Below are a collection of primary sources that can be used as a basis for conversation in an adult religious education class. Below each primary source, there are questions for group discussion.
This video, prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union (the entity representing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in this case), offers a succinct description of what is at stake in this case.
- What, if anything had you heard about the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before watching this video?
- What were your initial reactions to what was shared in the video?
- As a person of faith, do you think that business owners should have a right to discriminate against others on the basis of their religious beliefs? Why or why not?
- Were you aware that religious beliefs were used in the courts in attempts to defend racial segregation and unequal pay for women? Does that history inform your opinion about this case?
- What do you think would be some of the potential consequences if the Supreme Court were to allow religious beliefs to justify discrimination?
- As people of faith, how do you think we should respond to the claims made by the baker and by the broader attempts in our society to use religion as a justification for discrimination against others?
“Americans Have Never Agreed on What Religious Freedom Means”, Tisa Wenger for Christian Century
This is an article from American religious historian Tisa Wenger which offers a guide to the complex history of religious freedom and argues that there is a way forward for progressive people troubled by the recent uses of religious freedom.
- What did you know about the history of religious freedom in the United States before reading this article?
- What were some of the things you learned by reading it?
- One of Wenger’s arguments is that religious freedom does not have a singular meaning but that the meaning of the term has always been contested. She describes how religious freedom has been used as a defense by many different groups for many different ends. How would you define religious freedom?
- Wenger writes about how religious freedom has been a valuable legal tool for persecuted groups and minority religions. Were you aware of this history? What did you make of it?
- Despite the ways religious freedom has been used to benefit minority religious groups, Wenger writes that “all too often the ideal of religious freedom has worked in favor of the majority white Christian population.” Why do you think this has been the case?
- After detailing the mixed history of religious freedom, Wenger ends the piece encouraging progressive people to “embrace rather than reject the ideal of religious freedom and put the ideal to work alongside other civil rights guarantees on behalf of those who need it most.” What do you make of this suggestion? How can progressive people, especially people of faith, embrace the ideal of religious freedom, reclaiming the concept to pursue justice for the vulnerable and the marginalized?
Firsthand Stories of LGBTQ discrimination, National LGBTQ Task Force
These firsthand stories were originally shared in an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the LGBTQ Task Force, et. al
- What was your initial response to these stories?
- Have you experienced discrimination before because of your gender identity or sexual orientation?
- How did reading these stories make you feel?
- Was there one particular story that had particular resonance? If so, why?
- As people of faith, how do you believe we are meant to respond to the reality of discrimination against LGBTQ people?