Inside the First Amendment

Contributor Charles C. Haynes is vice president of the Freedom Forum Institute, founding director of the Religious Freedom Center and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center. He writes and speaks extensively on religious liberty and religion in American public life. Listed below are his most recent columns with “Inside the First Amendment.”

Conditions of Possibility for Religious Freedom

First Five 3.5.20 Feature

Americans agree that freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right, and as Americans, we should urge the government to do everything it can to create the conditions that make it possible for people of all religions and none to exercise that fundamental right.
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Lifting Every Voice in Religious Freedom

First Five Voices Feature

It is important to explore religious freedom through the lens of African American perspectives because we must lift every voice that has been impacted by religious discrimination and bigotry.
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Don’t Get Stuck on Prayers in Public Schools

Books

It’s time we stop reducing complex questions of religion and education to political debates about prayer.
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Baby Jesus Wasn’t a Patriotic American

Christmas Nativity

Religious communities should be concerned when public officials, including those in the White House, use religious holidays like Christmas to stoke nationalist sentiments among their Twitter followers.
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Teacher-led Prayer: Unconstitutional but Appropriate?

Teacher Praying

Teachers should help students understand why religious freedom protections — like the prohibition against teacher-led prayer — benefit people of all religions and none.
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Protecting Religious Freedom Has a Domino Effect

Religion In Workplace

The recent death of a turbaned Sikh law enforcement officer sparks conversation over the fact that some members of minority religious communities are still forced to decide between serving their country and honoring their religious identities.
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Back to School — And Religion Is on the Syllabus?

Books

It may surprise some, but a significant majority of Americans — including public school teachers — say yes.
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“To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, March 1797

In a series of letters written in 1790, George Washington reassured Quakers, Catholics, Baptists and Jews that they would be safe under a government committed to religious freedom.
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Newseum Institute Introduces New “Inside the First Amendment” Columnist

Lata Nott, executive director of the First Amendment Center, will replace longtime contributor Charles Haynes.
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“Welcoming the stranger” in the age of Trump

Immigrants rights protest

Religious individuals and communities offer sanctuary to undocumented people, defending their actions as acts of religious conscience protected by the First Amendment.
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