Mark Silk & Douglas Laycock on the bishops & religious freedom. (UPDATED)
Don’t miss the second part of our series on the U.S. Catholic bishops’ most recent statement on religious liberty. From Mark Silk:
Given the dubious argumentation and the high rhetorical gloss of “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” I confess some uncertainty as to whether it is a statement of principle or merely a prudential document. If the bishops were truly concerned about religious liberty as customarily embraced, they ought to have given some attention to Free Exercise claims that would permit behaviors of which they disapprove, such as polygamy. They would also have taken note of Employment Division v. Smith, which has done more than any other recent Supreme Court decision to restrict religious liberty in the liberal sense by limiting Free Exercise claims to laws that are not neutral or generally applicable.
And the third, by Douglas Laycock:
Do the bishops mean that the requirement that health-insurance plans cover contraception must be repealed? Or do they mean the Affordable Care Act must be repealed? They do not say, and given the widespread calls for repeal of the whole act, ambiguity on that point is inexcusable. Would the bishops really deprive millions of Americans of health care rather than seek an exemption from the one implementation rule that deprives Catholic institutions of religious liberty? I hope not.
Read the rest here.