Religious Groups Must Look Past Religious Freedom

Harking back to the origins of our ideas of religious freedom in 16th-century England, and surveying the political conflicts relating to religion in 21st-century America, Yuval Levin urges religious traditionalists to broaden their horizons as they set their agenda for public life. Social conservatives, he argues, have much to learn from Jewish traditionalists, who understand that “civil law doesn’t have to reflect every one of their moral convictions as long as it leaves them the room to have a meaningful community life.” At the same time, Jews must learn from conservative Christians that the outcome of today’s political fights over marriage, family life, and other matters will ultimately affect them as well. (Interview by Eric Cohen. Audio, 42 minutes.)

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More about: Jewish conservatism, John Locke, Religion & Holidays, Religion and politics, Religious Freedom


Understanding the Background of the White House Ruling on Anti-Semitism and the Civil Rights Act

Dec. 13 2019

On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order allowing federal officials to extend the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to Jews. (The order, promptly condemned for classifying Jews as a separate nationality, did nothing of the sort.) In 2010, Kenneth Marcus called for precisely such a ruling in the pages of Commentary, citing in particular the Department of Education’s lax response to a series of incidents at the University of California at Irvine, where, among much elase, Jewish property was vandalized and Jewish students were pelted with rocks, called “dirty Jew” and other epithets, and were told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind.”

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, U.S. Politics