In their editorial, the Commonweal Editors chided the Bishops for not explicitly incorporating Muslims in their call to religious liberty. Was the omission deliberate?I tended not to think so. But then I came across this website from the "Thomas More Center." Without a hint of irony, it proclaims its purpose to defend the religious liberty of Christians, but NOT of Muslims--indeed, it is explicitly directed against Muslims.Religious freedom for me but DEFINITELY not for thee? Yikes.I have no idea whether or to what degree the Bishops' conference is coordinating in its work with this group. And having grown up in New England, I know politics makes strange coalitions. Still, I would be much more relieved if this statement had indicated that the Bishops weren't going in this direction themselves.A troubling possible use of the Smith plus RFRA combo. When it's a "good religion" (like Catholicism?) people can emphasize "religious liberty," when it's a "bad religion" (like Islam?) people can push Smith's support of laws of general applicability. From a strategic legal realist perspective, Smith plus RFRA, gives you the legal ammunition to do what you want.But this isn't right. Whatever the legal rule is--Smith, RFRA, etc., it has to be applied to everyone fairly. That's the basic point of the rule of law.
Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.