Redefining Religious Liberty

Written in 2013, Redefining Religious Liberty was the first long-form analysis of the right wing effort to redefine “religious liberty” from a shield against government persecution to a sword wielded by those seeking to discriminate against others.  Since then, most of the report’s predictions have come to pass: widespread religious exemptions allowing individuals and corporations to discriminate against women and LGBT people; the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby case which recognized the right to harm third parties as part of an individual’s religious liberty interests; and a widespread belief among religious conservatives that if they are not allowed to discriminate against others, their own religious liberty is being restricted.

Written for the Political Research Associates think tank, Dr. Michaelson’s landmark report describes how the movement to redefine religious liberty came into being, how it draws on Jim Crow ideology (in which racists, too, said the right to discriminate was part of their religious freedom), and who the major players are in the movement.  Since that time, Dr. Michaelson has written dozens of articles on this astonishingly successful movement, and is preparing a manuscript on the subject.

A PDF of the report is available here.