Today, the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University will be co-hosting a conference on International Religious Liberty with the USCCB and CRS. NCR’s own Jerry Filteau will be covering the event and will have a full report for our readers. As a visiting fellow at the Institute, charged with helping to organize these gatherings, I will be out in the parking lot directing traffic, and inside the hall making sure the microphones are working.
Here in the U.S., much of the Catholic community has been focused on the issue of religious liberty in ways we have not before. Certainly, after the Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith (authored by that flaming anti-Catholic Antonin Scalia!) there was some interest in the topic, but that interest was hardly controversial as the law designed to legislatively overturn that decision, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed both houses of Congress by wide margins. In the House, it was passed without objection on a voice vote. The law was signed by President Bill Clinton.