Friday, June 21, 2013
By: Jonathan Imbody
Esteemed colleagues who focus on religious liberty issues are uncharacteristically divided regarding the Supreme Court's decision yesterday that struck down as unconstitutional a government requirement that recipients of grants to fight human trafficking and AIDS provide assurance that they oppose prostitution, which spreads AIDS and human trafficking.
Some legal advocates who focus on religious liberty issues had filed briefs opposing the "prostitution pledge" provision. They reasoned that its allowance would let the government unconstitutionally dictate the ideological views of any organization that receives government funding. These groups understandably feared strengthening the Obama administration's attacks on religious liberty, buttressing local governments' attacks on pregnancy centers through speech requirements, and squeezing out campus student groups that decline to conform to university dogma on social issues. The groups reasoned that even the tax exemption status of charitable groups, seen (oddly) as a form of government subsidy, could be jeopardized if groups opposed the social policies of the government