Religious News From Around the Web April 19, 2021
Supreme Court: Secular and Religious COVID Exemptions Must be Equal; Religious Liberty: The Next Crisis; America’s shifting religious freedom landscape; How Religion and Religious Freedom Has Changed; Great Religions and the Soul
Supreme Court: Secular and Religious COVID Exemptions Must Be Equal
On April 9, the Supreme Court – in Tandon v. Newsom — blocked California’s COVID-related ban on religious gatherings in private homes, saying that any secular exemption to a law automatically creates a claim for a religious exemption, California had to let people gather indoors for Bible study, said the ruling, because it allowed them to gather indoors to get a haircut, eat, or take a bus. This doctrine expands the government’s obligation to provide religious accommodations to countless regulations.
Religious Liberty: The Next Crisis
“When does the government’s authority trump religious assembly and expression?” How can “American Caesars” bypass the “principles of religious autonomy, equality and accommodation? “In the steady erosion of our nation’s commitment to first freedoms,” what can religious Americans do? Ken Starr’s new book offers three suggestions.
America’s shifting religious freedom landscape
“I think this cultural move toward religious disaffiliation is most pronounced in one of our major national parties, which had always been a sanctuary for persecuted religious minorities. So, I think this, in part, explains why there is maybe less support for religious liberty as a general principle.”
How Religion and Religious Freedom Has Changed
“Conservative religious people feel they should be free to exercise their religious beliefs pertaining to sexuality and marriage. LGBTQ people and their advocates say that that religious freedom argument shouldn’t be used to justify discrimination.”
Great Religions and the Soul
The five great world religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism — all believe in some version of a “self”, variously named, which mostly survives death. But they imagine its origin, journey, and destination in some quite different and distinctive ways. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all believe there was a time before God created the world, when there was nothing at all, but Buddhism and Hinduism believe there has never been a time when souls did not exist.