The War on Religious Liberty

The News Magazine of HCU

By John O.Tyler, Jr., JD, PhD
Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Professor of Law and Jurisprudence
Director, Legal Studies Program

I.  Introduction

Religious persecution is intensifying around the   globe,   and   Christians   are   the   world’s most  persecuted  religious  group.  Although religious  liberty  is  protected  in  the  United States by three clauses in the U.S. Constitution and  Bill  of  Rights,(1) the  U.S.  Supreme  Court removed  “strict  scrutiny”  protection  from  religious  liberty  in Employment Division v. Smith (1990).(2)  This decision has enabled and encouraged unprecedented attacks on religious liberty by political progressives in the United States.

This article describes these attacks and addresses four questions.

            First, why are Progressives attacking religious liberty in the United States? This article explains how the Progressive movement rejects our founding principles. The Progressive philosophy of naturalism rejects  God’s  existence,  and  the  Progressive  jurisprudence  of legal naturalism rejects religious liberty.

          Second,  how  are  Progressives  attacking  religious  liberty  in the United States? The U.S. Supreme Court has reviewed seven tactics  used  by  Progressives  to  attack  religious  liberty.  This article explains those tactics and these important U.S. Supreme Court opinions.

          Third,  why  should  we  protect  religious  liberty?  This  article presents three arguments. First, religious liberty is the cornerstone of  our  Constitution  and  our  founding.  Our  Constitution  has enabled unprecedented progress and prosperity in the United States  and  around  the  world.  Second,  religious  liberty  and political  liberty  are  inseparable.  They  rise  and  fall  together in  the  laws  of  nations.  Third,  religious  liberty  is  necessary  for maintaining our free republic. Free republics require politically virtuous people, and political virtue requires religious liberty.

            Fourth, how can we protect religious liberty? Six legal strategies have proven their ability to protect religious liberty. This article explains each strategy and why each has been successful.

This article also carries a solemn warning. Religious liberty and political liberty are inseparable. Neither can flourish in the other’s absence. Men are not angels, and any government that denies religious liberty to its people will inevitably deny political liberty as well. Preserving religious liberty is essential to preserving our representative republic.

The Morris Family Center for Law and Liberty at Houston  Baptist University

The Morris Family Center for Law & Liberty is dedicated to the promotion of American founding principles, the rule of law, the preservation of liberty, and free enterprise. Our mission is 1) to educate our fellow Texans about the principles that make America an exceptional nation; 2) to train and equip teachers, lawyers, and the business community to articulate and defend these principles; and 3) to facilitate civil discourse among diverse groups about the political, social and economic implications of a nation truly committed to liberty and justice for all.

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Pillars Spring 2020 | Dr. John O. Tyler, "The War on Religious Liberty"


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