In its Room for Debate forum, The New York Times recently published a debate on the state of religious freedom in the United States. The discussion was organized by Thomas Farr and Timothy Shah of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Some participants in the discussion argue that members of certain religious traditions in the U.S. have greater freedoms than others, while others highlight the tensions between religious liberty and human rights. Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, one of the contributors to the discussion, writes:
Asking whether religious freedom is under threat implies that we know what religious freedom is. Religious freedom has multiple histories and is understood differently in different times and places. For example, for some today, religious freedom connotes the possibility of an individual to believe or not as she chooses and to act consistently with that belief within the bounds of law. For others, religious freedom implies the right of religious communities to a degree of autonomy or self-governance…And of course, to enforce any version of religious freedom also requires a determination as to what counts as religion.
Read the full debate here.