BU Law Constitution Day Program - Religious Liberty: Contested? Misunderstood? Under Siege?
- 12:45 pm on Thursday, September 20, 2012
- 2:00 pm on Thursday, September 20, 2012
- BU Law, Barristers Hall
BU Law Constitution Day Program Religious Liberty: Contested? Misunderstood? Under Siege? BU Law’s 2012 Constitution Day program will take up pressing controversies over religious liberty. Why is the scope of religious liberty so contested? Is religious liberty the most misunderstood constitutional freedom? Is such liberty under threat? What is the place of religion in the public square? Some prominent religious leaders and politicians warn of unprecedented threats to religious liberty. They cite to federal health care reform (the contraception mandate), state laws allowing same-sex marriage and failing to provide adequate religious exemptions, and anti-discrimination laws clashing with religious freedom. Other religious leaders and politicians warn of threats to the separation of church and state posed by laws and policies rooted in religious doctrine or favoring religion. They also cite to health care, as well as to restrictions on reproductive liberty and ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments to defend traditional marriage. This program will consider these and other issues. For example, 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s school prayer decisions. These decisions remain central to the Court’s religion clause jurisprudence, even though their doctrinal basis is less than clear. They also provide a rallying cry for people who believe religion has been wrongly excluded from the public square. An emerging issue is the relationship between religious freedom and the environment: How do – or should – governments and environmentalists address conflicts that arise when religious practices interfere with environmental goals? Professor Gary Lawson will moderate and Professors William Marshall (visiting from University of North Carolina), Linda McClain, and Jay Wexler will offer remarks. Come celebrate Constitution Day by considering these timely controversies over religious liberty.