Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Religious Freedom - #3521 - Faith in America - Heritage Foundation

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote. “The hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.” Among the American Founders, there was a profound sense that faith and freedom were deeply intertwined.  Nowadays, we are often told that religion is divisive and ought to kept away from politics for the sake of liberty. Religion somehow is opposed to liberty, and so liberty requires a diminution of religion in the public square.  The view long consistent with our historical practice, though, is that of America’s Founders, who advanced religious liberty so as to strengthen religious faith and its influence on American self-government. All had a natural right to worship God as they chose, according to the dictates of their consciences. At the same time, the Founders upheld religion and morality–to paraphrase Washington’s Farewell Address–as indispensable supports of good habits, the firmest props of the duties of citizens, and the great pillars of human happiness.  Religious liberty neither settles nor dismisses the claims of reason and revelation to teach the most important things for human beings to know. But it does create a practical solution–after thousands of years of failed attempts–at the level of politics and political morality. It established a form of government that is sanctioned by human nature and open to moral reasoning, the legitimacy of which does not depend on the truth of any particular religious denomination.  Read more........

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