The Founding Fathers, Religious Liberty and Indiana

George Washington Praying

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text](The Daily Signal) As the loud opposition to Indiana’s religious freedom law subsides, plenty of confusion needs to be cleared up. We need to explain to our friends and what religious liberty is, why it matters, and what the consequences are of undermining it or, as is the case withthe “fix” enacted in Indiana, restricting its protections.

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Now is a good time to take a step back. As Americans approach Passover and Easter, it’s worth remembering why religious liberty matters in the first place. For that, we can turn to our Founding Fathers. After all, they were the ones who established a political society unlike any other in all of human history—meant to not merely “tolerate” the religious practice of minorities, but to protect the natural right of all Americans to liberty of conscience and the free exercise of religion.

George Washington, in his Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R. I., perhaps said it best:

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

 

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

One of the hallmarks of conscience and religious liberty protections is that they protect people of all faiths, even if their beliefs seem unfounded, flawed, implausible or downright silly.

Read the Rest from Ryan T. Anderson at The Daily Signal[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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