Last night, I had the honor to speak at the annual John Carroll Society Lecture about religious freedom. I thought I would share a copy of my talk with all of you.
Here is an excerpt:
Thus, the defense of religious freedom is not some evangelical Christian polemic, or wiley strategy of discredited Catholic bishops, but the quintessential American cause, the first line in the defense of and protection of human rights.
See, religious freedom has always been understood in this land as one of a cluster of fundamental freedoms; that is, spheres of free thought and action essential to individual liberty and a civil society. The normative idea of a constitutionally, democratically restrained government – – a government that makes no theological judgments (religious freedom), that does not handcuff the media (freedom of the press), that does not dictate thought or culture (free speech), and that does not dominate all the room a humane society needs (freedom of assembly) – – is predicated on the belief in human equality and dignity.
So, my proposition is that, in “letting freedom ring,” we citizens of any and all faiths, or none at all, are not just paranoid and self-serving in defending what we hoard as “ours,” but we are, in fact, protecting America. We act not as sectarians, but as responsible citizens. We act on behalf of the truth about the human person.
Click here to view my speech as a PDF.