Religious Freedom Is for Non-Christians Too

Russell Moore | July 1, 2017

Does religious liberty apply to non-Christian religions?

Someone told me he had seen a Baptist writer question whether Muslim Americans qualify for religious liberty “benefits.” Hearing that was honestly surprising, since it represents a direct contradiction of our confessional document and all of its predecessors.

But beyond this there’s a broader question that’s important to consider: Must a person who believes Jesus is the only way to God defend religious freedom for Christians and non-Christians alike?

One thing we need to be clear about is that religious liberty is not a government “benefit,” but a natural and inalienable right granted by God. Often at issue is whether or not the civil state has the power to zone mosques or Islamic cemeteries or synagogues or other houses of worship out of existence because of what those groups believe. When someone makes such a claim, they are not standing up for Jesus and his gospel, but standing against them. To empower the state to command or to forbid worship is not fidelity to the Bible.

When we say—as Baptists and many other Christians always have—that freedom of religion applies to all people, Christian or not, we are not suggesting that there are many paths to God…

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