Religious liberty actually has had a long and noble history in the United States, at least until recently.
In 1790, George Washington wrote a letter to a Hebrew congregation in Rhode Island in which he claimed, “All citizens share and possess liberty of conscience and unity of citizenship.” Mark David Hall of George Fox University, who read that excerpt at the Philadelphia Society’s regional meeting, said, “There is absolutely no reason to believe that the Founders viewed religious accommodations and exemptions as unconstitutional.”
Indeed the same could be said of the United States as a whole, before the turn of this century. “By the late 20th century we’d come to an agreement that religious liberty was important, across the ideological and partisan spectrum,” Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation said at the Philadelphia Society’s regional meeting in Tysons Corner, Virginia.
For example, at the federal level, “the Church Amendment carved out a religious exemption from providing abortions that was in place for 44 years.” The Church Amendment was sponsored by liberal icon Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho.
Fast forward: “Currently, the ACLU is suing two Catholic hospitals—one in California, one in New Jersey—because they will not perform sex reassignment surgery.” One could argue that the progress that progressives have delivered looks prehistorically pagan.
The Philadelphia Society is a group of conservative intellectuals formed in the wake of the Goldwater defeat in 1964.