I was recently invited to write a post for tothesource reflecting on religious liberty in light of the current election campaign. Tothesource provides a forum dedicated to integrating thinking and action within the moral framework of orthodox Christianity and the resources of the Christian intellectual tradition. Bringing these rich resources to bear on the contemporary cultural situation, tothesource strives to enable its readers to face current challenges with new insight and emboldened with hope and tenacity. It’s a zeal which Providence shares.
What shouldn’t be missed in discussions of the state of religious liberty within the US is the foreign policy implications. Our nation is grounded in the self-evident understanding that all men–every single human person–is created equal and clothed in certain inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is a fundamentally religious claim to assert that we have a right to happiness. In the founder’s hands, this happiness is not an empty subjectivism but points, as in the Aristotelian sense, to the concept of eudaimonia–true human flourishing that is inescapably linked to the acquisition of virtue and the pursuit of our created purposes. Religious liberty is geared toward the pursuit of being that for which we were made to be.
The Founder’s claim, moreover, that all men are created equal is not limited to those holding certain types of passports. Providence’s mission includes teasing out the foreign policy implications of this founding claim to universal human value, especially in light of American power and global leadership. The summer print edition of Providence includes an essay, a roadmap really, that we’ve entitled “A Christian Declaration on American Foreign Policy.” If you don’t have a copy of the summer issue, write and ask for one. Or, even better, click to subscribe.
Meanwhile, I invite you to reflect on my religious liberty post for tothesource. It begins here:
Prayer for the Conflict Ahead: Kneeling is a Fighting Position
From the first settlements of the 17th century through to the ongoing social reforms of the 19th and 20th centuries, religious faith has always featured large in the American story. As much as free markets, the constitution (or even jazz and baseball) it is the religious impulse that cannot be lost if you want to preserve the defining characteristics of our national order. Religious liberty therefore, and the thriving faith communities that result from it, is the blood and marrow of American life. Without it, nothing discernably American can long thrive. While religious liberty is priceless, it is not free. Indeed, even a cursory look at today’s culture proves that the stability of religious liberty in America stands on a knife’s edge and might well be lost if wise and resolute action is not taken. Ahead of America’s faithful is the necessity to work on two planes: down on our knees in prayer and up on our feet defending ourselves.
Click here to continue reading
image credit: tothesource, September 1oth, 2016