Author Archives: Walter Olson

About Walter Olson

Fellow at a think tank in the Northeast specializing in law. Websites include Former columnist for Reason and Times Online (U.K.), contributor to National Review, etc.

A Note on the Religious Test Clause

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution provides that “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The confirmation wars and culture wars of the past couple of decades … Continue reading

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Intellectual Liberty and the Student Demands

Of the demands being made by protesters in the current wave of unrest on American campuses, some no doubt are well grounded and worth considering. Some of them, on the other hand, challenge academic freedom head on. Some would take … Continue reading

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Pay-for-pray: Maryland churches promise green sermons for tax break

The Washington Post’s reporter, Arelis Hernández, doesn’t seem quite to realize just how outrageous this story is about churches angling for exemptions from a state-mandated stormwater fee in Prince George’s County, Maryland: Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to … Continue reading

Posted in Church & State | Tagged | 4 Comments

Town of Greece v. Galloway: Prayer at Town Council Meetings

This morning the Supreme Court decided Town of Greece v. Galloway, on a challenge to prayers preceding a town council meeting. Evidence was that the small town of Greece, N.Y., near Rochester, had reached out to all the churches in … Continue reading

Posted in Church & State | 3 Comments

No, Obama isnt downgrading our Vatican embassy — but he should

Contrary to some breathless reports in the conservative press, the Obama administration isn’t downgrading U.S. diplomatic relations with the Vatican. As the State Department’s explanation notes, 1) there’s no downgrade of representation or staff reduction; 2) the ambassador’s residence isn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Church & State | 2 Comments

Claim: unbelief “opens the way to progressive social and political ideas”

But now it seems those dreadful secular right types are spoiling everything [Richard Congress, who it appears has also discovered that religious enthusiasm often fuels social movements agreeable to the left]

Posted in Odds & Ends | 7 Comments

That “stomp on Jesus” episode: Not quite as advertised

Oh, what outrage some of our grievance-collecting friends managed to work up over the story of the Florida Atlantic professor who had asked students to write the name “Jesus” on a slip of paper and step on it. John Hawkins … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Recalling the 1987 Bork confirmation fight

Did you know opponents of Bork’s confirmation waged a whispering campaign against the conservative nominee in the South on the grounds that he wasn’t a religious believer? I explain in a New York Post op-ed out this morning. According to … Continue reading

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Cruz: “I don’t know a single Republican…who wants to take away anybody’s contraceptives”

Last week at the Federalist Society annual lawyers’ convention, Texas Senator-elect Ted Cruz made the following remarks (beginning at 23:05 on the video): The President, every Democrat, went throughout this campaign, saying, “Republicans want to take away contraceptives.” What utter … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Libertarians and religious liberty

Tim Carney, the influential columnist at the D.C. Examiner, writes as if libertarians have been AWOL or worse when it comes to defending religious liberty from the incursions of the modern liberal-bureaucratic state. I try to set him straight in … Continue reading

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