Profiles of Organizations
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Religious Freedom Organizations|
Many of the organizations linked to this page will be familiar to readers, but others may
not be. Further, the content of many web pages will not to known to readers. What we
have done here is provide a very brief Profile of each group and the content of the web site.
These Profiles are designed to help the reader determine which sites they may wish to visit.
The development of the Profiles are not yet complete, but we decided to upload what is finished
so that readers may have access to this information. If you simply wish to scrole through an
alphabetical listing, click here to return to the gateway to the Religious
Freedom Organizations page.
- American Atheists
The concept of "religious freedom" embraces freedom from religion.
American Atheists, founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair in 1963, defines its mission
as advancing Atheism, promoting the absolute separation of government and religion, and
defending the civil liberties of Atheists. A well constructed page, but it does not link
the reader to information about other Atheist organizations. To explore the enormous
array of information about Atheism on the web, see the
on this web site.
- American Center for Law and Justice
ACLJ was founded in 1990 by M.G. "Pat" Robertson, religious broadcaster,
entrepreneur and former candidate for U.S. President with the expressed purpose
"to undo the damage done by almost a century of liberal thinking and activism."
Much of the credit for the creation of a pre-eminent conservative public interest law
firm and educational organization goes to
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel. This page is well constructed and provides a significant
archive of case notes and news releases.
- American Civil Liberties Union
Founded by Roger Baldwin in 1920, the ACLU has been the primer First Amendment
and civil liberties organization for three-quarters of a century. ACLU has championed
minority rights including blacks, women, prisoners, mental patients, and unpopular
extremist groups. The organization's defense of strict separation of church and state
has made it an unpopular organization among religious conservatives. This page contains
a lot of material, but the structure is cluttered. As of this writing, a tool bar to the
right will take the reader to ACLU work on
Church and State issues.
- American Ethical Union
The Ethical Cultural Movement was founded in 1876 by Felix Adler. The
organization promotes "a vision of humanity united in common concern for ethical values."
The American Ethical Union is not a religious freedom organization per se, but it
has a long commitment to the development of human rights, including religious freedom,
through the development of universal ethical and moral principles. The page is not well
designed, but there is a fair amount of content about the history of the organization as
well as contemporary activities.
- American Humanist Association
Humanism emerged in the early 20th century from theistic roots in the American
Unitarian Association. Embracing science and pragmatic philosophy, the Humanist movement
became substantially non-theistic. The American Humanist Association was founded in 1941
to coordinate and integrate many independent humanist organizations. This page is
valuable because it provides a lot of conceptual papers, both contemporary and historical.
Unfortunately, it lacks a coherent historical presentation and a coherent statement of
- Americans United
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has its roots in the
Baptist's separation philosophy. Celebrating 50 years in 1998, American United is an
agressive activist presence in Washington for radical separation. Church and State,
a monthly publication, reports on significant church and state issues and frequently
attacks the Religious Right (see archives).
These themes are present on the web site as well. A particularly valuable feature of
this web site is their state by state
coverage of legislative issues.
- Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 by Sigmund Livingston to
combat anti-Semitism in America. From the beginning, the mission of ADL extended beyond
the defense of Jews. As Livingston noted, the ADL mission is to fight against "unjust
and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens." This
is a first class site with a rich array of information on a wide range of religious
freedom and human rights topics. Our only criticism is that navigation can sometimes
- The Becket Fund
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a public-interest law firm devoted to
protecting all religious traditions. It is named for
Thomas Becket, a 12th Century
Archbishop of Canterbury, and martyr for the cause of the separation of church and state.
The site is under construction. Aside from the annoyance of frames, the site
has several promising features and a pleasant feel. It is not clear where the page is
going in terms of content. We'll update our abstract as this site develops. Hopefully
we'll be learning more about the Fund and their activities.
- Center for Individual Rights
This page primarily details the activities of the Washington-based Center
for Individual Rights, a non-profit public interest law firm founded by Michael S. Greve
and Michael P McDonald (founding date unknown). From their mission statement, they
state that CIR is "dedicated to the defense of individual rights, with particular
emphasis on civil rights, freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, and sexual
harassment law. CIR provides free legal representation to deserving clients who cannot
otherwise obtain or afford legal counsel and whose individual rights are threatened."
- Center for Law and Religious Freedom
The Center for Law and Religious Freedom is the religious advocacy and
information arm of Christian Legal Society.
defends the religious liberty of people of all faiths. CLS is a network of over 4,500
Evangelical attorneys. CLRF was founded in 1975 and characterizes itself as "the oldest
and most experienced Christian religious freedom defender in the country." They
their agenda as "Good Samaritan" and seek to build bridges to organizations with common
concern. The interlocking web pages of CLRF and CLS provide good information
about the activities of these organizations as well as resources for understanding
significant legal developments in the area of religious freedom.
- Center for Religious Freedom
The Center for Religious Freedom has a global focus, specializing in the defense of
groups that are victims of religious persecution. Centered in Washington, where it has an
active lobbying voice, the CFRF conducts research and campaigns worldwide. CFRF is a division of
Freedom House. Founded in 1941 by
Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie, it is the oldest human rights groups in the U.S.
- CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions)
Headed by Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR
was founded in 1988 as a professional association for scholars interested in "religious
minorities, new religious movements, contemporary esoteric, spiritual and gnostic school,
and new religious consciousness in general." Because of wide spread dissemination of
inaccurate information about religious movements, CESNUR determined in 1990 to become
more pro-active in providing accurate information in a number of international forums.
The CESNUR web site (upgraded in 1998) provides much highly commendable scholarly
information about religious movements around the world. CESNUR is headquartered in
Torino, Italy. Introductory materials are multilinqual; much of the text is in Italian,
with significant amounts of English translation.
- Church State Council
The Church State Council is a California based Seventh-day Adventist
organization. Focus for the organization appears to be in California and the Western
region of the United States. National matters are covered through links. While not
extensive, this is a well conceived and attractive site.
- Citizen's Project
This is a grass roots organization in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado.
It characterizes its mission as "upholding the traditional American Values of pluralism,
freedom of religion and separation of church and state." It was founded in 1992 to
counter the influence of a growing number of conservative Christians who are setting up
national and international headquarters in the Colorado Springs area. James Dobson,
head of Focus on the Family appears to be a source of particular concern. The
archives of their newsletter,
Freedom Watch, provides a useful resource for persons interested in studying
organized grass roots response to the Religious Right.
- Claremont Institute
The Claremont Institute seeks "to restore the principles of the American
Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life." Founded
in 1979, it is a California based think-tank devoted to conservative libertarian
principles and committed to doing battle with liberal political. The main content
of this site consists of papers and editorial by members and fellow travelers. Religious
freedom is incorporated by reference to the founding documents of this nation, but
we outwise found little religious content on this page.
- Council for America's First Freedom
Founded in 1984, the Council for America's First Freedom (CAFF) is a non-profit, non-denominational, and non-political organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the impact of religious freedom, or the lack thereof, in the international community. Its education and outreach programs call attention to the significance of the
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786) in the development religious freedom. The
organization is currently developing a First Freedom Educational Center and a First Freedom Monument in Richmond, Virginia.
- Council on Religious Freedom
The Council on Religious Freedom is an organization of Seventh-day Adventist lay persons.
This web site offers little background about the organization, but valuable information
on the status of religious liberty in each state is found in a section entitled
"Religious Liberty Developments. This information
alone makes this site a valuable bookmark. The site also presents valuable content
about religious freedom around the world in a quarterly newsletter entitled
Freedom Alert. Unfortunately, each page has been scanned as a "gif" image
from the hard copy with the result that pages load very slowly.
- Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is an agency of the
Southern Baptist Convention. This is a gateway to the Commission's views on
many issues, but the main menu offers access to many Baptist Press articles on
Religious Liberty and
- The Federalist Society
From the organization's statement of purpose: "The Federalist Society for
Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested
in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state
exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to
our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary
to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an
awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities."
A key feature of this site is an annotated bibliography of materials covering every
component of legal scholarship. Here are items covering the
in the First Amendment.
- The Freedom Forum On Line
The Freedom Forum's Newseum in Arlington, Virginia (the first Metro
stop just across the Potomic from Washington) is a truly remarkable interactive museum.
The Freedom Forum On Line similiarly establishes a standard of excellence. One
finds here a every turning kaleidoscope of information on every dimension of human
freedom. The Religion
section has excellent coverage of current issues as well as a substantial archieve
of valuable resources.
- Freedom Magazine
This is the web-based version of a Scientolgoy magazine devoted to
"investigative reporting in the public interest" that has been published since 1968.
High resolution graphics make any effort to explore the contents of this page a tedious
- Hatewatch Germany
The Church of Scientology claims it has been treated badly in Germany and
there is a lot of evidence to back this charge -- United Nations reports, U.S. State
Department reports, independent commissions, etc. Still, Scientology has had a difficult
time gaining a sympathetic ear in the mass media, or the world of public opinion. This
Scientology page was created to provide information and documentation of alleged
discrimination against Scientology and other religious minorities in Germany. The
information is generally powerful, but gaining access is made difficult by high resolution graphics
that load very slowly. The problem of exploring this page is made more difficult by the
absence of any apparent hierarchy of content. Those who care about religious freedom
should know about the contents on this site. Scientology would do themselves, and other
minorities who have suffered religious persecution, a favor if they would junk the high
resolution "jpg's" and otherwise work at making the site more accessible.
- Human Rights in China
"Human Rights in China (HRIC) is an international non-governmental
organization founded by Chinese scientists and scholars in March 1989. HRIC monitors
the implementation of international human rights standards in the People's Republic of
China and carries out human rights advocacy and education among Chinese people inside
and outside the country." HRIC maintains offices in New York and Hong Kong. A series
of links to HRIC's magazine China Rights Forum and mass media coverage provides
fairly extensive reading about
Religious Freedom in China.
- International Association for Religious Freedom
The International Association for Religious Freedom was formed in 1900 to resist intolerance.
Headquartered in Oxford, United Kingdom membership consists of individuals and groups representing all of the major faith traditions and there are branch chapters in eight nations.
- Institute of Church-State Studies
J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies is a world class organization.
Founded at Baylor University in 1957, it has a distinguished record of education and
scholarly publications on church and state relations. It's Journal of Church and
State, founded by James E. Wood, Jr. in 1957, is the publication of note of this
subject. This web site explores the many activities of the Institute, and also contains
a number of valuable features. One is the table of contents for the most recents issues
of the Journal of Church and
State , the editorial commentaries of Editor Derik Davis, and a regular feature
in the Journal entitled "Notes on Church-State Affairs." It would be an enormous
contribution to church and state studies if resources could be make available to archive
the contents of back issues of the Journal. Tucked away in a corner that might
be easily overlooked is a link entitled
"Other Areas of Interest".
Click here and you will open up the most extensive set of links to other organizations
and scholarly documents relating to church and state that we have found on the Internet.
- Institute for First Amendment Studies
This Institute, founded in 1984, is the product of a self-professed former
fundamentalist minister and an attorney. Their stated purpose is "to expose and counter
the political activities of the Religious Right."
- The Institute for World Spirituality
The Institute is a recently founder organization that seeks "to promote
communication, tolerance and most importantly, cooperative compassionate action among
the religions of the world." Robert L. Moore or Chicago Theological Seminary is the
- The Interfaith Alliance
Founded in 1994, the Mission Statement of The Interfaith Alliance claims
to offer Americans "a mainstream, faith-based agenda committed to the positive role
of religion as a healing and constructive force in public." TIAF also claims that
it "seeks to move beyond the traditional 'right/left' arguments and find common
grounds in the nation's search for the common good." These lofty goals notwithstanding,
much of the content of this web site suggests the organization's goal is to do battle
with the Religious Right.
- International Campaign for Tibet
The International Campaign for Tibet is the new name of an organization
formerly known as the "Save Tibet Campaign." It is a leading organization in the
struggle to promote human rights and religious freedom in Tibet. In addition to extensive
information about this organization, interested persons will find links to more than
fifteen other groups that
have taken up the cause of Tibet.
- International Coalition for Religious Freedom
ICRF is a "non-profit, non-sectarian, educational organization dedicated to
defending the religious freedom of all." Resources, including staff, for this
organization come from the Unification Church and its members. The program contents of
three 1998 ICRF conferences on religious freedom are available on the site. They also
publish a newsletter but, to date, back issues have not been archived. New materials,
mainly in the form of links, are periodically added to this page, but there seems to be
no systematic strategy for the development of a coherent and comprehensive site.
- Liberty Counsel
"Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit religious civil liberties education and
legal defense organization established to preserve religious freedom. Established in
1989, Liberty Counsel provides information on First Amendment religious rights, and
pro bono legal defense to defend those rights." The principal in this organization
is Mathew Staver, an attorney working out of Orlando, and most of the case load
is in the state of Florida.
- National Committee For Amish Religious Freedom
In the tradition of the Old Order Amish, this is a simple page with a powerful
message. The organization's mission statement is: "To defend and preserve the religious
freedom of the Old Order Amish religion in the United States." The Committee was founded
in 1967 at the University of Chicago by persons outside of the faith who recognized that
the Amish were threatened (and are threatened still) "by laws and regulations made for
modern industrialized society." They note further that "the Amish are at a disadvantage
when it comes to defending themselves in courts or before legislative committees. They
do no believe in going to court to settle human conflict, for the Bible says 'Turn the
other cheek,' and they do not easily complain nor do they have lobbyists." William C.
Lindholm, chairs the committee and maintains the web site. This site bears testimony to
the fact that a few people who care can make a difference. It is also a wonderful place
to learn about the Amish.
- PEARL: National Committee for Public
Education and Religious Liberty
This page is currently off-line. If it is not restored in a reasonable time,
we will delete this link.
- People For the American Way
People for the American Way was created in 1980 by Norman Lear for the
unapologetic purpose of doing battle with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. Over
the years, this organization has matured and can no longer be counted on to deliever
a knee-jerk liberal response to everything the Religious Right stands for. To be sure,
they amost always come down on the "liberal" side of most issues, but their position
is usually thoughtful. And, there is evidence in the publications of a good faith effort
to understand the perspective of the Religious Right. Still, People For still sees many
demons on the Religious Right and they continue to be the nation's #1 watchdog of the
Religious Right. This web site is filled with mountains of information. It is currently
undergoing significant renovation; hopefully to improve the ease of locating material.
- Religious Freedom
A product of the Christian Science Committee on Publication, this is one of
the most physically attractive and user friendly Religious Freedom sites on the
Internet. There are three features that are particularly useful: (1) documents on
the history of religious freedom, (2) lots of information on the status of RFRA in the
wake of the Boerne v. Flores decision, and (3) the constitutional status of
religious freedom around the world. A thoughtfully constructed
site map places the content of
this religious freedom page on a single screen.
- The Rutherford Institute
The Rutherford Institute Institute is an international legal and
educational organization devoted to the preservation of religious liberty,
family autonomy and the sancity of human life. Founded in 1982 by John W. Whitehead,
The Rutherford Institute in headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia and has regional
offices across the United States, Europe and Latin America. Rutherford has a strong
record in the defense of religious minorities. This web site describes the various
activities and programs of the Rutherford Institute and is otherwise functional to
the organizations interests. In 1996 the Rutherford Institute published a Handbook on
Religious Liberty Around the World. This Handbook, which provides valuable
historical and legal information on forty countries, is reproduced in the
Nation Profiles on this site. See the
Table of Contents to identify the coutries covered in the Handbook.
- Unitarian Universalist Association
The Unitarian Universalist Association is a religious organization that affirms the difference and
individualisms among people. As a liberal religion born of the Jewish and Christian traditions, they value freedom
and open dialogue as the means to spirtual exploration. "We uphold the free search for truth. We will not be
bound by a statement of belief. We do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed. We say ours is a noncreedal religion.
Ours is a free faith."
Religious Freedom Web Sites|
Human Rights Organizations|