Yet more and more, men and women of different faiths are told that their opinions, which often represent the opinions of millions of Americans, are not welcome—that religion has no place in the marketplace of ideas. By silencing these important voices solely because of their religious viewpoint, we forfeit the wisdom contained in them and lose the richness of diversity that has made our nation a beacon of freedom for the entire world.
Now more than ever, as our nation debates difficult issues such as immigration and the role of government, religious viewpoints must be afforded equal participation. Sometimes these ideas will be persuasive; other times they will not. What should matter to the government is not whether the religious viewpoint ultimately influences the outcome of the debate; what matters is that the religious viewpoint is included.
The 2nd Circuit got it right: when the government opens up a place for its citizens to express their viewpoint, whether it be a license plate or a public park, “it cannot target for exclusion those who wish to comment…on the grounds that they wish to do so from a religious viewpoint.” We must never forget that if the government can censor a seven-letter license plate because of its religious message, it is only a few steps away from censoring a 700-page book or 7,000-word speech for the same reasons.