Ethics & Public Policy Center

Yuval Levin Delivers 2015 First Things Lecture: “The Perils of Religious Liberty”

November 17, 2015


On November 11, 2015, EPPC Hertog Fellow Yuval Levin delivered the 2015 First Things Lecture in Washington, D.C., titled “The Perils of Religious Liberty.”

Video of Mr. Levin’s lecture may be viewed below or by clicking here.

Here is a description of the 2015 event from First Things:

As religious communities seek to defend America’s “first freedom” they would be wise to consider what it means to make religious liberty their preeminent public issue.


In the wake of battles over the HHS contraceptive mandate and the Supreme Court’sObergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage, religious liberty has become the foremost priority of many believers. While religious freedom plays a central role in our country’s history, the prominence now being assigned to it and the way in which some conservatives have advanced the issue are not without risks. This approach exacerbates a key challenge that traditionalists already face in our forward-looking society: It confounds pluralism with moralism, undermining the vision of society that many religious Americans seek to advance, and misleads our fellow citizens into believing that traditionalists are asking for a “naked” public square—and it hangs an awful lot on constitutional foundations that are not as sturdy as they once appeared.

To see how a case for religious liberty can become part of the broader task of building thriving moral cultures in 21st century America, without undermining that essential cause, we need to consider the historical roots, the philosophical foundations, and the practical limits of religious liberty in American life.

Yuval Levin, Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Editor of National Affairs, will take up these questions in a public lecture held at The George Washington University campus on Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. Levin’s talk will explore the meaning and history of religious liberty within the Western democratic tradition and will outline what American political thought might teach those now struggling to revitalize our society’s moral foundations amid dizzying change.

Last year, EPPC Senior Fellow Mary Eberstadt gave the 2014 First Things Lecture, titled “The New Intolerance.”

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