The Los Angeles Times published the below letter to the editor from CRCC’s Richard Flory:
To the editor: Op-ed article writers Rachel S. Mikva, Corey D.B. Walker and Reza Aslan are rightly concerned that what passes for religious freedom in the U.S. is highly selective. Yet they seem puzzled as to why this is so. Why, they ask, is religious freedom for some groups favored over other groups, and second, why is the deciding issue always about sexuality and procreation?
The short answer is that the groups that benefit — primarily conservative white evangelicalism and its affiliates — have built a system of religious, educational, media and legal institutions that are all focused on challenging social and cultural changes in schools, courts and elections.
As an attorney for a local evangelical university told me, his university was keen to “maintain our ability to discriminate” based on their beliefs.
Thus, the deeper answer to the above questions is that true religious liberty will not come to America until the strength, sophistication and funding of evangelical political and legal institutions is matched by those religious groups that have an alternative view of what it means to be human — and religious — in a pluralistic society.
Photo credit: K.G. Hawes / Flickr – Creative Commons
Richard Flory is the executive director of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.