By John Pierce
Often evangelicals, including many Southern Baptists, have fought the idea of genuine religious liberty during the growing ethnic and religious diversification that has swept the nation in recent decades.
They’ve whined about being here first and holding majority status. They’ve even revised American history to make the nation’s founders into clones of modern Christian fundamentalists.
And they were called out recently by one their own: Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
“You have some people who haven’t thought through that what our Baptist forebears were saying is right — that religious liberty is an image-of-God issue; it’s not a who-has-the-most-votes issue,” he said in a recent podcast, as reported by Associated Baptist Press.
“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,’” he said. “The mayor and the city council that can say that is a mayor and a city council … that has too much power.”
Moore went on to warn against Christians who cry “persecution when there is no persecution” — such as when being greeted with “Happy holidays!” at Walmart.
Will those conservative Christians — who on one hand want to wield their majority political clout and on the other play victim at every opportunity — hear this warning?
If so, why now and not earlier when so many other voices have called for full religious liberty for all?
What’s the real difference in perspective and historical understanding?
Well, it all it comes down to whether one is concerned about protecting religious liberty for everyone or simply for oneself. And whether one believes his or her own faith can flourish in the free flow of ideas without the helping hand of Uncle Sam.