Against Idolatrous Conservatism

Christians continually struggle to find the right approach, balance, and tone in their political witness, either co-opting the Gospel for the sake of political ends or retreating altogether out of fear of the same. Continue Reading...

10 Quotes for Religious Freedom Day

Thomas Jefferson wanted what he considered to be his three greatest achievements to be listed on his tombstone. The inscription, as he stipulated, reads “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.” On Saturday we celebrate the 230th anniversary of one of those great creations: the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. Continue Reading...

The Great Awakening Shaped the Constitution—and Religious Freedom

How did religious freedom develop in America? It didn’t happen the way most of us were taught in school—whether in elementary school or law school. In fact, notes legal scholar Richard Garnett, the “standard story” about religious freedom in Early America is profoundly misleading: In my experience, this “standard story” is familiar to most Americans, whether or not they are historians or constitutional lawyers, though lawyers have probably been more exposed to and influenced by it than most. Continue Reading...

Global Religious Persecution is Mostly Christian Persecution

The rise of Islamic State has led to a renewed focus on the persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria. But as Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan says, “The whole Middle East, without exception, is presently engulfed by a nightmare that seems to have no end and that undermines the very existence of minorities, particularly of Christians, in lands known to be the cradle of our faith and early Christian communities.” And the problem is not just in the Middle East.  Continue Reading...

A University Without Religious Freedom Is Not a University

Around the country, Christian groups on college and universities are being told that if they want to stay on campus they must compromise their mission and principles. As Chris Lawrence of Cru notes, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill denied recognition to a Christian fraternity because it would not agree to open its membership to students of different faiths. Continue Reading...

Should Religious Liberty Be Considered the ‘First Freedom’?

Ask most Americans why religious liberty is considered the “first freedom” and they’ll likely say it’s because it comes first in the Bill of Rights. While technically true (it does comes first) that wasn’t the intention of the original framers of the Constitution The original Bill of Rights included two other amendments that were listed ahead of what we now consider the “First Amendment” but that failed to be ratified. Continue Reading...

Syrian Refugees and the Arab Spring

We’re having an intense, often heated, debate about the reception of Syrian refugees in the United States. How do Eastern Christians see it? The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, an Archdiocese of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, has issued a balanced and unflinchingly critical statement on the crisis. Continue Reading...