How Christians Can Evaluate Religious Liberty Objections

Russell Moore and Joe Carter | September 10, 2015


Why should you care if a Sikh isn’t allowed to carry his ceremonial dagger into the workplace? What difference does it make if a Muslim woman cannot wear a headscarf to school? Even before the founding of America, Christians were the leading champions of religious liberty. Our defense of freedom was broad-based, and extended to advocating for the conscience protections of other faiths. As the Baptist leader John Leland wrote in 1820, “All should be equally free—Jews, Turks [Muslims], Pagans and Christians.”

Recently, though, there has been a subtle shift in the views of many Christians concerning who should qualify for religious protections. As has always been the unfortunate case, a minority refuses to defend the conscience of anyone who does not follow their own faith tradition.* However, an increasing number make the opposite mistake. They are quick to defend minority faiths, such as Sikhs, Hindus, and Native American religions, while hesitant to rally behind those who identify as Christian.

But we should continue to defend the religious liberty of all Americans—including unpopular Christians—for one simple reason: Without religious freedom no other freedoms matter.

Because of the priority of religious freedom, the protection of the individual’s conscience should be a higher…


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