Written by Don Byrd
In a column for Religion News Service, Curtis Freeman, professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School, offers a history lesson on the religion clauses of the First Amendment and encourages us all to remember the seminal importance of the Bill of Rights.
For John Leland and the Baptists of Virginia, he writes, “true liberty was more than toleration . . . Liberty must be for all or it is not liberty at all.”
Freeman concludes by warning against forgetting that key element of religious liberty. We risk allowing that precious first freedom to be used in all the wrong ways. Here is that excerpt:
We must not allow a misremembering of history to change religious liberty into a presumed privilege of a religious majority (real or assumed) or to become a tool of exclusion used against religious minorities (no matter how different from us they may be). To do so turns our founding principles on their heads. It was just such a bad idea that called for the creation of the lively experiment that became America. Let’s celebrate and defend religious liberty for all, and make America great again.