Here’s how the Heritage Foundation introduces this post: “Heritage’s Jennifer Marshall discusses the role of liberty in American society and its importance both yesterday and today.” Here’s an excerpt:
Authoritarian governments – whether religious or secular – have long sought to curb or even to extinguish religious liberty. On the other hand, the limited American government established by our Constitution respects the institutions of our civil society – including, especially, religious institutions. The American Founders believed that strong religious congregations and vibrant faith communities were essential to ordered liberty. As a result, Americans have long enjoyed the fullest religious liberty in the world, and we have reaped the benefits of a flourishing civil society rooted in that religious freedom.
Compared to the Founding era, more and more power is now being centralized in the national government. Today, for example, many policies that affect local public schools are made in Washington. As creeping centralization slowly overcomes the Constitution’s federal design, the national government has begun to restrict the freedom of religion that is an indispensable element of the American founding.