This article addresses the exemption issue from a broader social perspective. It reviews the original reasons for religious liberty and the reasons that religious liberty is under assault in principle in the United States for the first time in three centuries. The attack on religious liberty arises principally from deep disagreements over sexual morality, and secondarily from the rise of nonbelief in the population. The debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage figures prominently; the contraception regulations had not yet been issued. This article was originally a lecture at a Catholic law school.

Douglas Laycock, Sex, Atheism, and the Free Exercise of Religion, 88 University of Detroit Mercy Law Review, 407–432 (2011).
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