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Defending Civil Society: Religious Advocacy in America. Allen D. Hertzke. Religion and Civil Society The Changing Faces of ‘Religion’ and ‘Secularity’ 7 th -8 th June 2012 University of Navarra and Harvard University Law School. Why it Matters: Historic Moment of Promise and Peril.

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Defending civil society religious advocacy in america

Defending Civil Society:Religious Advocacy in America

Allen D. Hertzke

Religion and Civil Society

The Changing Faces of ‘Religion’ and ‘Secularity’

7th-8th June 2012

University of Navarra and Harvard University Law School

Why it matters historic moment of promise and peril
Why it Matters:Historic Moment of Promise and Peril

  • Global validation of the centrality of religious freedom to civil society, democracy, and peace

  • Worldwide crisis of repression

  • Unique American role in upholding religious freedom and independent civil society

  • If we lose the battle at home we undermine our ability to promote it abroad

Empirical model interaction of social forces and government laws
Empirical Model: Well-being within Countries Interaction of Social Forces and Government Laws

Religious Violence Cycle

Religious Freedom Cycle

Social Restriction

of Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom


related to Religion

Positive Contributions

of Religion to Society

Governmental Restriction

of Religious Freedom

Broader Religious


Price of Freedom Denied, Grim & Finke, 2011

Threats to religious civil society
Threats to Religious Civil Society Well-being within Countries

  • 2006: Catholic Charities of Boston shuts down historic adoption program

  • 2006: Morristown, NY begins code enforcement against Amish homebuilders

  • 2007: Texas City of Leon Valley zones churches out of retail quarter (overturned in circuit court in 2012)

  • 2009: U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission rules that Belmont Abbey College in NC violated discrimination laws in heath plan coverage

  • 2010: Catholic Charities of D.C. shuts down foster care program

  • 2011: Three Illinois Diocesan foster care and adoption programs shut down

  • 2011: Univ. of California Law School bars Christian group, followed by San Diego State and Vanderbilt Universities in 2012

  • 2011: Dept. of Health and Human Services ends contract with U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for services to human trafficking victims

  • 2012: New York City Board of Education orders end of church rental of school buildings

  • 2012: Twelve lawsuits filed on behalf of 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations against the HHS Health Mandate

Growing advocacy infrastructure to defend religious civil society
Growing Well-being within Countries Advocacy Infrastructure to Defend Religious Civil Society

Lobbying for the Faithful

Religious Advocacy Groups in Washington, D.C.

November 21, 2011

Significance of religious advocacy
Significance of Religious Advocacy Well-being within Countries

  • Large Enterprise

    $350 Million in annual advocacy spending

  • Institutionalized

    215 groups with offices in the nation’s capital

  • Sophisticated

    At least 1,000 professional staff employ high tech lobby strategies

  • Representative

    Linked to vast constituencies

Global explanation
Global Explanation Well-being within Countries

  • God’s Century, Toft, Philpott, Shah

  • P. 49: “argument is that major religious actors throughout the world enjoy greater capacity for political influence today than at any time in modern history – and perhaps ever.”

  • Because of greater institutional independence – out of the box, freed from state

  • Because of activist political theologies – prophetic critique, humanitarian

  • Because of globalization they operate on transnational basis

  • P. 83: More and more religious actors take initiative, act with boldness, mobilize local and national populations, operate with extraordinary flexibility, and command transnational loyalty, global networks, and resources. …Religious leaders and organizations are acting, while states are being acted upon”

Explanations for growth
Explanations for Growth Well-being within Countries

  • Push-back against secular threats (Casanova)

  • Value-and-identity-based politics of postindustrial era (Ingelhart)

  • Immigrant and emergent groups seek a place at the civic table

  • Growth in the size, reach, and intrusiveness of government

Defending civil society religious advocacy in america

Breakdown of Major Christian Traditions Well-being within Countries

Precedents of religious lobby power
Precedents of Religious Lobby Power Well-being within Countries

  • Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 1993, still applies to federal law and actions

  • Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 2000

  • State Level RFRAs passed in at least 13 states since Boerne decision in 1997

Select religious freedom advocates
Select Religious Freedom Advocates Well-being within Countries

Becket fund for religious liberty
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Well-being within Countries

  • Mission Statement

  • “The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest legal and educational institute that protects the free expression of all faiths. The Becket Fund exists to vindicate a simple but frequently neglected principle: that because the religious impulse is natural to human beings, religious expression is natural to human culture. We advance that principle in three arenas—the courts of law, the court of public opinion, and the academy—both in the United States and abroad.”

Institutional religious freedom alliance
Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance Well-being within Countries

  • Mission Statement

  • “The Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance safeguards the religious identity and faith-shaped standards and services of faith-based organizations, enabling them to make their distinctive and best contributions to the common good.

  • IRFA accepts as its foundational guide the teachings of the Christian Bible as understood in the historical and classical teachings of the Christian Church. IRFA understands those teachings to favor a vigorous but limited government and flourishing civil society institutions, and public policies that treat equitably individuals and organizations of every faith and secular conviction, consistent with the common good.”

Designated projects on religious freedom
Designated Projects on Religious Freedom Well-being within Countries

Select groups that advocate for religious civil society
Select Groups that Advocate for Religious Civil Society Well-being within Countries

  • Agudath Israel of America

  • Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, USA

  • American Islamic Congress

  • American Jewish Committee

  • Anti-Defamation League

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Concerned Women for America

  • Family Research Council

  • Hindu American Foundation

  • Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

  • Institute on Religion and Democracy

  • Liberty Council

  • Muslim Public Affairs Council

  • National Association of Evangelicals

  • Prison Fellowship

  • Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

  • Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

  • Sikh Coalition

  • Traditional Values Coalition

  • Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

The health mandate challenge
The Health Mandate Challenge Well-being within Countries

  • State defines religious ministry – unprecedented

  • Catalyses formidable infrastructure in response, esp. Catholic institutional leadership and resources

  • Lobbying, grassroots mobilization, public awareness campaigns, lawsuits, and potential civil disobedience

Visible allies on health mandate
Visible Allies on Health Mandate Well-being within Countries

  • Agudath Israel of America

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

  • National Association of Evangelicals

  • Southern Baptist Convention

  • Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations

Questions Well-being within Countries

  • Why Not More Allies for imperiled Catholic Institutions?

  • Is the partisan divide on these issues a key factor?

  • Is James Davison Hunter right that churches have already lost the culture?

  • If so, is political and legal advocacy enough to preserve and advance civil society?

Defending civil society religious advocacy in america

A Portrait of the American Constitutional Heritage in Religious Freedom

Signing ceremony ending Oregon’s 1923 KKK-backed law against religious attire in public schools, April 1, 2010.