So-Called Religious Freedom

by Katherine Howell

It now seems to be a matter of official house style for major media outlets to put scare quotes around the term “religious freedom” in reporting on state bills and laws closely modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal today:

NPR

The New York Times

Way back in 1993, the Times still regarded religious freedom as an actual thing that was worth protecting:


 In that editorial endorsing the federal RFRA, the Times’ editors wrote:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act reasserts a broadly accepted American concept of giving wide latitude to religious practices that many might regard as odd or unconventional. The bill deserves passage.

The concept of religious freedom hasn’t changed, but apparently its broad acceptance has.  

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