Is Freedom of Religion Being Misinterpreted?

November 21, 2019

Dr. Emily R. Gill, a retired Bradley political science professor, has published her fourth book, Free Exercise of Religion in the Liberal Policy: Conflicting Interpretations.

In the book, Dr. Gill criticizes the expansive interpretation of the free exercise of religion and how it has changed along with society. She says, “The interpretation of the free exercise of religion adopted by some Christian conservatives is mistaken when they try to control how other people who do not share the same beliefs live their lives.”

The book’s framework overviews the various meanings of neutrality, public funding of religious and social service organizations, private voluntary organizations that do not receive public funds, recent exemption issues and the states’ treatment of marriage and intimate relationships.

She digs deep into the government stance and involvement on the issue of free exercise of religion and how it has been handled thus far. Dr. Gill relates her analyses of the topic to current and past court cases, including the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, where a cake shop denied a gay couple service.

Dr. Gill started teaching at Bradley in 1972 and retired in 2015. Throughout her 43 years of teaching, she was very interested in political theory and its different applications. The classes she taught included both Classic Political Philosophy and Modern Political Philosophy. She also taught a seminar, Diversity and Citizenship, which puts emphasis on inclusivity for different subgroups, including religion.

Some media in Bradley University's current print, video and online materials was acquired before the COVID-19 pandemic. Media acquired after the pandemic began was done so in compliance with Bradley's COVID-19 safety protocols at the time. The ongoing safety of our faculty, staff and students is of the utmost concern during these unprecedented times.