Our established religion

Yuval Levin says that the religious liberty issues raised by the response to the Indiana Religious Freedom law involves not just the First Amendment’s right to the “free exercise” of religion, but maybe even more so to the clause forbidding the “establishment” of religion.  What we have today being imposed is a single, authoritative religious ideology, equivalent to a state church:  that of progressive liberalism.

Levin then delves into James Madison on this subject and contrasts his position to that of John Locke, who advocated “toleration” of different views on the part of individuals but would not allow their institutional expression, since that had to be limited by the ideology of the state church. [Read more...]

What Is Religious Freedom, anyway?

Think-tanker Joseph Backholm cites some of the absurdities and posturing in the controversy over the Indiana Religious Freedom act–such as Apple threatening to stop doing business in Indiana, while still doing business in Saudi Arabia where gays can be executed, and a governor banning state travel to Indiana even though his state has a broader Religious Freedom statute than Indiana’s.

But then he gets to the underlying issue:   People have different understandings of what religious freedom means.  Is it just the freedom to attend worship services?  Does it just apply to internal beliefs but not to actions?  Does it only apply to individuals and not to what those individuals do when they operate a business?  He gets into the history of the issue  and the legal precedents in a way that people on all sides of the issue need to understand.  He also shows how the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has actually been used. [Read more...]

The Crusades, the Inquisition, and Protestants

President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that Christianity, like Islam today, has been used to justify violence, mentioning particularly the Crusades and the Inquisition, historical episodes that are always being brought up against Christians.  It’s kind of strange, though, for us heirs of the Reformation to be blamed for those particular incidents. [Read more...]

If religious liberty is THE political issue for Christians. . .

My post on Russell Moore’s contention that religious liberty needs to be THE political issue for Christians in the upcoming elections is approaching 500 comments, and the discussion–despite a few fights that broke out–has been quite good.  But there are some misconceptions I want to address and some implications that I want us to think about. [Read more...]

THE political issue for Christians in 2016

In the early days of the Republic, Baptists supported Thomas Jefferson, even though he was not a Christian.  Why?  Because he supported religious freedom.  Russell Moore says that Christians today need to develop that same mindset  in their political activism today.  He says that THE political issue for Christians in the upcoming elections needs to be religious liberty. [Read more...]

A narrowed religious liberty vs. erotic liberty

Religious liberty, Al Mohler observes, is being restricted to private, unexpressed inner feelings and to what happens within the walls of a church.  Whereas traditionally, religions liberty extended to convictions that apply to external behavior and views about society.  But today religious views about how a person lives his or her life in the world are  increasingly are being outlawed and punished.  Dr. Mohler also gives a name to the specific conflict we are seeing today:  religious liberty vs. erotic liberty. [Read more...]


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