In a decision that had the potential to drastically alter our religious freedom and the government’s ability to fund religious groups at public universities, the Supreme Court ruled this summer on Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. The case asked whether a public university may deny school funding and other benefits to a religious student group that welcomes all students to its events but has exclusionary criteria for voting members and officers.
From May 21st to 23rd, Interfaith Alliance held its NYC-area LEADD (Leadership Education Advancing Democracy & Diversity) youth program at the Warwick Conference center in Warwick, NY. In its fifth year, LEADD is an innovative program for high school students developed by Interfaith Alliance members and a dedicated group of volunteers who have acted as founders, curriculum planners, teachers and workshop leaders since its inception. Students who attend LEADD are immersed in the history of the First Amendment, particularly its Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses, and what they mean in the United States – the world’s most pluralistic nation – today. The First Amendment is the foundation of America’s unique devotion to religious freedom and the cornerstone of the hope and vision for creating a truly pluralistic American society. Students also learn about current policy, legislative and legal issues involving religious freedom.
A number of incidents have occurred over the past few years that have raised serious questions about the state of religion in the military today – biblical passages on missiles used abroad, soldiers handing out Bibles in Muslim countries and proselytization at military academies are just a few examples. Just last month, Interfaith Alliance held a symposium entitled Religious Freedom in the Military: Where do we stand? to delve more comprehensively into this issue of growing concern.