Democracy Forum 11/19/21: Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion: Politics and Religion in America

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion: Politics and Religion in America

-What is the constitutional foundation of the separation of church and state?
-Why is it important?
-Is freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights? How did the doctrine emerge and develop from the prohibition on the establishment of religion?
-How is the interpretation and practice affecting modern politics?
-What is the intersection of political activism and religious groups, now and in our history?

Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science and Department Chair, University of Maine
Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life, Department of Political Science, Concurrent Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame University

To learn more about this topic:

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, James Madison, presented to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785

In U.S., Far More Support Than Oppose Separation of Church and State, Pew Research Center, October 2021

The Sleeper SCOTUS Case That Threatens the Separation of Church and State, The Atlantic, October 2021

Two Concepts of Religious Liberty: The Natural Rights and Moral Autonomy Approaches to the Free Exercise of Religion, Vincent Phillip Munoz, American Political Science Review, May 2016

Opinion | If they’re going to keep passing religious laws, we’re going to need exemptions, Washington Post, September 2021

The 2020 Census of American Religion, Public Religion Research Institute, July 2021

How ‘In God We Trust’ bills are helping advance a Christian nationalist agenda, The Conversation, July 2021

Relevant No More?: The Catholic/Protestant Divide in American Electoral Politics by Mark D. Brewer, 2003

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther
Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.