Undue Burden Indeed

Here is a review of what sounds like a very strange book by a ‘New Democrat’ (i.e. a Democrat so conservative he might as well be a Republican) and adviser to Clinton named William Galston. He wraps himself in the cloak of Isaiah Berlin, the reviewer Stephen Macedo wittily remarks, in an effort to make a case for ‘value pluralism’; but it sounds more like Balkanization and desecularization. Particularly bizarre and indeed alarming is the fact that he condemns the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was written so broadly as to give religious groups the ability to challenge any law that imposed an ‘undue burden’.

The review is particulary sharp with the all-too fashionable idea that the US is too secular and not accomodating enough to religion.

Galston and others who support RFRA evidently believe that liberals have not been sufficiently respectful and accommodating toward religious groups and other kinds of cultural communities…As a general proposition, this claim seems to me astonishing. America is an extraordinarily religious country by any plausible measure. Politicians fall over one another in affirming their religious faith and courting religious voters.

Indeed they do, until one begins to think that atheists are the only truly insufficiently respected group in the country. Perhaps I’ll write a book.

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