First Freedom First: A Citizen's Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State

By C. Welton Gaddy; Barry W. Lynn | Go to book overview

What Now? A Strategy for
Strengthening Religious Liberty

No sooner had immigrants to the North American continent set foot on its shoreline, fleeing from the intolerance and persecution characteristic of the established church in their European homes, than they began to reproduce here the religious discrimination, religious persecution, and myriad of abuses of religious freedom that they had fled. Today, faced by runaway pluralism and an approach to government that erases the distinction between religion and politics, people seek the will of the majority at the expense of the rights of minorities. Opposition to the constitutional guarantee of no establishment of religion has increased. Some citizens who affirm freedom for religion are not willing to concede a guarantee of freedom from religion.

Whether looking into the mirror of the nation’s colonial history or through a window at the currents in contemporary America, when it comes to religious liberty the view is similar. Three disturbing realities raise the important question of what should be done next.

First, the stark reality is that, in every age, the psyche of the majority seems to swing away from concerns for the rights of minorities even if the majority has formerly experienced hardships as a minority. Thus, the security of religious liberty is in question once again.

Second, in every era of American history, perceptive students of religion and government have understood that the right of religious

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