Bioethics Blogs

The importance of religious freedom

Like Jerry Risser who recently wrote about the hysteria surrounding the passage and signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana, I am a Hoosier, having lived almost all of my life in Indiana. I agree with his concern about the unexpected hysteria involved in the passage of this legislation and I agree that we who follow Jesus Christ need to be calm and caring in our communication with everyone.

However, I do think that religious liberty is an issue that we should take a stand on. Back when Charles Colson, Robert George and Timothy George drafted the Manhattan Declaration in 2009 they chose religious liberty along with the sanctity of life and the integrity of marriage as one of he three most pressing moral issues that Christians need to take a stand on, they were questioned about why they chose to include religious liberty. Timothy George has presented reasons for this choice in an article in First Things, titled “Let Religious Freedom Ring”.

We live in a world in which religious freedom is not a given. It is something that we need to stand up for. When radical Islamists terrorize and kill Jews, Christians and those in other Islamic groups who will not renounce what they believe we need to stand up to them. When a church in Ukraine is burned we need to do something. Even in the US where religious freedom is one of the founding principles of our government, there is a move toward limiting religious freedom. In bioethics we see it in OB-GYN physicians being required to refer for abortions against their beliefs, pharmacists being required to fill prescriptions for types of contraception the believe are wrong, and private businesses and church related organizations being required by law to provide insurance coverage for things they believe to be wrong.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.