Terry Mattingly, who writes on religion at the Patheos blog, has written a blog about the forum on religious freedom held at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Mattingly makes the point that religious freedom should not be identified with any party or political ideology–it’s too important to us all, believers and unbelievers.
This is an interesting and timely point. We are involved in a legislative battle in Nevada, working to pass our state equivalent of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. throughout the 1990s, groups such as the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State supported RFRA, even filing amicus briefs to the Supreme Court. Yet those same groups oppose the exact same language in our state equivalent legislation. Why? They have let political ideology trump the principles of religious freedom.
The trends worldwide are not hopeful. Most of the world’s population lives in countries where religious liberties are restricted or non-existent. Mattingly also notes that hostility to religion is on the rise in Europe, and most strikingly in the United States. We cannot afford to be complacent.