Invoking “natural law” in debates over human rights does not necessarily lead to privileging religious rights over others, denying people’s rights to express their sexual or gender identity, or refusing to acknowledge economic and social rights.
For the very reasons that religious freedom discourse is powerful, arguments made in its register, especially as they stretch the indeterminacy of religion in the directions of collective rights, should appropriately be on the table in Native peoples’ efforts to protect what is sacred to them.
By auto-jurisdiction, I mean to convey the ways people look past the putative authority and mechanisms of prevailing jurisdictions and, alternatively, invoke the authority of tradition as long-term grounded experience in order to construct and speak forth their legitimacy.
Neither the government nor the Court doubted the religiosity of the practice for which the Yurok, Karuk, and Tolowa nations sought protection. Yet, arguments about religious freedom obscured the true issues at stake and the need for sovereign freedom.
Life in God is defined by a joyous freedom of movement, a loving and adventurous invitation to the dance of the Spirit. The book of Acts is witness to those who accepted this invitation like Peter, moved to go to a Gentile centurion’s home, thus initiating a new ministry with global implications beyond his ken.
The Trump administration’s most recent actions at the border signal the end of all pretense by the president—and many in his base—that Christian ethical principles should meaningfully inform U.S. immigration and asylum policies. Patriotism and faith have become indistinguishable.
…and they all crossed freely
…and they were heard without initial judgement
The social construction of the criminal other has long served as a justification for subjugation. Pope Francis has stated that the people of God can smell holiness, and perhaps there is also a greater need for the olfactory discernment of evil in our midst. Despite the risk of too literal an interpretation of this metaphor, deeper reflection is warranted of the ways in which evil must be resisted.