Religious Freedom and Conscience Exemptions

February 1, 2021

This curricular module guide introduces conscience exemptions as a pillar of law in the United States and highlights how the legal pursuit of religious freedom is a necessarily imperfect process. The guide expands on the "Religious Freedom and Conscience Exemptions" virtual course module by assembling open-access sources and providing discussion questions on the role of conscience exemptions in U.S. law. 

These materials are designed to engage students with the following issues:

  • conscience exemptions and religious freedom for health care policies and practitioners
  • lessons drawn from the Masterpiece Cakeshop (2018) decision on religious freedom and the relationship between free speech protections and LGBTQ rights
  • how understandings of conscience and religious conscience protections have changed over time

This guide is part of the Berkley Center's Religion and World Affairs Virtual Course Modules, a collection of curricular modules that draws on open-access articles and multimedia sources to support online learning in higher education.

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