The True Extent of Religious Liberty in America, Explained
I have seen a remarkable amount of commentary in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County arguing that the Supreme Court dealt religious liberty in America a serious, dangerous blow. Bostock, for those who don’t follow SCOTUS case names closely, is the case that interpreted Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of “sex” to necessarily include sexual orientation and gender identity.
As I read piece after piece, I realized that many of the people writing about the impact on religious freedom simply didn’t understand the law. A generation of Americans raised on breathless activist warnings about freedom’s demise genuinely believe that religious organizations teeter on a dangerous precipice. They genuinely believe that free speech hangs in the balance. While liberty is under pressure (it always is—every single material liberty recognized and secured by the Bill of Rights faces constant, sustained pressure from an expanding state), its reach is still vast.
Warning—what follows is a detailed legal discussion that just might bore you. But if you’re interested, power through. And feel free to share this newsletter with your concerned friends, your concerned pastor, or your worried school principal.
I’m going to outline the key federal statutory and constitutional protections for religious liberty and religious Americans that exist now, today, after Bostock and why I believe that, if anything, many of these protections are more likely to be extended, not restricted, in the coming days and weeks. So, here goes: