Written by Don Byrd

Law professor Andrew Koppelman says that the idea of religious liberty has gotten a bad rap lately. And it’s not too late to do something about it, he argues, starting with the Supreme Court’s resolution of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case (see my recent coverage here and here).

In a column for Vox, Koppelman defends the idea of religious exemptions as an important tradition in America’s religious liberty heritage, but emphasizes that the “right to an accommodation is not absolute.” 

Here is an excerpt:

Many on the left now regard “religious liberty” as a coded term for discrimination and exclusion. Many on the right feel they are being persecuted for their unpopular beliefs.

The current unpleasantness is unnecessary. The tradition of religious liberty has the resources to handle this. Religious liberty has never meant a right to hurt people, but it has stood for a tolerance of the unfamiliar that opens a path to a reasonable settlement.

With only a slight course correction — aided, one hopes, by a Supreme Court that aims to dampen culture clashes, not exacerbate them — religious freedom can be everyone’s friend again.