"A measure that sought to protect clergy members who refuse to take part in gay marriages was rejected Thursday by a South Dakota legislative committee after opponents said the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom already gives those church leaders the protections.
"A lawmaker's questions about a Virginia school-attendance law were quickly squelched in the General Assembly Thursday: Del. Thomas Rust's resolution suggesting a study of the law that allows families to opt out of public education for religious reasons was killed in a House subcommittee by a 3 to 1 vote.
"The BJC's mission is to defend and extend God-given religious liberty for all, furthering the Baptist heritage that champions the principle that religion must be freely exercised, neither advanced nor inhibited by government.
Primarily an education and advocacy organization, the Baptist Joint Committee is a leading voice in Washington, D.C., fighting to uphold the historic Baptist principle of religious freedom. It stands guard at the intersection of church and state, defending the first freedom of the First Amendment.
"Thomas Jefferson left strict instructions for how he was to be remembered on his gravestone: “Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, Father of the University of Virginia.”
That statute for religious freedom embodied the ideals that would later become a foundation of American law in the First Amendment of the Constitution:
"Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do by Robert Boston, Prometheus Books, 2014
What inspired you to write Taking Liberties? What sparked your interest?
"Increasingly, conservative religious groups are using religious liberty as a sword to lash out at others. In this forcefully argued defense of the separation of church and state, Robert Boston makes it clear that the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment is an individual right, the right of personal conscience, not a license allowing religious organizations to discriminate against and control others.
"Clergy sex abuse, polygamy, children dying from faith healing, companies that refuse to do business with same-sex couples, and residential neighborhoods forced to host homeless shelters - what do all of these have in common? They are all examples of religious believers harming others and demanding religious liberty regardless of the harm. This book unmasks those responsible, explains how this new set of rights is not derived from the First Amendment, and argues for a return to common-sense religious liberty. In straightforward, readable prose, God vs.
"Various American evangelicals have claimed the founding fathers as believing and practicing Protestants who intended America to be a Christian nation. Secularists, on the other hand, see in the same historical record evidence that the founders were often Deists at best. Both views are grossly oversimplified, argues Waldman, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Beliefnet.com.