Charles C. Haynes

Dr. Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center. He writes and speaks extensively on religious liberty and religion in American public life.

Haynes is best known for his work on First Amendment issues in public schools. Over the past two decades, he has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religious liberty in schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious and educational organizations. In January 2000, three of these guides were distributed by the U.S. Department of Education to every public school in the nation. (See also A Parent's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools, A Teacher's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools and Public Schools & Religious Communities.)

Haynes is the author or co-author of six books, including First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights in America (2006) and Religion in American Public Life. His column, Inside the First Amendment, appears in newspapers nationwide.

He is a founding board member of the Character Education Partnership and serves on the steering committee of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and the American Bar Association Advisory Commission on Public Education. He chairs the Committee on Religious Liberty of the National Council of Churches.

Widely quoted in news magazines and major newspapers, Haynes is also a frequent guest on television and radio. He has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal and on ABC’s "Evening News." In 2008 he received the Virginia First Freedom Award from the Council for America’s First Freedom.

Haynes holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Emory University.

Posts by Charles C. Haynes:

Beyond the outrage, is Hobby Lobby decision a win-win?

Supreme Court ruling is neither the all-out assault on women’s rights alleged by some on the left nor the major expansion of religious freedom trumpeted by many on the right.

In new poll, marriage equality beats religious objections

State of the First Amendment survey finds majorities support same-sex health benefits and requiring wedding businesses to serve gay couples, religious beliefs notwithstanding.

In Tenn. mosque fight, religious freedom trumps Islamophobia

U.S. Supreme Court puts an end to bias-based lawsuit challenging permit for construction of an Islamic Center near Murfreesboro.

In higher education, low tolerance for free speech

A student who handed out flyers is charged with religious discrimination for disseminating views critical of a religious group. But wait, there’s more.

From the Supreme Court, prayer rules that won’t work

Decision in New York case creates confusion for government officials who now must decide when an official legislative or meeting prayer crosses the line into proselytizing or disparaging other religions.

Politics and perils of closing school for religious holidays

As religious diversity continues to expand in all parts of America, many school and city officials may be forced to decide that the only viable solution is not to close schools on religious holidays.

Wake-up call in Kansas: Anti-Semitism is alive and dangerous in America

We can act to inoculate the next generation against the sick and twisted ideology that inspired Frazier Glenn Miller to gun down three innocent people in a fit of rage against the Jews.

Are ‘religious viewpoint’ laws needed in public schools?

The biggest problem with protection laws for student religious expression is the potential for abuse.

Gay marriage, religious freedom and the need for civil dialogue

The issue is fast becoming a shouting match where any concern for the common good is lost in the din of charge and countercharge.

With the stroke of a pen, Ariz. governor changes everything

The sad lesson of the battle over S.B. 1062 is that in the current climate of name-calling and fear-mongering, few people on either side are willing to work together to uphold both nondiscrimination and religious freedom.

Push for ‘school prayer’ is about power, not prayer

Despite what you hear, prayer has never been banned in school; what’s banned is government-forced prayer.

Vladimir Putin’s Potemkin village

Putin’s “new Russia” looks very much like the old Russia that denied freedom of expression, religious liberty and other human rights.

Do corporations have religious freedom?

When people of faith choose to live out that faith in the world of business, they should not be put to what the Supreme Court once called ‘the cruel choice’ between following their God and making a profit.

In 2014, free the faithful

Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran, is just one of thousands imprisoned for their different faiths around the world.

From a 5th-grader, uncomfortable truth about religious conflict

If schools don’t teach young kids (or allow them to discuss) the truth about religious strife in history, then what exactly do they teach?

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