- Pathfinder

Reply To: In your opinion, why is it important for Christians to stand up for religious freedom for people of all faiths, and not just our own?

Kasey Leander

The Christian commitment to freedom of religion is foundational to western democracy, and one of the greatest gifts a Judeo-Christian worldview ever gave the world. First, on principle, Jesus strictly opposes using the sword for conversion. As he stood before Pilate, he could not have put it more plainly: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.” Paul and the apostles affirm this in his letter to Timothy: “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.”

Pragmatically, however, adhering to this principle matters because it is so often under attack. When Christian demonstrate our commitment to respecting the religious liberty of those with whom we disagree, we are demonstrating two things. First, that Christ’s love is unilateral: we are to be kind and generous with humanity, even our enemies, not as a condition of their conversion, but as an effect of our own. Second, we are demonstrating a belief that objective truth belongs to the God of the Cosmos. He doesn’t need coercive power to bring people into the fold.