Religious freedom has re-emerged as a controversial issue in the courts, in the Church, and in the public square in the United States. This essay examines the groundbreaking contribution that John Courtney Murray, SJ made to bring about a paradigm shift in Roman Catholic teaching on religious freedom. This shift can be traced to the Church’s transitioning from the view that “error has no rights” to only people—not ideas—have rights. The essay underscores Murray’s focus on human conscience and addresses tensions that have emerged in the United States between voices that affirm the right to religious freedom and those that affirm other fundamental human rights. The essay proposes the adoption of an integral ecology of human rights built upon an option for the legally and religiously marginalized.

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