‘Freedom of’ and ‘Freedom from’
Today there are two movements claiming to champion religious liberty in the United States. Both the groups defending authentic religious liberty, and those fighting for a distorted version, have been facing off in courts, state houses and opinion pages across the United States. In Arizona, legislators concocted a bill (thankfully vetoed) that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers, while the historic Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Supreme Court cases challenging the contraceptive requirement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reflect the combined energies of some of America’s most conservative forces. In these and many other cases, one team is arguing that religious freedom means having the right to impose their religious beliefs on other people. But many argue that this is a false vision of religious freedom. One of the most compelling questions in this high-stakes battle is—what does true religious liberty look like when it’s at work?
Authentic religious freedom looks like many different things: like secular people and Jews, Protestants and Catholics; and like lawyers and advocates for LGBT and reproductive rights. All of these people are part of the Coalition for Liberty & Justice, and they were in evidence at a forum convened by the coalition on February 7 to discuss real religious liberty. The coalition is a broad alliance of more than 50 faith-based and secular groups working to ensure that public policy protects the religious liberty of individuals of all faiths and no faith. It’s also taking an active role in opposing policies that seek to impose one religious viewpoint on society.
The morning session of the forum outlined the theoretical framework of authentic religious liberty from both a constitutional and a faith perspective, while the afternoon session examined the impact of counterfeit religious liberty claims on women’s health and LGBT individuals.
“[T]here is a constitutional right to the free expression of religion and the freedom from religion for individuals, but no constitutional right to be a pharmacist or an infertility doctor.”
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, welcomed attendees by putting contentious religious freedom cases into a larger context. He warned that challenges to the ACA are only the “tip of the iceberg” of a long-running effort by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to “run roughshod over the conscience rights of American citizens, religious or not.” The bishops have a lot of practice at portraying themselves as the wronged party, but their shopping list of demands for the government betrays their desire to make “religious extremism the norm.” High on that list is removing access to free contraception from the ACA, O’Brien said, but he enumerated other items on the bishops’ wish list: “being allowed to take taxpayer money to provide social services but not having to play by the same anti-discrimination rules as others; not having to provide access to condoms for those living with HIV/AIDS; continuing the Defense of Marriage Act and allowing the bishops’ definition of marriage to predominate; and being allowed to discriminate in employment through ‘ministerial exceptions.’’’ Each of these represents an improper understanding of religious groups’ relationship with civil society, a misunderstanding the bishops are actively trying to promote.
O’Brien offered a way out of the escalating demands from religious groups. “Freedom of religion necessarily means having freedom from religion,” he pointed out. “We cannot allow people to use religion to discriminate. Religious special interest groups are doing that and need to be challenged.”
The day’s first speaker to challenge the false iteration of religious freedom did so from a legal perspective. The “Legal and Constitutional Perspectives” panel was led by Greg Lipper, senior litigation counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He is one of several speakers to have authored an amicus brief opposing the Conestoga Wood/Hobby Lobby case seeking to award religious exemptions from the ACA contraception requirement to for-profit companies. Lipper began his talk by stating that Americans United believes that “many accommodations that alleviate genuine burdens on religious expression are reasonable and appropriate.” But, he said, “We draw the line on exemptions that serve to impose one person’s faith on another, which is especially significant for the contraception mandate.” He gave an example of an appropriate accommodation, such as allowing a police officer to keep the beard that reflects his religious belief, but an exemption “that allows a business to discriminate against someone in what would otherwise be a violation of the law goes too far,” Lipper said.
Heather Weaver, a senior staff attor–ney for the American Civil Liberties Union, focused on the understanding of religious freedom enshrined in the two religion clauses of the First Amendment—the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause—and encoded in various state and federal laws that prohibit religious discrimination. The Constitution contains two complementary protections: “the right to religious belief and expression and a guarantee that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors faiths over others.” As Weaver admitted, “that all sounds great and very noble,” but “applying these religious liberty ideals in a society where there are countless different religious beliefs and preferences, and harmonizing them with other core rights such as the rights of free speech, equality and privacy, is not always easy.”
Weaver enumerated cases in which the ACLU has defended the religious freedom of individuals from many different faith groups over the years. Entirely consistent with this position was the ACLU’s amicus brief in support of the government’s position in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases. Weaver explained: “Real religious freedom means that we have the right to a government that neither promotes nor disparages religion generally, nor any faith in particular. It also means that we have the absolute right to believe whatever we want about God, faith and religion, and that we have the right to act on our religious beliefs unless those actions harm others.”
Some of the harm caused by the false religious liberty contingent comes about because their treatment of the subject inevitably lists towards certain religious groups. But religious freedom has just as much to do with non-religious people as persons of faith. This is both a numerical and ideological misapprehension, according to Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition of America, given the growing number of nontheists, who now account for 22 percent of the US population. Religion is imbued in many facets of American life, making a commitment to the separation of church and state crucial for protecting the rights of this diverse group of “nones.”
The remedy offered by Rogers was for the US to “strengthen the secular character of government.” The Establishment Clause forbids the government to make any law “respecting an establishment of religion,” but she identified several instances in which the government has overstepped this boundary, among them religious displays on government property, such as Ten Commandments exhibitions in public schools; religious holiday displays that don’t include secular elements; and crosses as war memorials, which courts have found equivalent to promoting Christianity. “The Free Exercise Clause does not give a religious actor a special right to ignore a law by claiming that complying with it conflicts with its religion,” she said.
The use of religion to trump all other rights and responsibilities is distressingly common, however. Michael De Dora, director of the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy, delineated some of these domestic and international threats to true religious liberty. Looming on the domestic horizon are the faith-based challenges to the contraception mandate and the religiously motivated push for limits on abortion rights, as well as refusal clauses for pharmacists who don’t want to provide contraception and the pushback against marriage equality. Internationally, De Dora found that threats are often related to freedom of expression—for instance, the Indonesian man who was arrested for posting doubts about his Muslim faith on Facebook and was subsequently sentenced to 30 months in jail. De Dora said these domestic and international efforts “share a common trait: ongoing attempts to dictate public policy according to a specific religious view.” He concluded: “Whether it is seeking an exemption from a law, such as with the contraception mandate, or a proactive law like an anti-blasphemy law, the result of both is the same. Demanding a religious exemption from following a generally applicable law can be as harmful as actively seeking to dictate the laws via religious belief.”
As we have seen, those working from legal and secular standpoints have their work cut out for them in correcting some of the misconceptions about religious freedom and finding a balance between opposing interests. But what does the currently muddled state of religious freedom mean for those individuals coming from a faith perspective?
Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus opened the “Religious Cases for Real Religious Liberty” panel by sharing that many in the Episcopal church feel caught in the intersection between church and state because the church’s canon law currently defines marriage as between one man and one woman. “Some dioceses are in states where there is marriage equality, but bishops feel bound by the definition of marriage in our canon law.” There are also bishops in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage who “still feel compelled to authorize our priests to bless the covenants made between two people of the same gender, though they can’t legally marry them, arguing that the state has no right to interfere with what the church deems is right to bless.”
Kaeton explicated her view of church-state separation with a compelling analogy: “We don’t allow the state to tell us who to baptize or confirm. We don’t allow the state to tell us we can’t bless icons or prayer books or liturgical garments or new cars or boats before the sail or hounds before the hunt or motorcycles before the charity run. Why should we allow the state to tell us we can’t bless the covenants made between two people of the same gender?”
Sara Morello, executive vice president of Catholics for Choice, placed today’s struggles against the backdrop of the religious conflicts that have come and gone, saying, “Throughout history and continuing today, bad things have been done to good people in the name of religion, including in the name of my religion.” She continued, “What I want everyone here to remember is that religion isn’t the culprit. Any ideology, secular or religious, can be used to discriminate, oppress and harm.” However, there is a crucial distinction to be made between religion and religious leaders, on the one hand, and religious people on the other. As Morello said, “Despite the way that Catholicism has sometimes been used, and even abused, none of these ends is what we, Catholics, are about.… Catholics do not believe we are put on earth to tell everyone else whether and when to have children, whom to marry, what medicine to take or what insurance plan to buy.” The bishops, who regularly do all of the above, might benefit from a refresher course in Catholic teachings, and one place they might look for it is in the lived wisdom of the Catholic faithful.
Morello said that at their heart, “Catholic tradition and our teachings echo across centuries about the respect, even reverence, demanded for every individual person’s moral choices, guided by her conscience.” Although for Catholics “conscience is the nonnegotiable,” she points out the irony in the fact that “our bishops in this country feel quite comfortable judging me, you and pretty much everybody else, no matter what our consciences tell us.” Even more troubling and inconsistent with Catholic tradition “is a willingness not only to argue that my conscience should trump yours if you work for me, but that an institution—be it a hospital, a church, a school or a Taco Bell—has a conscience. There is simply no basis in Catholicism to support this inane assertion,” she said.
Catholics do not believe we are put on earth to tell everyone else whether and when to have children, whom to marry, what medicine to take or what insurance plan to buy.
The highly politicized Catholic bishops’ conferences can be distinguished from true defenders of religious freedom because, Morello says, they use the “sacred principle of religious liberty to get our government to stop you from living your life according to your conscience.” This twisting of freedom into something less than free is based upon what she calls “theological gymnastics”: “As a Catholic, I am offended by the bogus claims made by some that their religious beliefs, or the exercise of them, are infringed when a Catholic employer gives a paycheck to someone with a spouse of the same sex, or offers basic health insurance to a woman who chooses to use it to get contraception. It’s doing gymnastics with Catholic moral theology to claim that one’s very soul is imperiled by an employee using the compensation she earns in a manner she chooses. Where would it end? Are we going to stop everyone from buying meat during Lent?”
In several key political conflicts, the bishops have cast the roles of oppressed and oppressors according to their own specifications, but there are other analyses of social power dynamics that deserve consideration. The Rev. Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers of the Pavilion of God explored concepts of culture, power and faith in her talk. First, she established that the American Baptist Churches USA support religious freedom and the separation of church and state, and they also respect the faith of others. Smith-Withers acknowledged that these concepts are complicated in practice, and said she had learned from personal experience that “the environment that provides one person’s liberty is the same context that can engender and support oppression of another person.” Seen through her eyes, the pursuit of religious freedom is a dynamic process demanding that “Baptists encounter the pain and suffering of those who are not enjoying the benefits of religious freedom.”
Smith-Withers told listeners that there were many times when her -African-American, Caribbean womanist identity “challenged extant cultural and traditional practices that represented freedom and liberty for the majority culture and those in positions of authority.” In her perspective, real religious liberty is found in answering the calling to be Christ’s witnesses, in celebrating the racial, cultural and theological diversity found in Baptist membership and in a “personal radical commitment to religious freedom and liberty.”
Diversity—or an understanding of the many different lives being lived by Americans—is an important component to true religious liberty. Often, those trying to encode religious doctrine into law claim to do so on behalf of “Judeo-Christian values.” Rabbi Dennis Ross, director of Concerned Clergy for Choice, dismissed the idea that there is a “Judeo-Christian heritage” because “no religious leader represents the full spectrum of faith.” This leaves a society like ours in which there are many different voices speaking from a faith-based perspective. “Democracy means that people of faith are entitled to follow and promote different religious teaching,” Ross said. “Religious people are free to inform our faithful, the public and our public officials about what our faiths have to say, and our policymakers must listen.” But when religions compete, he warned, “Our elected officials must not enter this religious dispute, declare the most restrictive faith the winner, enshrine those religious restrictions into law and impose alien religious teachings on those of us who follow other religious directives or conscience.”
Rather than throwing in with one religious group or another, Rabbi Ross assigned the government a different function: “The law of the land must protect the peaceful exercise of religious pluralism and conscience. We are entitled to a religiously neutral public square despite the fact that some people think transforming the United States into their vision of a religious nation is what they think God wants them to do.”
In the discussion portion of the panel, moderator Janet Gallagher, former director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, talked about the potential impact of the Catholic bishops’ exceptionalism, as evidenced by the fact that they are “intent on creating conclaves of impunity where they can disregard antidiscrimination laws, medical standards of care and the religious liberty of individual patients.” Some of these exclusions might be accomplished through legal channels, but some are accomplished by making the issue of religion and rights too hot to handle, effectively silencing discussion.
For instance, Gallagher asked the panel whether they felt constrained by the pressure to maintain “religious good feeling” when discussing religious freedom issues. Morello agreed that this dynamic had a dampening effect on people who might not agree with extreme policies: “People are afraid. They don’t want to be thought of as antireligious or anti-Catholic.” Of course, the opposition has worked hard to conflate disagreement with discrimination. But, she said, people have to speak out “or look what happens—the only voices policymakers hear are the bishops.” Morello continued, “We need to assure people who are sensitive to religious concerns they don’t have to agree with Archbishop Timothy Dolan or Archbishop William Lori to respect Catholics.”
While the word “discrimination” crops up frequently when religious freedom is said to be infringed, the term must also be applied to those whose civil liberties could be sacrificed should the law get it wrong. The afternoon session was opened by Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, who focused on some of the ways religion is being used as an excuse to deny the rights of others. She cited the proprietors of a country inn in Vermont who refused to provide a wedding reception to a same-sex couple, as well as the owners of a bed and breakfast in Hawaii who wouldn’t rent a double room to lesbian couple. “Refusal to serve and using religion to discriminate isn’t new,” Kaufman recognized, adding that the same justification was used by restaurant owners who refused to serve African Americans before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Kaufman said, “There isn’t much logical distance between those who would deny women healthcare and those who would deny them a hamburger at a lunch counter.”
On a brighter note, Kaufman found a level of defensiveness in the opposition’s turning to the Supreme Court for protection against the forward movement of society on civil rights. “The reemergence of the right to claim constitutional protection for discriminators is a measure of the success of an expanded vision of women’s rights and gay rights,” she said. The catch is that this progress has “brought us to new contested territory—that women’s health inevitably includes reproductive health services and that same-sex relationships enjoy the same respect under law that heterosexual relationships do.”
Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, tackled some of this terrain in her talk. She contradicted the notion of religious freedom as a blank check, often used by the apologists for false religious liberty. Instead, she asserted, “Freedom of belief and conscience cannot be recast as a license to ignore health and safety standards, wage and hours rules and nondiscrimination laws that keep our diverse, secular society open to all.” Pizer said to watch for advocacy in state legislatures and Congress, arguments in state and federal courts, as well as separate ballot measures in Oregon that might address same-sex marriage and refusal policies for those who object to same-sex ceremonies. With these efforts, the opposition is working to “create new permission to discriminate in various ways based on religious beliefs, including refusal to do business with LGBT people.”
While these moves are “bold and alarming,” Pizer said, they may actually be an opportunity. “The threats posed by these overreaching misuses of religion seem to be creating exactly the kind of concerted effort we need to educate the vast middle of the general public who are conflicted about disputes” over things like the sale of wedding cakes to same-sex couples.
Our elected officials must not … impose alien religious teachings on those of us who follow other religious directives or conscience.
Pizer said the pending challenges to the ACA contraception coverage rule should concern LGBT people because these cases could potentially create new rights to discriminate and redefine what counts as a “substantial” burden on the exercise of religious rights, especially when there is an “attenuated connection” to the conduct that one disapproves of. She said these problems could “snowball if the Supreme Court were to decide that owners of for-profit companies can interfere with employees’ home lives and decisions about fertility and childbearing.” Similar claims “could as easily be leveled at sterilization, infertility care or same-sex parenting” and “religious refusals likewise can be made to employee benefits for a same-sex spouse or partner, to healthcare for transgender individuals and to services for people living with HIV,” she said.
Just as most of the issues raised during the day were relevant to more than one group, many of the speakers also came from multiple perspectives. Heather Cronk, co-director of GetEQUAL, said she approaches the question of religious liberty from two angles, “as a seminary graduate who was raised in the church and as a queer woman.” She said, “As a seminary graduate, I fiercely defend religious liberty and I fully defend the need for religious and spiritual communities to communicate their theologies and doctrines however they see fit. However, that doesn’t mean that religious liberty exists in a vacuum.” (See Fired for Being Gay.)
“The radical right has decided that they aren’t winning the war to prevent LGBTQ equality, so they’ve taken on the war for religious exemptions,” Cronk said. However, she continued, “That’s not the crisis. The crisis is that many moderates, and even liberals, across the country are playing along.” This played out last fall around the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate. While there isn’t a federal law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and there is widespread support for such legislation, most LGBTQ organizations embraced a version that included “loopholes” for institutions like universities and hospitals that claim a religious connection. Cronk said they gave away too much. “If LGBTQ folks don’t believe that we deserve to be fully equal under the law, we never will be,” she said. “We ought to learn the lessons of the choice community on this. With corporations like Hobby Lobby taking the question of religious exemptions all the way to the Supreme Court, those who value dignity and equality for all should remain vigilant.”
Frank DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, discussed LGBT issues in the context of religious liberty and conflicts in the Catholic church, especially the idea of employment discrimination in light of Catholic teachings. DeBernardo examined the trend of LGBT individuals being fired from jobs at Catholic schools and parishes. Interestingly, the bishops may have dug in their heels over same-sex marriage, but Catholics have become increasingly vocal in their support for LGBT justice. (See Fired for Being Gay.)
Maya Rupert, policy director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said one of the biggest challenges we face is the perception that LGBT rights and religious liberty are at odds and that one has to come at the expense of the other. “In the black community, because of the tradition of the church being a bastion of equality, the idea that we have to fight against faith communities in order to get to equality is unnatural and gives people pause,” she said. She suggested that it would be useful to “look at this issue in a way that is inclusive of the entire community and conscious of our history as a movement for equality to situate it within faith communities.” Rupert cited the “No Wedge” campaign, in which a number of black faith leaders pledged not to use race or religion as a wedge on the same-sex marriage issue.
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, introduced the final panel of the afternoon by calling the coalition one of the most important gatherings of organizations dedicated to stopping what she called the “perversion” of the First Amendment. For instance, constitutionally guaranteed rights should be carefully separated from other claims upon society: “We at NOW think there is a constitutional right to the free expression of religion and the freedom from religion for individuals, but no constitutional right to be a pharmacist or an infertility doctor.” O’Neill explained some of the mixing of disparate entities by saying, “Powerful religious leaders cannot get their way from the pulpit so they are turning to the government to get through law what they cannot get through preaching,” she said.
Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, found that the negative impacts of conscience refusals “fall hardest on those who are already struggling to access reproductive healthcare,” such as Latinas. But she said the Latino/a community does not accept that lack of access to care as the norm. “We know that Latinas, including Catholic Latinas, oppose discrimination that denies women access to the care they need, including when that discrimination is justified by religious belief,” she said.
But contraception isn’t the only healthcare service endangered by religious refusals. González-Rojas observed that “Latinas face many obstacles to obtaining safe, affordable, legal abortion care.” In one case, the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, a Catholic-affiliated hospital that serves a community with many Latina residents, refused to provide an emergency abortion for a woman who was in the midst of miscarrying twins. She was sent to a hospital 80 miles away to receive essential medical care. “This story makes it painfully clear,” González-Rojas stated, “Refusal to provide care endangers women’s health and indeed their lives.… As advocates for salud, dignidad, y justicia, we need to ensure that every person is able to get the healthcare they need, based on their own personal decisions.”
Aram Schvey, policy counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, explained how the common sense that would put each individual in charge of their own healthcare decisions becomes complicated by other interests. He said, “We don’t think of our country as a theocracy…. In principle, laws are based on what’s best for the most people, not notions of biblical morality.” However, “When it comes to reproductive rights, all bets are off. It’s as if our standard political process is paused, and a temporary insanity takes hold. In virtually every arena you can think of touching on reproductive rights and health, our nation’s policies are guided by theocratic precepts without regard to science or public health, from abstinence-only sex education to emergency contraception.”
Schvey maintained that the dispute cannot be reduced to a conflict between those who support and those who oppose religious liberty. “What is at issue in the debate is not whether anyone’s freedom is at stake, but whose freedom is at stake: the dozens of employers who object to the fact that some employees may access reproductive healthcare through their health insurance, or the tens of thousands of employees who risk losing essential healthcare coverage based on their employers’ religious beliefs.” He said the issue can be summed up by the old saying: “Your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.” In other words, Schvey concluded, “You can exercise your rights without restraint … up until the point that doing so would interfere with my rights.”
In the conflict over contraceptive coverage, certain religious leaders and private employers have swung too close to women workers’ noses. Sara Hutchinson, domestic program director at Catholics for Choice, called this an “exhibition of political opportunism” that has been exemplified by the hierarchy’s behavior during the passage of the ACA and afterward: “US Catholic bishops took advantage of partisan rancor and intraparty struggles within the Democratic caucus to derail any reform that would improve access to reproductive health services for women.” After demanding that the ACA include a provision to ban access to most abortions, the USCCB worked with allies in Congress and the Catholic Health Association to “promote extremist federal legislation designed to chip away at the ACA by instituting expansive refusal clauses and ludicrous insurance restrictions.”
Many of these attempts to erode health access have been promoted as defenses of religious liberty. As Hutchinson put it, “Bishops and their allies talk about religious liberty but what they really are seeking is a license to discriminate against anyone and any service they think should be controlled.” She advised that everyone should pay close attention to “the bishops’ campaign, which is much broader than simply limiting contraceptive coverage” because it endangers “the religious liberty rights and consciences of all women, workers and medical professionals in the United States.”
Also worth tracking is the disturbing pattern of the Obama administration, which has repeatedly tried to appease the bishops and their demands for more and more accommodation in the name of their “brand” of religious liberty. “Political leaders are favoring a small, yet vocal, minority who are neither elected nor do they represent the majority of opinion of those they purport to represent,” she said. “Women’s health and their religious liberty to choose the healthcare that best suits their needs are not a political bargaining chip.”
There isn’t much logical distance between those who would deny women healthcare and those who would deny them a hamburger at a lunch counter.
Patients are not the only ones affected by health policies that aren’t designed with public health in mind. Lois Backus, executive director of Medical Students for Choice, explained the limitations placed on doctors and doctors-in-training by religious restrictions. “As a patient, I had always assumed that the basic medical information on contraceptives that I could gather from the mainstream media was information my physician would have. I have learned that is not true.”
Medical training can vary from place to place due to local policies or even professors’ religiously tinged attitudes about reproductive health. This phenomenon has ranged from an OB/GYN student at a Catholic hospital who was forbidden to discuss contraceptive options with postpartum patients in violation of accepted standards of care, to a medical student in South Dakota whose paper on emergency contraception received a D because the professor said it was “insensitive” to Catholics in the class. Backus explained the real-world impact of Catholic health restrictions as well as the ongoing efforts to expose medical students to abortion care as a way to increase the number of available providers.
After exploring some of the challenges to religious liberty in the early part of the day, the discussion portion of the panel examined ways to turn around the raft of religiously motivated attacks on reproductive rights. González-Rojas said that grassroots efforts are critical, particularly those fighting to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which is a stumbling block for low-income women’s abortion access. Hutchinson added that such grassroots efforts are not enough. She said, “We must call out legislators who may be sympathetic to our values but are unwilling to stand up for reproductive rights for fear that such public support will lose them an election.” Giving these legislators a values-based framework that focuses on their duty to the electorate, and not to religious pressure groups, is one possibility for accomplishing this.
Schvey agreed that opponents of abortion don’t “pussy foot around” when it comes to their target issues and, for example, they have been very successful in stigmatizing abortion. Thus, he said, when supporters of abortion get to the microphone, “Even our champions in the House and Senate are extraordinarily hesitant to take a strong stand because they have been cowed.”
The February 7 forum displayed the nuances that are vital to any discussion about religious liberty. The American Constitution recognizes that there are two elements to this freedom: freedom of and freedom from religion. This duality in the First Amendment was a central part of all the day’s presentations and contributions, from those who spoke from a faith perspective and those who spoke from a secular one, as well as those who straddled both. The interplay between the different panels enhanced understanding of the tensions inherent in the daily battles that occur in our courts, our boardrooms and in state and federal arenas. The battles won’t end anytime soon, but efforts like the Coalition for Liberty & Justice are crucial to fighting them.