The threats to Christian freedom and inclusion in this country are multiplying but the GOP has yet to rise to the defense, preferring to flee anything that offends the Human Rights Campaign’s powerful network. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, lays down a new call to action:
“In recent years candidates have assumed that they can win over evangelicals by learning Christian slogans, by masking political rallies as prayer meetings, and by basically producing a long-form new birth certificate to prove they’ve been born again. This sort of identity politics is a luxury of a past era when evangelicals were part of a silent majority in the U.S., with our First Amendment freedoms assumed and guaranteed. That is not the present situation. . .
In 2016, it doesn’t matter whether a candidate knows the words to hymns. What will matter to evangelicals is how the candidate, if elected president, will articulate and defend religious-liberty rights. This is about more than whether the candidate will repeat clichés about appointing Supreme Court justices who will “interpret the law, not make the law.” We want to know how this potential president will rein in an administrative apparatus that has plunged the country into ongoing culture wars over, for instance, compelling virgin nuns to pay for birth control.
This also will mean a vision of religious liberty that is about more than pandering to an interest group. Some of today’s most pressing religious-liberty questions concern groups who, unlike evangelicals, have no large voting blocs. That is why evangelicals care about whether Muslim prisoners are forced to shave their beards without a compelling government interest, at issue in a Supreme Court decision last month that a man jailed in Arkansas could not be forced to shave.”