Good Diagonsis, Poor Application

April 14, 2014

The phrase "religious liberty" gets thrown around a lot in political debates today. Unfortunately, many are misusing the important concept to make it a sword for the majority instead of a shield for the minorities (see, for instance, a recent post). Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist Convention's top politico, recently offered some comments that nicely captured the problem. However, after he correctly diagnosed the problem, he then applied it incorrectly to repeat past errors. Noting that many evangelical Christians have held "a narrow vision of religious liberty," Moore explained two problems that developed in recent years. First, he pointed to a loss of understanding "that religious liberty is an image-of-God issue; it's not a who-has-the-most-votes issue." He added:

That means we're the people who ought to be saying the loudest: 'We don't want the mayor and the city council to say that a mosque can't be in our town' ... The mayor and the city council that can say that is a mayor and a city council ... that has too much power.
Amen! He rightly notes that religious liberty for all cannot be decided by majority vote and that too many evangelicals seems to think they should get to establish our faith just because we are in the majority.

Moore also noted a second problem as "a lot of people who have cried wolf over situations." He added:
They've cried persecution when there is no persecution. ... So you have kind of these fake senses of where we’re aggrieved, we are persecuted, because the lady at Wal-Mart says 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas.'
Amen! Again, Moore rightly notes false claims of persecution. However, after noting these two problems, Moore then moved on to to make the exact same mistakes he critiqued as he referred to the Obamacare requirement of contraception coverage. The position of Moore, who has been an outspoken supporter of Hobby Lobby's misguided position, ignores the religious liberty rights of the minority and represents fake persecution. If only Moore would accurately apply his diagnosis.

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