In this three-part series, participants will explore the intersection of religious rites and the civil and human rights of children, women, and homosexuals.
- In the first session (Sat. Feb 1 at 10 am), participants will explore how religious rites have been used to cause substantial harm to children and consider questions like these: Will the state stop me if God tells me to put my children to work, to deny them medical treatment, to justify child marriages, to tattoo their bodies, or to permanently alter their genitals?
- In the second session (Sat Feb 8 at 10 am), similar questions will be explored on the subject of women: Can teachers in religious private schools be fired for being pregnant and unmarried or for having admitted to having an abortion? Can a for-profit corporation refuse to pay for an employee’s contraception coverage in objection to subsidizing what it believes to be a sin? What are the legal ramifications of religious divorce or marital rape?
- In the final session (Sat. Feb 15 at 10 am), participants will explore how a similar conflict is playing out with the question of gay rights: Why were sodomy, military service, and civil marriage illegal for homosexuals and what civil and religious laws were used to overturn them? If religious laws have been used to trump civil rights, can they be used to advance them? In this last session, participants will explore how the diverse religious debates over gay rights are currently shaping the question of employment discrimination in the United States and other issues such as capital punishment abroad.
Together, these case studies about children, women, and homosexuals will set the stage for the primary question: how did the shield of religious liberty become a sword?