Attorney makes defending religious liberty his mission
Attorney follows his conscience to protect right of others to do the same
"Because of how we're made, we are each free — within broad limits — to follow what we believe to be true in the manner that our consciences say we must," Hasson writes in his book. "That is, we are free to celebrate our beliefs in public and try respectfully to persuade others of them. We are free, in fact, to organize our entire lives around them."
And, Hasson claims, history has shown that repressing that natural right will eventually backfire.
"He is a true litigation entrepreneur," said Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He noted how Hasson's approach can disarm secularists because it is consistent with their concept of human rights.
"He came up with a great approach to defending the first freedom that recognizes the connection between religious liberty and preserving human dignity. His approach is much less tied to a particular faith but about the broader human right."
Smith said Hasson's approach persuaded the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse itself in 2010 and agree that the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance wasn't government endorsement of a religion, but reflected the Founding Fathers' philosophy that certain "inalienable rights" came from a higher source than government and couldn't be taken away.
After battling the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease for more than a decade, Hasson retired last year from work at the Becket Fund. But as emeritus president and a board member, his influence and legacy remain.
"We all admire him for his vision and courage," Smith said. "Seamus understood from the beginning that the Becket Fund had to be a place that recognized that if anyone didn't have religious freedom, then no one had religious freedom. He really established that as the bedrock principle of the Becket Fund, and it's one that continues."
- Young performing LDS missionary shares...
- Two apostles visit Northern South America,...
- How to get 'Meet the Mormons' in theaters...
- Famous Mormons featured in new BYU commercial
- Mormon neighbors help Catholic nuns with...
- New Harmony: Viewing the penmanship of prophets
- Ask Angela: Fiancee struggles with newly...
- A conversation with Mormon convert and 7-time...
- Ask Angela: Fiancee struggles with... 46
- New Harmony: Viewing the penmanship of... 8
- New Utah rabbi hopes to 'perfect the... 6
- 6 science-fiction and fantasy movies... 5
- 5 unusual places of worship 5
- 10 religious leaders you may not know... 5
- How to get 'Meet the Mormons' in... 4
- Over half a million people attended... 4