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Progressives ‘Twitter challenge’ Christian Right over what #ReligiousFreedomIs

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Some organizational supporters of marriage equality took to social media in the wake of the historic Supreme Court decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges.  The occasion was a “Tweet Storm,” held for an hour on Monday, June 29, to celebrate the victory for marriage equality – and to argue for authentic religious freedom.

The event was staged by some of the members of the Coalition for Liberty and Justice, which comprises about 60 groups in “a broad alliance of faith-based, secular and other organizations that works to ensure that public policy protects the religious liberty of individuals of all faiths and no faith and to oppose public policies that impose one religious viewpoint on all.”  Some of the members of the Coalition include the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Catholics for Choice, National Council of Jewish Women, National LGBTQ Taskforce, The Interfaith Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, and us at Political Research Associates.

The Coalition first came together around the Hobby Lobby case and has hung together in defense of the rights of individual conscience and separation of church and state ever since—including in support for marriage equality and in opposition to the theocratic advances of the Christian Right.

When the hour arrived for the Tweet Storm, Coalition members and friends were ready, but so were our opponents including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Arizona-based national Christian Right legal network Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The event was no secret, so these groups who are abusing the core values of religious liberty to defend discrimination had plenty of advance notice, and were prepared with tweets of their own.

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You might not know it from media coverage, but both sides claim the mantle of religious liberty. The narrative is usually framed in terms favorable to the Christian Right: casting religious freedom versus LGBTQ rights. But there is more to it as the battle for the definition of a religiously plural society rages hotter than meets the eye.

The divide was epitomized by one remarkable exchange, when ADF tweeted:  “#ReligiousFreedomIs necessary for a pluralistic, tolerant, diverse society.” The national, interfaith social justice organization The Interfaith Alliance then replied:  “We agree 100%, but we might still have to hash out the details on what exactly #ReligiousFreedomIs”.

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