Challenges to Religious Freedom in the USA: Some Lessons from Global Crises

Author: David Hollenbach

December 3, 2020

Religious freedom is a focus of controversy in the United States today. The leaders of some religious communities, particularly evangelicals and Roman Catholics, object to policies that challenge their beliefs, often their beliefs regarding sex and reproduction, by appealing to their right to religious freedom. This leads others to see religious freedom as a threat to moral changes they regard as progress. Religious liberty threatens to become a source of social division and conflict. This article by Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., analyzes these conflicts and considers how the United States can address them more effectively by reflecting on several international challenges to religious freedom. These global cases show that the religious freedom controversies in the United States today call both religious communities and those with secular worldviews to recognize that social unity and respect for freedom should go together. Social unity requires respect for freedom, including the freedom of those with whom one disagrees. This article was published in the journal Theological Studies (volume 81, issue 3).

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