Stream of Conscience

Season 2

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In Season 2 of Stream of Conscience, we dive deeper into religious liberty to explore its two major components, the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. What did the framers of the Constitution mean when they forbade the “establishment” of religion? Who gets to decide what “free exercise” of religion includes? What’s the difference between the two clauses, and how do we argue cases arising under them? 

Season 2 also introduces cases that are not strictly religious liberty cases. We’ll talk about how other fundamental freedoms, like the freedom of speech and the right to property, intersect with religious liberty, and why it’s so important to understand these connections as we defend our freedoms. 

Season 2 hosts: Katie Geary and Angela Wu Howard


Season 2 Episodes:

Bonus Episode: Free To Foster
In 2018, heroic foster care mothers had to give up their life’s work when the City of Philadelphia forced a 200-year-old Catholic foster care agency to close because of its religious beliefs. This is the story of how Sharonell Fulton, Toni Simms-Busch, and their foster care agency fought for their right to serve vulnerable children and won—unanimously—at the Supreme Court.

RFRA, We Love You
Host Katie Geary and Becket Executive Director Montse Alvarado launch Season 2 of Stream of Conscience with an episode on our favorite four-letter word: RFRA. In 1993, Congress passed RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, with overwhelming, bipartisan support, and President Bill Clinton signed it into being. So, why is RFRA controversial today? 


How the Lemon Test Soured the First Amendment
We’ve all heard the phrase “separation of church and state,” but do we know where it came from? Guest Professor Philip Hamburger gets us into the history of the Establishment Clause, the flaws in the “separation” theory, and why a memorial cross on public property in Bladensburg, Maryland, deserves to stay. 


Live Where You Serve
For decades, a federal tax exemption has allowed tax-free housing for pastors who live in their church communities, until a lawsuit from an atheist organization challenged the housing allowance. Pastor Chris Butler gives us a look inside his southside Chicago church and explains why his community, and others like it, rely on this tax rule—and what would happen if it disappeared.


Of Bravery and Beards
When Simmer Singh decided to join the U.S. Army, he fully believed he could serve his country and uphold his Sikh beliefs and traditions. But when West Point gave him a stark choice—shave his religious beard or get discharged—it started Simmer on a long path to fighting for religious freedom for himself and other Sikhs.