Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year 2020 !

Dear Religion Clause Readers:

Happy New Year 2020! I hope you continue to find Religion Clause an important resource for news on religious liberty and church-state developments. I continue to strive for objectivity in my posts and to provide links to an abundance of primary source material underlying each post. I am pleased that my regular readers span the political and religious spectrum and include a large number of law school faculty, journalists, clergy, governmental agency personnel, students and others working professionally dealing with church-state relations and religious liberty concerns in the U.S. and around the world.

As we usher in 2020, it has become conventional wisdom that many of the most highly charged issues that divide our country politically also often divide it along religious lines.  Whether the issue is abortion, transgender rights, immigration, same-sex marriage, climate change, or campus free speech, activists have increasingly defined the debate in religious terms. As I watch this, I recall the words of Chief Justice Burger nearly 50 years ago in Lemon v. Kurtzman:
Ordinarily political debate and division, however vigorous or even partisan, are normal and healthy manifestations of our democratic system of government, but political division along religious lines was one of the principal evils against which the First Amendment was intended to protect.
2019 has also been a year in which religious intolerance has grown.  Increasing anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world remind us that this age-old manifestation of hate has not disappeared. Anti-Muslim attitudes and actions continue largely unabated in numerous countries, while minority Christian communities elsewhere are under siege.  2020 promises to be an important year for confronting religious liberty and church-state concerns.  Religion Clause will continue to cover all the developments.

Thanks again to all of you who are loyal readers-- both those who have followed Religion Clause for years and those of you who have only recently discovered the blog.  A special thanks to readers who have quickly sent me leads on recent developments, and to those who have alerted me to mistakes. All of you have made Religion Clause the most recognized and reliable source for keeping informed on the intersection of religion with law and politics. I encourage you to recommend Religion Clause to colleagues, students and friends who might find it of interest.

I also remind you that the Religion Clause sidebar contains links to a wealth of resources.  Please e-mail me if you discover broken links or if there are other links that I should consider adding.

Best wishes for 2020!  Feel free to contact me by e-mail ( in response to this post or throughout the year with comments or suggestions.

Howard Friedman