www.CatholicLiberty.com

In Defense of Religious Freedom


EVANGELICALS AND CATHOLICS

Source:
First Things
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/1/2012

Go to this article

Want to understand the Catholic faith?

ABSTRACTArticle | First Things Home Visit the Home Page Print Edition Current Edition Previous Edition Archive Subscribe On the Square Latest Feature Archive Blogs Evangel Secondhand Smoke First Thoughts Postmodern Conservative Events Coming Events Recent Events Advertising Advertise on First Things Donate Support First Things About Us Masthead ROFTERS Contact Us Submissions Store Shop First Things Buy The Creed Subscribe Subscribe Customer Service Search First Things 2012 January February March April 2011 January February March April May June/July October November Aug/Sept December 2010 January February March April May June/July Aug/Sept October November December 2009 January February March April May June/July Aug/Sept October November December 2008 January February March April May June/July Aug/Sept October November December 2007 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 2006 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 2005 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 2004 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 2003 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 2002 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 2001 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 2000 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1999 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1998 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1997 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1996 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1995 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1994 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1993 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1992 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1991 January February March April May June/July August/September October November December 1990 March April May June/July August/September October November December March 2012 In Defense of Religious Freedom A Statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Evangelicals and Catholics Together Eighteen years ago, this fellowship of Evangelical and Catholic pastors, theologians, and educators was formed to deepen the dialogue among our communities on issues of common concern, to explore theological common ground, and to offer in public life a common witness born of Christian faith. Since our founding in 1994, we have addressed, together, such important public policy questions as the defense of life, even as we have proposed to our communities patterns of theological understanding on such long-disputed questions as the gift of salvation, the authority of Scripture, and the call to holiness in the communion of saints. We hope that this collaboration has been a service to both Church and society; it has certainly drawn us closer together as brothers and sisters in Christ, and for that we are grateful to the Lord of all mercies. At the beginning of our common work on behalf of the gospel, it did not seem likely that religious freedom would be one of our primary concerns. The communist project in Europe had collapsed; the commitment of Christian believers to defeat totalitarianism through the weapons of truth had triumphed; and throughout the world, a new era of religious freedom seemed at hand. We are now concerned�indeed, deeply concerned�that religious freedom is under renewed assault around the world. While the threats to freedom of faith, religious practice, and religious participation in public affairs in Islamist and communist states are widely recognized, grave threats to religious freedom have also emerged in the developed democracies. In the West, certain religious beliefs are now regarded as bigoted. Pastors are under threat, both cultural and legal, for preaching biblical truth. Christian social-service and charitable agencies are forced to cease cooperation with the state because they will not bend their work to what Pope Benedict XVI has called the �dictatorship of relativism.� Proponents of human rights, including governments, have begun to define religious freedom down, reducing it to a bare �freedom of worship.� This reduction denies the inherently public character of biblical religion and privatizes the very idea of religious freedom, a view of freedom such as one finds in those repressive states where Christians can pray only so long a.......