Defining Religious Freedom Down—and Away

When the American Founders wrote protections of religious liberty into the Constitution, they were concerned with protecting religious minorities from legislative coercion by the majority. Now, writes Adam J. White, challenges to freedom of religion have taken a different shape:

During Barack Obama’s presidency . . . the collisions between progressive policy and religious liberty are not the result of legislative compromise or political give-and-take. Rather, they come from administrative agencies pushing a specific agenda as aggressively as possible, or from courts announcing new rights in absolute terms, leaving little apparent room for religious freedom. In this respect, the threat to religion comes not from popular majorities, but from minority factions that succeed in capturing either administrative or judicial power and leveraging it against religious minorities who stand in the way of their policy agenda.

Administrative absolutism was illustrated perfectly in the Hobby Lobby [case before the Supreme Court] and subsequent cases. The contraceptive mandate that the Obama administration wants to enforce against religious employers, and now against religious organizations, is found nowhere in the Affordable Care Act itself. . . . But regulators are not the only unelected officials prone to writing new laws in absolutist terms. To the extent that same-sex couples’ right to marry ultimately results from judicial decisions (at the administration’s behest) rather than legislative compromise, judges’ expansive vision of such new rights may leave legislators little room to exempt religious institutions, organizations, and persons from direct involvement with same-sex weddings.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: American founders, Barack Obama, Freedom of Religion, Hobby Lobby, Politics & Current Affairs, Supreme Court, U.S. Constitution

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror