Rick Plasterer

Rick Plasterer

Rick Plasterer is a staff writer for IRD concerned particularly with domestic religious liberty. He attended Eastern Mennonite College (now University) receiving a B.A. degree in history and sociology, and an M.S. in library science from Drexel University.



Italy Vatican Pope

Practicing What the Church Teaches

July 22, 2014

The great danger for believers convinced of the clear statements of Christ and the apostles on marriage, the family, and sexuality is that the Synod will recommend that formal sanction be given to the practical acceptance of people not conforming to Christ’s teaching, without any change in their lives.

Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville His Excellency Josep

The Freedom to Serve

July 9, 2014

To live out the Catholic faith at least, as the First Amendment clearly supports in its guarantee of the “exercise of religion,” it must be possible to engage in charitable activity in the world. If one cannot act according to the standards of one’s particular faith, such activity is not a distinct “exercise of religion.”

Robert Gagnon

The Depth of the Biblical Doctrine of Marriage and Morality

June 26, 2014

The case rests not on a few scattered verses in the Bible, as is often claimed, nor is it foreign to the teaching of Jesus, but is integral to Jesus’ teaching and the doctrine of the Kingdom of God. To live showing love for God and godliness fit for the Kingdom of God is to live in accordance with the understanding of marriage and morality that recognizes Jesus’ kingship, to reject this teaching is to be unfit for the Kingdom.


India: a Looming New Arena for Religious Persecution

June 7, 2014

A new arena in which religious freedom is attacked, involving both legal prohibitions and violence, may well have opened up in India with the overwhelming election of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister.

Church in Ruins

“No Establishment” and the Loss of State Neutrality

May 23, 2014

The principle of “no establishment of religion,” firmly emblazoned in the mind of the American public from Supreme Court decisions of recent decades, beginning with the Everson decision of 1947, which established “strict separation” of church and state, seems to assert state neutrality with respect to individual religions and their values, but in fact has been developed to favor irreligion as against religion in general or any particular religion.

Law in Conflict with Morality

Christian Duty and Secular Law

May 12, 2014

Christians must defend both their unconditional obedience to God and a correct understanding of freedom … for all traditional Christians, freedom is understood not as personal autonomy, but as freedom to make the right choice … Obedience to God in both words and action is, most importantly, the only way to fulfill our duty to God, but also the most effective way of eventually restoring religious freedom.

Philosophy of Religious Freedom

The Philosophy of Religious Freedom

May 1, 2014

Appeal to the truth is crucial in defending both religious freedom and the rights of a religiously based conscience … a durable doctrine of religious freedom needs a stronger emphasis on the objectivity of truth and the propriety of exclusive religious truth (while not requiring adherence to its details by everyone), and the personal duty to obey religious precepts.

Photo Credit: liferunners.org

Obeying God Rather than Men

April 21, 2014

We need to understand that our commitment to obey God is a matter of duty, not part of a strategy to either recover dominance or religious freedom. Perhaps, however, if the wider society sees a significant minority of Christians who do not comply with state law and regulations requiring them to sin, and the resultant loss of talent and service to society, there will be accommodation … But whatever happens in the status of Christians in the wider society, our duty to God is clear. Our first commitment is as disciples of Christ – Christians – and only after that as Americans, or whatever other identities and allegiances we have.

Meeting Contemporary Challenges to Religious Freedom

Meeting Contemporary Challenges to Religious Freedom

April 5, 2014

If it is proper for the state to define the good life, then many mandates about how people should behave are entirely proper. But defining the good life is considered by most religions to be their proper function. Religious freedom rests in large measure on the intuition that people should not be required to take action they believe is wrong. And that mandates a modest role for government, as it has traditionally had in Anglo-Saxon liberalism.

America's First Freedom

America’s First Freedom

March 24, 2014

Of all freedoms in the civil order, none can be more important than religious freedom, since it protects our right to live in accordance with what we apprehend to be ultimately right and wrong. This cannot be set aside for values the state imposes.

Internationalist Ideology

U.N. Monitoring Committees As Judicial Activists in the Culture War

March 21, 2014

The United Nations attack on the moral teaching of the Catholic Church in the name of human rights points to a more general problem with the application of U.N. human rights treaties, namely, that the monitoring committees charged with reviewing compliance read into them a social radical agenda, which is then claimed as an international norm, binding on nation-states … The result is that international law is no longer about the relation of nation-states to one another, but instead is developing as a global legal code, binding on individuals, and embodying the far left’s commitment to the sexual revolution.

Jesus Teaching His Disciples

The Kingdom of God and Relativism as a Norm

March 8, 2014

Moral autonomy, the reigning doctrine of our age, is seriously inhibiting both truth and freedom for the gospel … Because the relativist challenge to truth and morality is so wide ranging, a successful strategy has to be on many fronts. It has to affect the “core of what people believe.”