So with the celebration of our nation’s founding at hand, and with an unprecedented number of attacks upon religious freedom coming from our current administration in Washington, perhaps no better time exists than now to familiarize ourselves again with the words and intents of our Founding Fathers. As we do that, we remember Jefferson’s emphasis on our being “created” and “endowed with certain unalienable rights.” And from Madison we remember that first among these rights is the freedom of religion.
In 1785, Madison explained his opposition to a governmental establishment of religion thus:
Whilst we must assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offense against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.