Religious freedom is too important a right to be politicized. Religions have an important role to play in the public sphere and are an indispensable voice in ethical conflicts of different kinds. Therefore, religions are necessarily political. But this does not mean that they should follow a political theology which claims that only those laws are valid that concord with the natural and, ultimately, divine law. I analyze the theological context of the religious freedom debate in the twentieth century, adding a theological-ethical analysis to the legal interpretations. I argue that the moral principle of dignity and the right to freedom is not only a legal right that creates privileges but a moral right that comes with responsibilities. Theologically speaking, the legally granted right to religious freedom must be interpreted in view of one’s religious tradition, and Christianity, among several other religions, prioritizes those who are most discriminated against and morally injured in their societies. Christian ethics entails the responsibility to respect and protect the needs and rights of others. Its morality is not rooted in an objective order but in the gift of human freedom, which calls moral agents to respect the moral freedom and moral agency of others as one’s own moral freedom.
The Right to Religious Freedom—A Theological Comment,
Loy. U. Chi. L. J.
Available at: https://lawecommons.luc.edu/luclj/vol50/iss1/9