Recent events in the United States have resulted in a national debate pitting religious freedom against the civil rights and civil liberties of the LGBT community. This controversy follows closely on the heels of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which set off a firestorm over the balance between reproductive rights and religious freedom. Both conservatives and progressives have raised the level of hysteria. The media has been happy to oblige. Television and radio news programs, newspapers, magazines and the blogosphere are filled daily with reports of discrimination by one or both sides. We have entered a new battle in the culture wars. Of course, the framing of this controversy ignores one central fact: religious freedom and strong civil rights for all can coexist when properly understood. The stakes are high. For one side fundamental justice and human rights are involved. For the other fundamental justice and civil liberties are involved. Professor Frank S. Ravitch asserts that this supposed conflict has a resolution, and in fact, in most situations the conflict has been manufactured by partisans on each side of the culture wars. This presentation provides an accessible and clear roadmap to the issues involved in this debate, and a clear path for balancing religious freedom and sexual freedom. Coexistence is possible, and it is necessary for the survival of America as a nation of freedom for all and can provide an example for other nations facing similar issues.
Professor Ravitch’s career has included experience in private practice and on Capitol Hill. Since joining Michigan State University’s Law College he has authored several books, and a number of law review articles, essays, book reviews, and book chapters, as well as amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court.