"World War I Memorial, Bladensburg, Maryland" by Ben Jacobson / CC BY-SA 3.0

Religious Freedom Battle Is Far From Over: Here’s What to Look for in 2019

Jan 4, 2019

By Patrick Hornbeck

Arguments about religious freedom—who is entitled to it, and against whom their freedom should be protected—have in recent years come to the forefront in long-running disputes concerning social policy, morality, and civil rights.

During the Obama administration, religious organizations unhappy with laws and administrative regulations sought religious exemptions in increasing numbers. The Little Sisters of the Poor, the owners of the Hobby Lobby chain, various Christian colleges and universities, and wedding florists, photographers, and cake-bakers have all advanced such claims.

It’s clear that this issue is here to stay. The year that just ended saw the opening of new fronts in the legal battles over religious freedom. In 2018, the Supreme Court dodged one of the toughest issues—what to do when granting one party a religious exemption legitimizes discrimination against someone else. But as the year came to an end, the religious left began to leverage strategies that until now have largely been monopolized by the right. In 2019, we will see what further twists and turns this story takes.

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