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Kaveny v. Garnett on Employment Division v. Smith

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My two favorite Notre Dame law professors - okay, they are also the only two Notre Dame law professors I know, but I do like both of them and can scarcely contain my admiration for each - are engaged in debate over the religious liberty jurisprudence as embodied in the important Supreme Court decision Employment Division v. Smith.

Here is Kaveny's first post.

Here is Garnett's post.

And here is a subsequent post by Kaveny.

I am not a lawyer, so I especially appreciate the ability of both Kaveny and Garnett to explain complicated legal issues in terms the rest of us can understand.

Sarah Posner - Propagandist Extraordinaire

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Sarah Posner is a propagandist, not a journalist.

Last week I wrote about how pre-existing narratives can actually becloud our vision of contemporary events, rather than elucidate them. Of course, in some sense, we all have pre-existing narratives or else it would be impossible to place data in context, impossible to make sense of the world or bring our different sets of beliefs and experiences into some kind of coherence. But, anyone wishing to be intellectually honest must be aware of the down-side of pre-existing narratives, the way they can miss nuance, dismiss alternative arguments and frustrate the possibility for political resolution.

Rev. Gaddy Embarrasses Himself

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The President of the Interfaith Alliance, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, issued a statement yesterday expressing his “disappointment” at the USCCB’s document on religious liberty. I do not know the Rev. Dr. Gaddy, and now I am glad that I don’t. Here is the text of his statement and my comments will follow:

It is with great disappointment that I read the proclamation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on religious freedom. While I believe there are real threats to religious freedom in our nation today, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Catholic Church’s definition of religious freedom is one that is only concerned with its own beliefs and practices and makes no room for those whose views differ. In the democratic society in which we live, we are fortunate our government makes accommodations when necessary to protect our beliefs and practices, but the Constitution still trumps scripture in every case. In fact, it is because of this understanding that religion – all religion – has been able to flourish in the United States.

Narratives That Blind

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UPDATE/CORRECTION: Below I related the story of Cardinal Wuerl's discussions with the government of the District of Columbia regarding same sex marriage. I was mistaken in suggesting that Cardinal Wuerl had proposed a variation on the "Levada solution" because the Levada solution dealt with domestic partnerships, not same sex marriage, and so that solution was not available to Cardinal Wuerl. I regret the error.

USCCB's New Doc on Religious Freedom

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The USCCB this morning released the text of a new document from its ad hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. The document, entitled, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” takes the recent debate over the HHS mandates and brings the discussion to the 35,000 foot level, surveying the landscape more broadly and making the case that the issue of religious liberty is urgent and warrants the attention of both the Church and the nation.

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