First Amendment

Duane Shank 01-30-2012
Conscientious objectors rally in Germany. Image via Getty Images.

Peace activists support Iraq war veteran and now conscientious objector Agustin Aguayo. Photo by Getty Images.

One of the U.S. Constitution's difficult balances is found in the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

What happens when those two values conflict?

That is the issue with the controversy over whether religiously-affiliated organizations should be required to offer free coverage for contraception in health insurance plans made available to employees. Those opposed — most notably Catholic organizations — claim that this requirement would violate their freedom of conscience. Those who support it claim that exempting religiously-affiliated organizations would establish a religion over the rights of individuals.

Carrie Adams 01-17-2012
Internet. Blackout. Image via Wylio

Surfing the Internet during the 2011 Blackout, Oceanside, Calif. Image via Wylio

You’re on the Internet right now.

Maybe you’re on your phone, or your iPad, or even your desktop at work (it's OK, your secret's safe with us). No matter what your choice of access media, if you’re reading this, you’re on the Internet.

Most of us take Internet access for granted. (Who can remember life before Google?) A seemingly endless, free-to-all source of information, knowledge and distraction, the Internet drives and facilitates transactions both inconsequential and global, simple and complex.

Certainly the Internet has a seedy underbelly, from spammers and basement-dwelling sport hackers to illicit businesses and toxic enterprises.

But who polices it? Who’s the Internet Sheriff?

Cathleen Falsani 10-04-2011


The U.S. Supreme Court is set to begin hearing oral arguments this week in one of the most important church-state cases in decades. In Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the court will consider whether a Lutheran school in Michigan is subject to a federal law banning discrimination based on a disability.

Allen Johnson 09-07-2010

"Yes, Muslims have the constitutional right to build a mosque near Ground Zero.

Jim Wallis 08-05-2010
There is one thing the opponents of the Cordoba Initiative (that plans to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero) have in common with the Cordoba Initiative's leadership: their clear con
Eboo Patel 05-11-2010
A few days back, small groups of college students at Northwestern,
Jim Wallis 01-22-2010

Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance law will give a huge boost to the special interests that already exercise a stranglehold on our political system, allowing them to tighten their grip and fu

Jim Wallis 06-11-2009
Words have consequences. In the past few weeks, we have seen just how dire those consequences can be.
Alan Clapsaddle 10-01-2008
Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory A.