Religious Freedom: Why Americans Are Celebrating and Defending It Now

I had missed this from the Heritage Foundation last week:

Today marks the beginning of the “Fortnight of Freedom.” This two-week period culminating on July 4 is a time to celebrate and defend America’s first freedom, religious liberty.

Why make special effort to celebrate religious freedom now? Because religious freedom is a key pillar of the kind of life we enjoy in America, recognizing the dignity of human persons and our obligations to a higher power than civil government. This is why the Founders embraced freedom of religion as an essential condition of a free and democratic society.

Religious liberty means we can worship freely without fear of the government raiding our homes, threatening our loved ones, or otherwise penalizing us for our beliefs. In America, we can enter and leave faith communities without fear of violent persecution.

More than just being free to worship, though, religious liberty means we can practice our faith publicly in numerous ways, many of which we often take for granted. Regardless of our religious affiliation, we’re free to make arguments in the public square and to run for political office. We’re free to read, write, and publish books about our religious beliefs. We’re free to operate businesses according to our deepest convictions. We can educate our children according to the traditions of our faith, and we can observe the holidays and customs of those traditions. And we’re free to support charitable causes and organizations that are motivated and guided by religious commitments.

Religious freedom protects our ability to live according to our deepest beliefs. It means we don’t have to hide who we are and what we stand for.

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