Religious Freedom:

DUring the meeting

Questions

to guide group discussion:

1. What is freedom of religion? What does it look like when a country has freedom of religion? 

2. How did the Founding Fathers feel about religious freedom? How did they strive to promote it and protect it?

3. Why is religious freedom sometimes referred to as the “first freedom?” How does religious liberty related to other civil liberties? (Civil liberties: freedom of speech, expression, assembly, press, right to privacy)

4. Many believe religious freedom is declining in the United States. What recent examples you have seen in current events? Have you seen examples where someone’s religious rights were upheld?

5. What are the consequences of limiting religious freedom to avoid offending others? Is it possible to appease everyone? What approaches or tools might a government use to determine conflicting “rights” cases? (Hint: “compelling governmental interest” and “least restrictive means.”)

6. What is religious tolerance? What does it look like in our attitudes and behaviors? How can we teach this to our children and grandchildren?

7. Which threat to religious liberty are you most concerned about? Explain why.

8. Do you agree or disagree with the statement: “You can’t legislate morality”? Explain your answer.

9. Where did the phrase “separation of church and state” come from? How has this been used to justify removing religious influence from the public square? 

10. What is the definition of religion? Should “secularism” be considered a religion? Is a government behaving in a neutral fashion when that government favors secularization over traditional religion?

11. Some say freedom of religion causes discrimination against some.  What happens when a government favors one religion or belief set over another?  Is it freedom of religion that creates problems or when the ruling body/government intervenes to privilege one belief set over another?

12. Which countries are facing religious persecutions from people, organizations, and even governments? Is there evidence of the social and economic costs of this suppression? What are possible solutions?

Next step: After the Meeting

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