For the past few years religious liberty has been a litmus test issue for conservatives, helping them decide who they can support politically and who they can’t. As a fundamental First Amendment freedom, they’re right to make it that important to their politics. But the religious liberty that’s been legislated across the country since 2013 is all too often a smokescreen for something else, and that threatens the protection of actual freedom of religion when it’s needed.
Last week a Clemson University administrator ordered a man, pictured above, to stop praying on campus. Clemson and many other universities across the country have implemented “free speech zones” that non-students are required to use for protests or other First Amendment activities. Apparently that includes prayer.
Clemson booted local man off campus for praying outside “free speech zone.” ~70 colleges similarly restrict speech https://t.co/rlWJFSST9O
— Jillian Melchior (@JillianKayM) August 31, 2016
This is an actual and egregious restriction of religious freedom. Congress, and by extension taxpayer-subsidized universities, cannot restrict the free exercise of religion. Clemson can’t tell students or non-students when or where they may pray on campus. I doubt almost anyone would disagree.