
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concerted effort to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of catholic individuals and institutions with regard to corp. and intrinsically evil practices, and it also about a tendency to reduce religious freedom tamir freedom of worship without guarantees or respect for freedom of conscience. i suspect that most people whose right to build mosques -- i digress. as the pope is no doubt aware, while freedom of religion in deed is most cherished in the united states, it is far from absent, even in court matters of worse appeared free exercise the not entail the right to conduct a loud revival meeting at 2:00 a.m., nor would anyone argue that kind of religious free exercise extend the human sacrifice.
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when i was in the white house it was my sad duty to receive numerous allegations of christian scientists and to inform them that federal laws on child abuse and neglect trumped their consciences belief as to the form of medical care that their children should receive. there are some better civil concerns that the law may in force regardless of their defects on particular religions. the scope of these concerns is a matter of continuing debate. consider a famous episode in american history -- on october 29, 1919, the national which createdct the legal definition of intoxicating liquor and specify penalties for producing it, pass over president wilson's beetle and stood as the law of the land for to beat -- for 14 years. the act created a number exit --
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exemptions to the prohibition regime. one was the text that stated that nothing should be constrained as applying for wine for a second of the purposes or like religious rights, and it permitted the sale and transfer of rat but price of wine to officers do not authorized by churches and congregations. if the act had failed to exempt wind for second at the purposes, there would have been a fire storm and a first amendment challenge. would that challenge have succeeded? this is not a peripheral issue. the use of sacramental wine lies at the heart of more than one religion. the code of canon law of the catholic church describes the most holy sacrifice of the eucharist must be celebrated in brad and in wind to which a small quantity of water is to be added. for its part of our jewish law
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commands the drinking of wine during the passover seder, specifying not only the 4 cups, but a minimum quantity to be consumed, as anybody who has participated in the seder knows. copperheads a prohibition without exemptions would have prevented fateful jews and catholics from acting as their religion required. but as we have heard, when a parallel issue came before the court in 1990, antonin scalia famously authored a majority opinion holding that the ceremonial use of peyote in native american religious rights warranted -- did not warrant exemption from drug laws of general application. at the heart of this majority opinion the concern that such a combination creates a system in
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which each conscience is a law unto itself. the legislation -- legislature may write specific accommodations into law, but in the absence of provisions under law, individuals may not claimed exemption from the law as a matter of right. this principle applies that if congress had not included religious exemptions in the 1929 act, neither caps nor jews would have a valid first amendment claim against it. i have long argued that sculley a's opinion was deeply misguided. the court has not overruled it in the two decades since it was handed down. your actions it has sparked, not only the act of 1993 and of 2000, but also a well of judicial decisions at various levels of the federal system testify to the unresolved debate
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over the limits of the contras- based claims against brought legislation. this brings me back to the bishops' statement, which goes well beyond pope benedict iniki respect. while the purposes of claims of conscience, the bishops emphasized the distinction between conscientious objection and and and just wall. "conscientious objection permits some relief to those who object to a just law." and unjust wall no law at all. it cannot be ok. and the bishops insist that we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then catholics in america must have the courage not to obey them. to my mind this is a remarkable article on several levels. a difficulty clerks at the surface. in our society cannot agreement on what justice is an arm what it requires is incomplete.
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each individual or group is entitled to make a public argument about justice, and there is a place for civil disobedient, a place that i cherish. to avoid anarchy, public decisions about justice imbedded in law are entitled to substantial deference. as soon that an agreement on justice work more robust than it is. then what? most human walls fall short of perfect justice and are in some import respects and just. are we required to disagree -- debate all of them? surely principal -- is the center. we must do our best to weigh the bad against the bill appeared there are many catholics who believe the budget the house recently endorsed imposes unacceptable burden on the poor and violates
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or principles of social justice as understood in the catholic tradition. if that budget were to become law, with these capets be morally obligated to debate it? this brings us to the most remarkable feature of the bishops argument, there is a since the law is an unjust, we must disobey it. it is easy to accept a less demand for malaysian -- a less demanding, but there is a huge gap between may and must. the principle we are forbidden to participate in evil is far too broad. we participate in evil to some extent whenever our tax dollars support activities that violate what we believe to be just and right. are we obligated to stop paying taxes? here again principled decision making is required.
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the balance of justice and injustice in the act -- in the spirit of charity, i have saved for last what i regard as the weakest point in the bishops cases. when civil society institutions are intertwined with public programs, government will attach conditions. some of these may be bound to be at odds with particular faiths. there is room for argument about the to the mystique of requirements and scholars have developed a theory of unconstitutional conditions, acts that government may not require. the church could try to press the case that regulations reach this limit. the bishops do their case note favor by framing the government report as a straightforward violation of religious liberty. religious liberty is one thing.
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cooperation with the state is another. there are two cases to consider. first, when the church receives caesars money, it does not become got its money. it made be at caesars should refrain from attaching conditions from the receipt of public funds and encourage the widest participation in programs that advance the common good. for better or worse, that is caesar's decision. it is then up to civil society institution to decide whether it the conditions are too onerous to bear. second case, non-governmental organizations are usually allowed to pursue their chosen course using their own resources. but not always. for example, according all, no agency can refuse to authorize a perspective adoption because it objects to placements of a
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child across racial or ethnic lines. this is not in a condition imposed on the receipt of funds. it is rather pay civil rights provision rather -- whether or not money changes hands. since 1983, when the supreme court handed down its decision in the bob jones case, federal law has allowed the internal revenue system to withdraw tax- exit status from an institution practicing racial discrimination. in the decision signed by eight justices of the court ruled that institutions seeking tax exempt status must not only serve the public purpose, but do so in ways that are not contrary to established public policies, that serve the public interest, and are not grossly at odds with what the eight-member majority called common community conscience. many religious organizations take the position that opposing st.-6 adoption cannot be
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equated with opposing comparable interracial activities. as a matter of fact, that is mostly correct for now. some states have already moved to settle the issue in favor of sing-sex couples and more than not are likely to follow. there is no guarantee that public opinion will converge on what justice requires. the conscience of the community as often erred. there are compelling reasons within modern states to carve out protective spaces for dissenting voices. in the end, the tension between the walls of the state and the demands of faith cannot be faithfully resolved. it can only be managed, which means that understanding and goodwill on both sides are essential. these are scarce virtues and our divided times. i conclude with a probably
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forlorn plea for another scare'' a virtue, a virtue essentials to public and private life, namely, a sense of proportion. yes, the obama administration in my view got it wrong with its initial foray into the inundation of the affordable care act. unprecedented threats? what about the mormon church, which the federal government of the united states mercilessly pounded for decades, finally into other legal distinction -- extinction put our about efforts to outlaw parochial schools? what about the split decision itself? what about the other side of the story come ongoing efforts to reverse and redress threats to religious liberty, the religious freedom restoration act, the religious plant used and institutionalized persons act? recent cases defend an expense
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of understanding of religious liberty. what about the brief recently submitted by notre dame university, that the contraception mandate regulation is a violation of rifra? i think it is and i expect federal courts will so rule. this is hardly the first clash between religious or renovations and the activities of the modern state. it will not be the last. it is not a fatal disease. it is a chronic condition that we are fated manage as best we can. thank you. [applause]
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>> thanks for that awful remarks. -- the thoughful remarks. most of the people on the panel are believers, and i note you are thinking of caffeine or the restroom, and it may be tired of listening to people speak, but we do have some time left, what i propose to do in the half-hour before we have to break, we have to break for lunch in a timely way. one or more of the panelists have appointments for the lunchtime, so we are going to end on time. what i propose is that we have the panelists an opportunity to have at at each other. i hope to have a conversation across the podium, and i have a few remarks to make, which are occasioned by the conversation
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to this minute and then we will go to questions from the audience. hearing no of jensen's, we will proceed in that -- objections, we were proceed in that fashion. one of the benefits of going last is whenever prepared remarks i had -- my thoughts have been enriched by conversation today. it might be most helpful if i could add the following perception, one which i think has been referred to in the course of the conversations, but not developed. it is it a step back to take a measure of the nature of the threat to religious liberty at hand. there has been -- bill spoke about the bishops claim that there is an unprecedented threat or intrusion into religious liberty at hand. that is true, but unprecedented is a little word. the real question is in what way
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or ways is the threat today different more serious than other threats? let me take a look it that, for the following reason, that because either of the following three events will make conversation disputes about moot.eshh on june 29 the supreme court will result about the lawsuit about "obamacare" in general. if they decide it is inseparable from the individual mandate, then all of the act will be invalidated, and with that, the hhs mandate. or the first tuesday in november, but there is a present romney extra, there will be no more hhs mandate, or failing
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those to possibilities for repeal, the lawsuits on file will be in the supreme court and i agree with bill. think this is what he was saying, the mandate stand in peril of being invalidated by the courts. that is a very strong possibility. my judgment is that it would be difficult for the administration lawyers to convince the court that the mandate never exception is the least restrictive means of achieving the administration possible, assuming that the goal is a company -- compelling state interest. i will read you the words of the president of every 10 -- this is the heart of the aim of the bad it. every woman should be in control of decisions that affect her own health. whatever you think of that goal,
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it seems to be double and even assuming a court deems a compelling -- in light of what has been set up by a couple of our speakers about the seeming casualness of the adoption of the mandate by the hhs secretary and her advisers, they have no means of achieving the goal of assuring that every woman is in charge of her health. my judgment is that the administration lawyers will see this and contest the mandate cases on a different grounds. the best hope for the administration is to say this is not a substantial burden, the administration has backed off enough that it is not making the churches or the institutions pay for or provide the contraception, sent it is not a substantial burden. that will be a hard sell. the mandate will go away, sooner
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or later, hopefully sooner. it is the product that more than one of our speakers set of underlying forces, but underlying choices, convictions, aims, or purposes. dr. land use the word "orthodoxy." nathan used the term "capstone" of trends. it has been lackadaisical about them mandate. it was not like she was sleepwalking. inherent in divots is a product of the fact that the mandate is aimed at the narrow exemption were easy calls for her, that given the body of commitments that she holds, it was not hard to see that the mandate should be what it is and the exemption
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should be what it is. i will not pursue this further, but i will make two points about what is new in the administration's view of religious liberty. let me put aside for the development of this emerging orthodoxy about what could be called sexual equality or sexual freedom, sexual something, which would include contraception, abortion, incest, marriage. this is an emerging orthodox efforts which many people would have occupied almost fully the public square. i am not want to say more about that. religious liberty -- bill is quite right that if unprecedented is heard to be the biggest or the largest of magnitude in some very flat- footed way is quite right. this is not the worst that has ever happened. it is bigger than some of his examples and possibly worse things because this is a federal
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mandate, unlike the oregon law which would have put business out of business in the 1920's root this is a state action. they were not sweeping national requirements. this mandate being a national norm looks for competition elsewhere. on some basic measure of magnitude the mandate is not a competitor for the worst title. the federal government's scrawling campaign, about the native american indians. no doubt the government must campaigns were larger and more pointed attempt to extricate a
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religion, but they are different. they're different in important ways. they're worse than this mandate, but they are different. in both instances bothlds and american indians, the attack on religion was a small part of a wider campaign by the government, against dormant the accuracy, on the outside of or against -- but the government was trying to establish effective political control over lds church members and instead .f attacking zion you might say the government was trying to introduce separation of church and state. indians believed that spiritual properties in happen things. the government had nothing to say about that, but the campaign was against tribal social order
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as an impediment to the indian'' integration into american life. it is a government campaign that was to americanize cannot assimilate, christianized the indians was the same thing. they are different. they are big campaigns to assimilate a body of people totally. they are old. now we are talking about something that is happening 50 years into the institutional as asian and american law and culture of a kind of religious pluralism, and we live in an era about much different ideas about religious freedom and about the scope of the term religion. it is an uncharacteristic, unusual, anomalous, maybe not unprecedented, for this kind of thing to happen now, have a nationwide impact on hundreds of
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religious institutions. here they point to two things that are happening with their understanding of religious liberty, not saying that these ebelius, buted by s they reflect the following to judgments. following two judgments. one, that the dissent about sexual fulfillment as being anti-contraception or anti-same- sex marriage, or the pro-life argument, increasingly identified with religion. if it is not reasonable to oppose contraception, but people do oppose contraception. that is one thing in motion.
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it is a marginal causation of a certain set of viewpoints which may be quite widespread. the second of the two steps is a religion -- is religion -- these and the use of branded as a product of mindless bias or prejudice or religion. religion being a species of bias. i will not fend off any of your counterclaims. i think what is happening is a body of people with certain moral views about controversial issues are being told by outsiders, "that is your religion." and your doctor and tenets of
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your religion are not reasonable. in a strange sense, they might be true but they are rationally indefensible. they do not have any attraction on the public's fear. so, religion and doctrine thereof is being squished into this space reserved beyond the rational because that is one thing. naturally it follows the thought that the view i am describing behind the mandate and other initiatives about religious institutions. what is their value from the point of view of the public? or from the point of view from the political common good? institutions like catholic hospitals, universities, social services of all sorts. what is their value to the
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community? it would look to me and other is that the value is limited. it is small, indispensable. here is where i would remark upon the apparent casualness by which the administration adopted the very, very narrow exemption to exclude these religious institutions. it seems to me that the exemption reflects the view that these organizations have a value to the people who are operating them, religious value, because they have the kind of religious motivation for them and the religious satisfaction for them. these are private delights'.
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so far, so good you might say but that is just private. from the public square, it seems to me that the value of these institutions allies with their secular services. the hospitals are doing a good job healing people or the kids in the catholic grade schools have good test scores. that is pretty much it. it paints a picture about these organizations which i think works for many people behind the mandate. religion has a value in these places privately. public is identified with secular service delivery. from the public, the strictly religious nature of these institutions, the religious component as such is in visible. i think that is what is happening and is deeply mistaken. a highly secularized valuation
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of these ministries. i think that is unprecedented. we could say a lot more about the campaigns against lds in the 19th century. a recurring motif is the mainstream -- now more secularized putting it to the catholics especially their grade schools. there is a lot more to be said. whether one is worse than the other. they are all different painting this i think is unprecedented, this way of viewing religious ministries, the low valuation of them i think is at work and i do not think i have ever seen it in any other time in american history. please, i urge you, because of limited time, say what you wish.
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comment, question, criticism. please do so in less than 60 seconds or less so we can get more people to the microphones. there are microphones on either side of the room. i am urging you to give more people a chance to speak. yes? >> thank you. i am a legislator in arizona and i sponsor legislation to allow employers to opt out of the birth control mandate. it was very controversial. i was attacked on a personal basis. as legislators, we did pass it. my question to you is is there a network -- and i am hoping we can form it today -- that state legislators can call upon to help us? back us up.
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i was attacked in the media. it was pretty brutal. we did a good job of defending it. it would be great to have people like you who could back us up that we could refer the media to. >> i think one of the takeaways from this conference we hope is the beginnings of a network and resources that you are describing. for that, go to brian walsh for details. >> fantastic. >> i am a state senator from colorado. i want to thank you all for your efforts and being here and your comments. it was a delight to hear your thoughts on this topic. my question is when all of you all tended to speak about the case with the solicitor general can before the courts and made the argument that religious
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institutions did not have the protections to be able to pick their own leadership. you said it was unprecedented. 9-0.lost 9-1 or i'm sorry why is it that you think they took that case all the way to the supreme court? was it a political agenda? or was it a legal agenda? oftentimes, we see legal activists take cases before the court to push decades or more down the road their agenda. what is your answer to that? >> it is hard to know what their calculation was but it was obviously misguided. i think that there is miscalculation in taking such an aggressive position in their
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litigation strategy backfired when two obama appointees on the court agreed with the 9-0 opinion. i am not sure what pushed them into that position. although i would say it is fairly consistent with their position in the hhs mandate when you look at how they drew the test, their second line of attack was basically if there is an exception it should be limited to those employees who perform exclusive religious functions. in the opinion that came out from the court on which all of the justices agreed to, it said we can think of no such employees. they do not exist. you have written an exclusively religious functions test to determine what religious employees should be protected under this doctrine. it is an empty sect.
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i think that strategy is reflected similarly in the hhs mandate case where they have drawn the extension so narrowly that it does little better, covers some, but it covers such a vastly narrow group of religious organizations and effectively denies religious liberty to a much larger group that enjoyed that liberty previously. i think a is a fairly consistent -- i will give them some points for consistency. it is a fairly consistent strategy to put forward arguments that are so extreme that they are narrow in protecting anyone as a matter of substance. >> nathan and dthen richard. >> i have good news and bad news for you. the good news is this particular case was started under the
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federal equal opportunity employment commission. they are an independent agency. the initial decisions about them stepping in and taking the case were made in a regional office out in the country. i am fairly confident without a strategy by someone back in washington. i know that from my involvement in the case and discussions. there was a grand strategy in that regard. but once they got to the top and to the place where the eoc is coming to the supreme court represented by the justice department, and the arguments that were made there, that is where it was commented on before by gerry and others, that the mindset of the administration is that when a kick in and the extreme position was put
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forward and thankfully was repudiated by the full court. >> i think it was not a grand strategy as much as it was revelatory of their mindset. this administration -- you compare this administration with the clinton administration, and if it is far more monolithic in its secular mindset -- and is far more monolithic and its secular mind set. i will give you an example. one of mr. obama's appointments to the eeoc is a georgetown university law professor who has written a law journal article saying whenever the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people collide with religious liberty beliefs and right, the rights of religious people must give way.
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to the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. i would say that is out of sync with the general public is and is one that is inherently hostile to religion. i find the obama administration on this particular issue to be monolithic. >> next question, the gentle man on my left. >> first of all, i would like to say the first piece of legislation to block the lawsuit against president obama's health care bill. we are also right now on our primary ballot in a few months will be hearing legislation trying to bring back prior to our public schools. my wife and i went to a graduation at harry s. truman in the state of missouri.
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that was held in an auditorium in independence at a church of latter-day saints. it was at the world headquarters building. they started out that commencement with a moment of reflection. no prayer. do you think that has to do with the church and what they are allowed to do in that building? or do you think it is a failure of the high school? they skip a moment of reflection at the end of the ceremony completely. >> part of that curious arrangement of activities reflects what the law permits. people thought that would be invalid by a court.
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you could be right about that. other than that, i do not know what would cost local school authorities to do what they did. -- would cause local school authorities to do what they did. does that sound right? >> we are trying to fix that. hopefully we will fix that in the next primary election. >> it strikes me that two features are running through that we seem to be avoiding which make them unprecedented to other controversies of religious freedom in america bank the first broadly indicated, that they almost all involve a new kind of sexual radicalism which we are seeing throughout the western world and the world
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which is i think something we should be addressing. it is very aggressive. the second feature which maybe not quite as obvious is many of these threats are from the increase in its scope of government over private life. most obvious in the case of the health care mandates, but you could make the same case of marriage and other issues. the government is expanding its scope over things normally held in private life. should we be expending this discussion to encompass these larger developments? rather than the narrow question of religious freedom. >> ok. who is first? >> well, let me focus on your second point. very briefly. i think you are right.
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the question is how do we evaluate this expansion. let me give you a couple of examples. a couple of generations ago, more recently than that, spousal abuse was considered to be a private matter. we have changed our minds about that. the government is more interested. is that a bad thing? we can discuss that. similarly, until a generation ago, there was no governing legislation dealing with questions of child abuse and neglect. now there is. it is not perfect. i would argue we are better off as a society because it exists. this really just continues the theme of my opening remarks,
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that it is not in so facto a good thing if government expands or retracts its reach. we have to attend to the particular issues at stake. i think when we do that, we will come out with a decidedly nuanced view of the expansion of government and demand from government to retreat. >> anybody else on this question? >> i think that one of the most dangerous trends to our freedom is the weathering of civil society. and where government goes in, civil society tends to proceed. i would take catholic hospitals and charitable organizations as part of a civil society. i do not think it is helpful to freedom for the society for
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catholic charities or adoption agencies to be forced to pull out of the state because they will not placed children with same-sex couples which is what they had to do in massachusetts. there are some who believe the government wants to whether these civil societies. for instance, under the stimulus package, all student loans are now run by the government. i think that is a bad idea. i would rather take my chances with a bank than the federal government. when it comes to sex or radicalism, i do not think there is any question that it is a huge issue. when it comes to sexual politics, it is almost uniquely intolerance of any dissenting view.
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i think we need to appreciate and nurture mediating institutions in civil society between individuals and the government. not wither them. >> i agree with your second point, that the increasing reach of government into the relationship of private action is partly what is going on here. to respond to something said a little bit earlier, i think reasonable people can disagree on how much autonomy religious organizations should have when they receive federal funding. i just want to clarify and make it very clear that the hhs mandate has nothing to do with federal funding whatsoever. at applies to every employer whether or not they receive federal funding. even if you are a religious
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social-service organization and every one of your dollars comes from private funding, this mandate still applies to you. it is a red herring. >> i distinguish two cases, one .f whic i included the funding argument for the sake of descriptive completeness without arguing whether it was the appropriate frame to argue the hhs mandate. >> thank you, finally, once again to all of the participants and the audience. a good number to close on. we do have to retire for lunch. >> can i ask a question? my question is religious liberty of particular cases because it helps me understand the dynamic. i really appreciate the
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discussion this morning. if a woman had a bed-and- breakfast and she did not want to rent to a gay couple or a lesbian couple if they were there for a weekend holiday, and she were forced to do that for discrimination laws, would that be a violation against her religious liberty? second, if it were the same woman and she did not believe in pre-marital sex and a heterosexual couple came and she chose not to rent to them, where with the law stand on that? the other one is what if it were the marriott corp. and mr. marriott did not believe and a homosexual couple sharing a bedroom? how do you figure it out? >> the constitution -- the
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national framework of basic law would be pretty far in the background. the question is whether local or state laws make specific prescriptions about public accommodation. it probably will exclude ms. murphy's boarding house. again, that is not something drawing itself from the constitution but in the statute. that is the short answer and all i have time for now. it varies on what the local law says. >> those were precisely the kinds of issues that made the coalition i described fracture when we were trying to replace the religious liberty restoration act with a statute. what was interesting is again you had liberal organizations who were in the
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coalition who were on record then and now being on the progressive end and so on and so forth, they all wanted by and large a broad statute or standard put in place on the get your dayou'd in court, so to speak, and would likely be the case that any discrimination principles would be determined to be a compelling state interest and there is a limited amount of ways you could serve that interest. probably more often than not, the people who would be subject to that discrimination would win the day. religious liberty would have to give way on most of the cases. but it was still the case that the folks committed to those
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progress of civil rights values still thought nonetheless that the higher standard of religious liberty should be put into law and we should take its case by case. from my point of view, it was the view of other proponents of those civil rights agendas who felt like we do not give religious liberty a day in court and possibly lose every once in awhile. we do not even want to have that conversation which is unfortunately the chasm that exists in this arena. >> thank you. >> you are invited to eat in here. you are invited to grab what you wish and come back in here to eat. we are going to resume our conversation at called a " 30 or soon thereafter. -- at 12:30 or soon thereafter.
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thank our speakers for a wonderful conversation. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> taking a break from its religious freedom conference. the conference will resume at about 12:30 eastern. we will have live coverage for you then here on c-span. until then, we will bring you a discussion from earlier on pluralism. speakers were introduced by the head of ethics and public policy center's religious program.
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>> it is my pleasure to welcome those who are attending here at the four seasons in washington and my pleasure to welcome those who are watching on c-span and other television networks. today's conference is entitled "rising threats to american religious freedom." i am the executive director of the american religious freedom program. it is wonderful to have such a great turnout this morning and so much energy in the room. i think that is a testament to the importance of the topic that we are addressing. we have an outstanding lineup of speakers and panelists and sessions today. i will briefly preview those in a moment. i would like to say a few words
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about the program. our focus -- we are dedicated to protecting and strengthening america's god-given religious freedoms. we are committed to the idea that religious freedom belongs to all americans equally regardless of religion, politics, or ideology. we believe it should continue to extend protections to every single piece full religious practice. the vast majority of americans agree with us on this. many americans have been confused of decades of angry or anti-religious litigation. this litigation has made a shambles out of constitutional law on religious freedom. this activism has help delegimatize public life. the job of the program is to
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help educate americans of all faith about the importance of religious freedom. we are a nation of millions of members. the fact that we enjoyed remarkable, peaceful plurals pluralism is in part because of this nation's religious freedoms. our history is not perfect binding it is nonetheless an exemplary and has enabled us to avoid much of the conflicts that have plagued nations around the world. our job include informing americans of the nature and the extent of these freedoms. i just want to mention briefly that our website is www.religiousfreedom.org. part of our efforts and initiatives will be to have a
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robust social media strategy. our speakers today will address the increasing threat to religious freedom that are rising from overreaching government officials who are enacting policies and mandates that have inadequate protections for religious freedom. amazingly, a broad array of work has been done over the years by our allies and future friends, many of whom are their members of many faiths. they're working through religious institutions, law firms, academic programs, and others. we hope to serve as a force to connect anyone who wants to preserve religious freedom.
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we also hope that some evidence of this united work is apparent. the religious diversity among the speakers and attendees is one reason we are so optimistic about the prospects for our strategy for legislative action in 50 states. when we commissioned a national survey in november, we found that 95% of america believe that enabling all people of all faiths to have the freedom to believe that practice what religion they choose is one of the main regions america was founded -- reasons america was founded. it is almost universally shared. this is one government officials -- this is why government officials can never said that is what they're doing. some officials are for higher taxes and some said they are for lower. some advocate more spending on national defense and some for less. no american leader can admit
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they're willing to limit religious freedom. they know the american people are almost uniformly opposed to that idea. that is one of the great advantages of religious freedom over into-religious activists. let me turn to a brief mention of our sessions. physician two is moderated by a daughter dame law professor. he will focus on the threats -- by a noted dame law professor. he will focus on the threats to religious freedom. session three will talk about the face to protect our freedoms. session four will be moderated by the former u.s. secretary, who is administrator of the epa and a governor of utah. that session will focus on
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legislative action to constrain overreaching officials. finally, our final session will be defending the 200-year tradition of religious diversity where u.s. service members and veterans -- as i mentioned, this conference is not just about education. it is about action. you'll hear about the need to take action in most of the sessions. the most important action is our strategy to promote what is the affected. i want to thank you for joining us. i am confident throughout the day that we will have great discussions about religious freedoms. i will start by apologizing that we will have very brief introductions because there is no way to do justice to everybody that has helped with these accomplishments.
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this is the visiting associate prof. at georgetown university. he directed -- mission is to bring religious freedom to light. what can we do about the crisis? the process involves a team of scholars, conferences, policy complications. please join of me in welcoming him. [applause] >> thank you. congratulations to you and the american religious freedom program for holding this conference. i am honored to have been given two tasks this morning. to introduce dr. robert jordan
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friday issues. the first will be a pleasure and a second less so. my message to you is one of somber realism. let me begin by placing the american landscape in the broader context. we are in the midst of a global crisis in religious liberty. one with significant consequences to the u.s. and all people. outside the west where religious belief and practice are widespread, the problem is that religious freedom has never been implemented in the law or culture. the wellsprings for religious freedom have dried up. the decline of religion has undermined respect for religious liberty. only in america and is there a rout of religious freedom that remains embedded in law and culture.
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here and only here there remains substantial numbers of leaders, scholars, and ordinary citizens who understand their religious liberty is vital to economic and political stability. even in america, serious challenges have amounted over the last years. the challenges that will undermine the american system of religious liberty should we fail to respond with intelligence and wit. the stakes are high. two exhaustive reports -- is the research center recently concluded that 70% of the world's population lives in countries in which religious freedom is severely restricted either by government or by social private actors. that is almost three out of four people on the planet. the problem is getting worse, not better.
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between the first report in 2009 and the second in 2011, the situation deteriorated. over all, of the 70 nations with high as restricted of religious freedom, most of those are non- western muslim majority. of all the groups, christians came out on top. they are harassed in 130 countries, muslims 117. what about the rest? quite amazingly, europe, compared with all other areas as the largest proportion of nations in which hostility to a religion is rising. social hostilities in the united kingdom increased so much that the u.k. now stands in the country of iran and saudi arabia in the category of high social hostility toward religion. that is quite extraordinary.
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it is fair to say their religious freedom is not a very well in lands where it was first conceived. what has happened in europe is not approaching the levels of violence that we see elsewhere. torture. unjust imprisonment. unjust execution. and yet, the root cause is similar. the belief that religious freedom is that only not necessary for human flourishing of social development, but that it poses a threat to these and other goods. of course, in the modern era, religious freedom always poses a threat to tyrants. today, rigid his liberty is undermined -- religious liberty is undermined by democratic majorities. democracy is not fixed or permanent. each is an experiment in liberty that rests in part on its protection of religious freedom in full. what did the u.s. agreed to the
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crisis? what our our our challenges? i want to draw your attention to three recent propositions that will set the stage for our deliberations today. first, in his march, 2009 speech at notre dame, president obama proposed the following idea -- "it is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what god asks of us. " as it was pointed out, the president denied that religion contains any element of rationality. any basis for knowing anything. for example, that god exists. that each of us as equal in his eyes or that to kill an innocent human being is wrong. the second possible position -- proposition was put together by hillary clinton. she describes the content of the university -- "to fulfil their
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potential, people must be free to worship. to assemble and to love in the way they choose." the third proposition occurred in august of 2010. judge walker overturned a referendum that had offered no law that marriage is a unit between one man and one woman. he declared the results of this referendum unconstitutional. in part on the grounds of the reasons in favor of marriage and against same-sex unions were based on "religious and moral values." listen carefully. powerful members of our political class are arguing that there is no rational content of religion. religious freedom means the right to gather and worship, but not to bring religiously informed moral judgments into life. religious freedom must be balanced by the right to love as
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one chooses. to make rights against that is unconstitutional. these propositions are not embedded in american law and culture. they are well along the road. to the extent they succeed, they will represent their rejection of religious freedoms. in 1786, james madison wrote that our rights -- we all got. this duty is present in all the claims of civil society. most nations have in place mechanisms of course to decide to ensure that men pursue their duty towards god. in one of history's great turning points, madison we said in a different direction. he insisted its men fulfilled their obligations towards god, they must have freedom. especially freedom from the course of powers of the state. this duty, he wrote, which we
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owe our creator, in a matter of our discharging it, can be covered only by reason in convicted, not by compulsion of violence. therefore, all men are equally entitled to the full and free exercise of it according to the dictates of conscience. unpunished and unrestrained by the ministry. to the founders, this right to religious freedom was vital to the individual, but also to civil and political society. george washington said -- "of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are the dispensable supports." salemme -- some addition religious freedom as the right to worship and the right to moral judgments merril to life. in their view, democracy would fail.
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the challenge before us is that this understanding has been who arguey many of that faith is a motive in faith based moral judgments have no legitimate role in public life. these views present a clear and present danger to our system of religious liberty and to our democracy, itself. i would also suggest that the global crisis in religious freedom threatens america's vital national interests. democracy cannot route. violent religious extremism is likely to be incubated and exported. this is why our foreign policy as required to advance religious freedom. is it any surprise that in our own confusion of disarray, we have proven in that in doing so? so, you have much to consider today. the stakes are high. there is great reason for hope. it lies in reason that this
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course. religious and otherwise. by men and women of courage. you are about to hear one such man who is at the center of this project. it is my pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker, professor robert george. he is under the james madison program at princeton university and holder of the prestigious mccormick award. he is renowned in the u.s. and around the world is one of the profound thinkers of our time. in march of this year, professor george give to georgetown university to give the keynote address at a conference organized by my own industry. his address drew a large crowd and was well received. later that night, i heard him carry his thinking into one of the most extraordinary conversations i have ever heard. the conversation occurred before an audience of catholics,
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protestants, muslims, people of other states, people of no faith at all. each listed as he discussed religious freedom with one of the most influential muslims in the u.s. the conversation highlighted not only the national arguments that i suspect he will hear shortly, but it elicited an argument for religious freedom drawing on the theological and philosophical tenets of islam. it was fascinating. the video with the viral. watch it on our website. one final footnote -- the grandson of immigrant coal miners is a guitarist in the styles of jerry reed. he is a bluegrass banjo player. [laughter] he led a country and bluegrass robby george andpea
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friends. please welcome the banjo playing professor, robert george. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you. now that i have been outbid by my friend as a bluegrass banjo player, i should at least assure you that i came by it honestly. i was born in west virginia and brought up there. bluegrass band shows are issued to baby boys at birth. [laughter] some of you might have heard of west virginia. it has been in the news recently. last tuesday's primary where 41% of the vote went to a convict in a federal prison. president obama did prevail. he got 59% of the votes. i am very grateful to my friend
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for that generous and kind introduction. i also want to express my gratitude to brian walsh for the leadership he has provided. a special word of thanks to the matthew -- to matthew frank. he is that a great leader in this movement. and, above all, i want to thank my dear friend and colleague, governor mike leavitt with whom i have been working now for many months. especially on building the american religious freedom project. i know you are out there. i salute you. i want you to know what a pleasure and honor it is to work with you. [applause] most of this conference will be devoted to a timely and
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practical and urgent matter. i want to watch our deliberation by stepping back a little bit and providing the kind of theoretical anchor for the discussions that will go on later that day with our distinguished speakers and panelists. to do that, i want to take us back to the 19th century. and johnrt mill's henry newman were the greatest english intellectuals of their time. both for a man of deep and wide the learning and profound intelligence. both wrote powerful defenses of freedom. mills defense was in the form of an essay. many of you have read it. if nowhere else than in your college introduction to philosophy or political philosophy courses. he defended what he described
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as one very simple principle. as entitled to govern and the exercise of coercion whether by the state or by private parties and weather in the form of the coercion of physical force or the moral coercion of public opinion. this has been described as his principal. that is how it has come to be known. it states that the sole legitimate justification for coercion against another is to prevent harm to others. non- consenting third parties. or second parties. the principal roles and out of bounds the use of coercion against a person by his actions pose no threat of harm to others, whether the possible motivation for using coercion is sheer disapproval of the conduct or the desire to improve him or benefit him in some way,
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morally or otherwise. in other words, the harm principal functions as a kind of anti-paternalism. even some scholars who are generally sympathetic to mills, such as the late hlh harter of oxford, believe that his principle, which is neither one for simple, is too sweeping and rules of paternalistic reasons for limiting liberty to bradley. more conservative scholars, i among them, have been even more skeptical and critical. for our purposes today in this conference on religious freedom and rights to religious freedom, and i am less interested in the scope or breath of the principal or with its content and with its ground.
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what provides the moral basis for respecting people's liberty? what is the ground of that obligation to respect the liberty of others? nils tonight hide them. i forgo any advantage to my argument, he says, to be had by appealing to abstract right considered independent of utility. it is, he insists, utility that must govern in all cases of morally significant choosing. of course, he is well known as a utility. . the first -- utility. . -- utilitarian. he derided the idea of natural rights as nonsense on stilts. he grabs the principle of liberty and the obligation to
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respect the liberty in the belief that respect for liberty will come in its consequence, the net beneficial -- b net beneficial to whom? or to what? to the community? which community? local? the nation? the international community? he does that exactly say. but, he does say this -- the concept of utility, which he views as the crown for respecting liberty, the concept that must govern as the criteria of morality in our choosing, the ground of our moral obligation including the obligation to protect liberty must be utility in a very broad sense. "as founded on the concept of man, as a progressive being. ."
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that is the utility that has to be at the foundation of all of our more thinking and acting. including our moral obligation to respect the liberty in line with -- man is a progressive being. no two things about mills defense of liberty, whether it is freedom of speech or freedom of religion, which i think it is fair to say interests him a good deal less rechecked or any of their freedom. the ultimate basis of the moral claim of freedom is social benefit. utility. his view of humanity is imbued with 19th century optimism and belief in progress. man is naturally good. it is cultural and personal maturity, well over all -- he
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will do the right thing. men and women, a courtly and individually, will learn what conduces to have been is and what does not. -- to have been is and what does not. free of superstitions, liberated to be the progressive being that by nature he is, he will florida. -- flourish. bill embraces an idea of the religion of humanity, which is quite different than the revealed religions that traditional religions, including christianity, that bill leaves behind. the old moral some superstitions presenting -- preventing men -- time and now, were in their
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spirit. they impede our full flourishing and self realization. free to do as they please, free to do whatever they want to do, so long as it does not harm others. men and women will come on the whole, what to do good and productive things. utility enhancing things. things that will renown to the benefits of all. i began my own academic career by writing several articles and a book that were severely critical of the concept in defense of liberty. frankly, i see no reason to alter any of the criticisms that i made. i want to suggest to you that milk was not completely wrong even from the point of view of a critic like myself. the naive optimism in
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progressivism, they were wrong. the utilitarianism, that was wrong, too. the christian philosophical anthropology mill regarded as a relic of superstitious ages have proven to be far more plausible and reliable than the alternative that mill excepted. before he came onto the scene, james madison was right. in embracing that anthropology at the basis of the new political science and on which the american republic would be billed. utility. and other forms of consequential is some -- this does not square with reality. the basic aspects of human well- being and fulfillment constitutes in to go foraging for human beings.
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they are reducible neither to each other nor to common factors. these human goods, though they all provide more than merely instrumental reasons for choices and actions, they are partially constituent of all our all around well-being. they are interested rather than merely instrumental goods. our -- there are good not in some sense of being constituted by the same substance but manifest differently, but only in in in a logical sense. they differed substantially in substance than what they actually are. as distinct and irreducible the vengeance of our flourishing and for filaments, and as both elements of our capacity as human persons. -- fulfillments of our capacity as human persons.
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consequential is described this as the production of the net best proportion of benefits to harm. i do not think any of that works. where was he right? he was right, in my opinion, in forgoing any appeal to right. and looking for the moral ground of liberty. in a consideration of the well- being and fulfillment, the flourishing of human beings. i think that is right. people have rights, including the right to liberty. including the right to religious liberty. because there are human goods, human values, purposes that not only conduce to, but constitute our flourishing. the defense of any particular
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liberty, including the freedom of religion, requires the identification in that sense of the human goods. the basic aspects of human well- being and fulfillment. that liberty secures corporate tax or advances -- secures a corporate tax or it did says. last time i have the honor of being introduced by tom farr, that was the conference he referred to. i offered, in my formal presentation, a detailed account in defense of religious freedom as necessary for the protection of the human good of religion. considered as the active quest for spiritual truths and the conscientious effort to live with integrity and with all its intensity in line with one's best judgment regarding the sources of meaning and value.
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and, at the same time, to fulfill one's obligation in spiritual matters in both the private and public dimensions of one's life. tom is absolutely right. critical to the very constant religious freedom, is the right not only to act in private in a church or mosque or synagogue or of the family dinner table in prayer or on your knees next to the bed in the evening, but to act in the public square and to bring one's religious moral judgments into the public square to compete on fair terms of a gauge with. with a range of other religious and non-religious views. for the allegiance of one's fellow citizens with whom one even in disagreement is sharing
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the common project of attempting to advance and secure the common good. john stuart mill was not really interested in religious freedom. though, he did not disdain it. he thought the freedom of religion was important. the trouble was, i think, that he had a tin ear for religion. his harm principle would extend to religious activity and practices, but i doubt he viewed these as having much value. they would eventually wither away in an age of freedom, since freedom ring said lachemann. little reason to doubt that in the published three essays on
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religion that were written in the 1850's. not published until after his death in the early 1870's. his stepdaughter brought them out with a publication. they did a bit of damage, even at the time, to his reputation as a strict secularist. nevertheless, i think what i just said is true. he did have something of a tin ear for religion, at least for religion in the traditional sense. and so, he had no appreciation or very little appreciation of its value. the right to religious freedom is never did anything particular about the good of religion. the right to religious freedom is just a specification of a general right to liberty as captured in the harm principle. that is rounded on the concept of utility commission is a
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progressive being. john henry newman did not have a tin ear for religion. he was a religious genius. it is understanding of religion that fabled -- enabled him to produce freedom of conscience. it was profoundly superior to mills and for which we today, including us today, have a great deal to learn. account of freedom, especially presented in his letter to the do, does not appeal to the abstract rights, but does -- is grounded in the human excellence. unlike mill, newman had the immense advantage of believing in human fallen this. christian faith knows that as an original sin. its spirit his naive optimism in
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human progress. moreover, a serious question, and utility. approach to world decisionmaking has no appeal whatsoever to newman. it is off the table. he speared the errors -- spirit the errors that came by the way anis,.litari m on the supreme importance of several freedoms as conditions for the realization of values that truly our constituents tiv of the integral flourishing of men and women as free and rational creatures, at creatures created in the very image of likeness of god. newman's dedication to the rights of conscience for all is
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well known. even after his conversion to catholicism, he famously toasted the pope, but conscience first. if we must bring religion into after dinner toasts, we must -- i toste the po. i toste conscience first. our obligation to follow consciences was primary and even overriding. is there a duty to honor the teachings of the pope? yes. to be short. newman would form that with all of his heart. if they conflict were to arise such that conscience commanded that one follow 80s and inconsistent with what the pope said -- follow a teaching inconsistent with what the pope
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said, it must prevail. many a contemporary dissenting liberal or progressive catholic would be tempted right there to on, brother >" ." but only if they did not know the rest of the story. the most powerful the tender of conscience, he held the view of conscience that could not be more at odds with the liberal ideology that is dominant, orthodox come in the contemporary secular intellectual culture and in those sectors of religious communities that have fallen under his influence. let us let newman speak for himself. for he had already identified, in the 19th century, the tendency of thought about rights, liberty, and conscience, which would become the secular
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liberal orthodoxy in our own time. "conscience has rights because it has duties. in this age with a large portion of the public, it is the very right and freedom of conscience to dispense with conscience. conscience is a stern monitor. the in this century, it has been superseded by a counterfeit, which in the 18th centuries prior to it, had never been heard of and could not have been mistaken for it if they had." it is the righ of self will. " conscience is the very opposite of autonomy, self will come in the modern liberal sense, of doing it what you please even so long as you do not harm others.
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or defining for oneself the meaning of life for manufacturing one's own moral universe. conscience, rather, is nothing less than once last best judgment specified in the bearing of moral principle is one knows, yet in no way makes up for oneself, on concrete proposals for action. in us identify, under the moral law, conscience is indeed exactly what newman said it was. a stern monitor. contrast this understanding of con -- conscience with its counterfeit. conscience as self will. that is a matter of the motion. feeling. it is not concerned with the edification of what one has a duty to do, once feelings for the contrary notwithstanding, but rather sorting out one's feelings.
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conscience as self will identifies permissions more than obligations. it licenses behavior by establishing that one does not feel better about doing it or at least does not feel so bad about doing it that one prefers the alternative of not doing it. i am with newman. his key distinction is between conscience, authentically understood, and self will. his central insight is one that we would do very well to remember as the day goes on today. conscience has rights because it has duties. the right to follow one's own conscience, the obligation including the obligation of government to reflect -- respect it right and ai
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stringent. is it right now because people as an autonomous -- should be able to do what they please, whatever they please. but, because people have a duty to follow their consciences. that is, a duty to do things or refrain from doing things not because they want to, but even if they strongly do not want to. conscience is, as newman said, it stirred monitor. it is not in the business of writing permission slips. if there is a form of words that sums up the antithesis of conscience, authentically understood, it is the imbecilic slogan that will ever stand as a verbal monument to the generation if it feels good, do it. of course, properly understood and even toasted ahead of the pope, there are limits to the
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rights of conscience, even in the fulfilment of once perceived vocational obligations or institutional duties. gross evil, even grave injustice, can be committed by sincere people. for the sake of religion. unspeakable wrongs can be done by people sincerely trying to get right with god or gods or their conception of all to the reality. the presumption in favor of respecting liberty must, for the sake of human good and the dignity of human persons as free and rational creatures, the powerful in broad. it is not unlimited. even the great end up getting right with god cannot justify immorally bed means, even for the sincere believer. i do not the nel -- i do not doubt the sincerity of aztecs or those in the history of conditions of faith who have used coercion and torture in the cause of what they believed was religiously required. these things are deeply wrong.
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it they need not and should not be tolerated in the name of religious freedom. to speak otherwise is to get into the position of supposing that violations of religious freedom must be respected for the sake of religious freedom. obviously, that cannot be right. still, to overcome the powerful and brought presumptions that should be in place in favor of religious liberty, to be justified in requiring the believer to do something contrary to his faith or forbidding him from doing something that his faith requires, political authority must shoulder a heavy burden. the legal test in the u.s. under the religious freedom restoration act about which we will be hearing a great deal today is one way of capturing the resumption -- >> we take it to the ethics and public policy center. they will talk about religious
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freedom as a panel of religious leaders from the catholic faith and a number of other faiths talk about ethics and religious freedom in the u.s. this discussion is live here on c-span. >> brooke, who is right here and others will be in charge of collecting those. if you have any questions, that is how you can get them to us. we will try to address as many as we can but please feel free to do that throughout the course of the talk. we have a very distinguished panel. i am honored to have the leaders of multiple faith backgrounds and i am very pleased that robbie george has agreed to moderate this session. my job is it simply to give a very short introduction of professor robert george. there is no way i can do justice in even a few minutes to his long and distinguished career
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and all of his accomplishments. he is a very humble man. i think he will not hold it against me. robert george is the mccormick professor and director of the james madison program in american ideals and institutions at princeton. he has served on the president's council in bioethics. he is a former judicial fellow at the supreme court of the united states where he received an award and he is currently a commissioner on the u.s. commission on international religious freedom. he also is a very good friend of our program and a trusted and very helpful if pfizer. -- helpful adviser. please help me welcome him. [applause] >> thank you very much. it is my pleasure to be cheering this panel which brings together some of our nation's most
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distinguished religious leaders, all of whom have been very active and dedicated in fighting for religious liberty. of course, you can see with your eyes the wonderful interfaith nature of this panel. we have representatives from several of the major traditions in the u.s. and the fact that people are working together across the lines of historic feel logical difference speaks very well -- theological difference peaks were well for religious liberty. i will have to make my introduction of our panelists even shorter than your introduction of me because i have five of them to introduce and we are here to hear them. not to hear me. let me begin on. dr. soloveichik.
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he is my former student at princeton university where he earned his ph.d. in the department of religion and steady with me in the field of philosophy of law. the rabbi is director of the zahava center at yeshiva university and a congregational rabbi in manhattan. next to him is father hatfield, and archpriest of the orthodox church. he is the chancellor and ceo of st. vladimir's orthodox seminary. he is a scholar with a distinguished publications to his name. immediately to my right and your left is dr. timothy george. 18 of the beeson school of
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theology at stanford. he is one of my dear friends. we are not related by blood although i would be honored to be related to him. i always notice that we are truly spiritual brothers. he is from the baptist wing of the family. i am from the catholic wing of the family. we are spiritual brothers. my greatest pleasure was working with him and chuck colson on the manhattan dedication. next to him is bishop cordileone, a bishop of oakland, california. he is a leading figure in the american catholic scene. he is been very dedicated in
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fighting for religious liberty. and on the end, elder witt the clayton -- whiney clayton. he is a member of the first orkaur rahm. he has served as a member of the presidency since 2008 and has various jurisdictional responsibilities. he is also a lawyer. we will not hold that against you. he is a leading figure in a church that has been a leading institution in the fight for religious liberty, polling with far beyond its wake -- polling far beyond its weight. if you do not mind, i will begin with you and then we will work back this way.
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whitney clayton. [applause] >> thank you. thank you to brian walsh and also another word of thanks to the becket fund for all they are doing. we are grateful for their successes and we wish them well. [applause] i am also grateful we are far enough along in the program that i have been able to excite most of what i was going to say. i am grateful for the stage that has been set for us. as a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, i will say that we are
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honored to be included in this effort concerned with churches and individuals. weedy religious freedom to be precious. -- we deem that religious freedom to be precious. there is great strength in numbers. we are united by a shared concern about and a reverence for religious freedom. is them of religion first right in the bill of rights. one reason is his first is because it sustains all other freedoms. all other freedoms fair either well or poorly depending on how this freedom progresses. the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints believes that the concerned about them been protecting religious freedom is justified. losses suffered at the local and
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state levels have been described earlier and they are threatening religious freedom as a whole. causes for these losses range from subtle manipulation of language to overly coercive regulations and imposition of penalties for the exercise of conscience. freedom of conscience is our most precious and personal right. the overtime, the losses of the right -- over time, the losses of right to follow our conscience will be a devastating personal loss to every american and to people across the world. we believe we must wisely and appropriately resist the effort of a squeezing hand of government to control our conscience. we deeply appreciate an honor the religious freedoms that are protected by the first amendment.
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we consider religious freedom the first, foremost, and most fundamental of our rights. we also believe that religious freedom should be protected rather than assaulted by government. the we believe that -- we believe that religious freedom is a tremendous, precious, and irrepressible good for society. thus, we gladly join with other churches, religious, faith groups, organizations, and individuals in entering into this to an effort to protect religious freedom. in this effort, there is much more that unites us as religions in churches then there is that divides us. there is great strength in our bring me a united effort -- bringing a united effort to this cause. the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints is committed to protecting religious freedom for ourselves, our own church
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members, obviously. that said, we are just as concerned about the religious freedom rights of other states as we are about our own rights. our 11th article of faith states that we claim the privilege of worshiping almighty god according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privileges, let them worship hall, where, or what they may. joseph smith said in the early 1840's, if it has been demonstrated that i have been willing to die for a mormon, i am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a presbyterian, a baptist, or a good man of any other denomination for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the latter- day saints would trample upon the rights of any gemination who may be unpopular or too weak.
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we recognize our own religious freedom is only insecure as is the religious freedom of those who surround us. we intend to be vigilant in guarding, protecting, and securing the religious freedom rights of others. the title for this session is uniting to preserve robust religious freedom. we might ask ourselves what might -- what is ahead? first, within our own institution, we will redouble our efforts to educate our church members concerning protecting religious freedom. we will support a united effort led by debt eppc to educate, legislators, opinion leaders -- to educate legislators and opinion leaders across the country about religious freedom and the fact that it is
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imperiled. we will seek to secure their help along with others in the battle to protect religious freedom. we will seek a joint effort to frustrate the efforts of those who seek to silence and marginalize religious freedom rights and to compel the citizens in matters of conscience. we deeply value and desire to promote this effort. our success will depend on time -- the amount of time and work we have put into this effort. it will require some treasure. it will require expenditure of money by multiple groups. it will require probably based unified efforts, no single church can or should bear the burden alone. if there were ever a time in which we need a chorus, not a solo, this is is.
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-- this is it. this will require the blessings of god upon us all. i will add one more observation. in this dreaded times in which we live and in the world of rhetoric which has become so said the uncharitable, i think that we would also be wise to be constantly civil in the way we treat each other in the way we deal with each other on both sides of this issue. civility ought to be a hallmark of the way that we deal with each other. that being said, i would say again that we are committed as a church to doing everything we can to help with this battle to preserve religious freedom. thank you very much. [applause] >> bishop cordileone.
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>> thank you. it is an honor for me to be sitting beyond esteemed panel is. i suppose one contribution i can make is to give a perspective to this as a catholic and an american. the first large wave of immigration in this country at the previous turn-of-the- century were very many catholics coming from catholic parts of the world. when they arrived in our shores, catholics have their own rocky history of trying to find their place and how to fitted with american society, like so many other immigrant groups in this country. what they found in america was something different from the world that they left behind. different from the european experience with those revolution movements to replace monarchies with democracies, so often erupting in violence. we can think of the frenzy of
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executions in france during the time of the revolution there. including clerics and nuns. the movement to unify italy took a clearly anti-clerical turn as so many of these movements did. even to the point that the pope had to speak out of rome dressed in the guard of civil parish priest. although my church has always recognized that we can operate and even thrive in a variety of different political systems, nonetheless, there was some suspicion of modern democratizing movements because of this experience. the american experience, though, was different for catholics. yes, they were often viewed with suspicion and as being an american, perhaps because of that suspicion of our own church leaders on these modern democratizing movements. they were subjected to rejection
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and attacks on their person and property. but, this certainly was not the whole story. what catholics found is that if they applied themselves and worked hard, they could improve their life. as opposed to the roadblocks they experienced back home. even more important, they found that they could prosper, not only materially, but also spiritually. the catholic church has thrived because of the freedoms we are guaranteed. the freedoms of keeping the government out of church affairs. it was this american experience that had the greatest influence on the writing of the declaration on religious freedom at the second vatican council. bishops gather to deliberate churches out reaches to the world an. this experience

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