The subject of religious freedom is important to all American citizens, regardless of religious affiliation or ethnicity. Are the rights of religious individuals being eroded, or is religion being unfairly used to deny basic secular rights to individuals? How will religious institutions adapt to changes in legislation that have an impact on how they operate? Does the Supreme Court have the right to enforce these changes? Finally, how can the precarious separation of church and state be maintained while simultaneously respecting both institutions?
This single-volume work provides an introduction that addresses the historical background of religious freedom in America, accurately explains the latest legal developments in religious freedom in the United States, and presents an unbiased account of the probable impact of the new Freedom of Religion laws in the continuing culture war. Readers will gain insight into key controversies such as prayer in public schools, creationism versus evolution, abortion, religious objections to medical care, religious displays in public places, same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, and state and federal religious freedom acts. The book also includes perspective essays by outside contributors, a selection of useful primary documents, a listing of print and nonprint resources, a chronology, and a glossary of terms.
- Ideally suited for students and general readers who want to learn more about the history and current events concerning religious freedom in an easy-to-understand fashion
- Includes a Perspectives chapter that allows readers to "hear" opposing voices from individuals who are concerned with religious freedom in America
- Presents the facts about religious freedom so that readers can reach their own conclusions
- Highlights the challenge of reaching an agreement on the line of church/state separation that exempts some individuals from obeying laws because of their religious beliefs in an increasingly pluralistic society comprising members of diverse faiths