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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Jun 24, 2019

Taking offense does not render a lawsuit, and this is supported by the Supreme Court of the United States. Letters of offense due to religion can be ignored because the law does not exist to resolve offense. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


Lawsuits exist to redress actual injury.  But, it seems that some activists think lawsuits exist to resolve offense.

You hear it all the time.  Recently, activists complained about the presence of a Bible at a VA Medical Clinic.  A World War II veteran donated it.  He was a prisoner of war and thought it appropriate that the VA display it as part of a POW/MIA remembrance table at the clinic.  Right on cue, an angry activist sent a letter claiming offense, demanding that this historic Bible be removed.

First Liberty Institute sent a letter reassuring the VA that the display is perfectly legal.  We reminded them that removing any Bible from such a display could not only dishonor the memory of the brave men remembered, it might actually be unlawful. Offense is not a cause of action. And the Supreme Court of the United States agrees. 

In Town of Greece v. Galloway, Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, explained:

Offense, however, does not equate to coercion. Adults often encounter speech they find disagreeable; and an Establishment Clause violation is not made out any time a person experiences a sense of affront from the expression of contrary religious views.

So, if you ever get a threatening letter that is based entirely upon someone being offended by the presence of a religious item or symbol, just ignore it.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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