Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 23, 2022 / 07:00 am
A nonprofit legal organization specializing in religious liberty cases has conducted a study comparing U.S. states on the basis of how free its residents are to practice their faith.
Spoiler alert: Mississippi offers the most protections for religious freedom, while New York comes in last on the First Liberty Institute’s “Religious Liberty in the States 2022 (RLS)” index.
The states are ranked according to how many laws are on the books that protect the free exercise of religion, with the states with the most laws providing safeguards for religious freedom ranked the highest.
Sarah Estelle, a research fellow with the Institute’s Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy (CRCD) and associate professor of economics at Hope College in Michigan, directed the project. She analyzed laws in all 50 states and narrowed the index down to 29 separate laws, the majority of which offer protections for medical professionals, allowing them to opt out of providing abortions, sterilizations, and contraception.