Religion vs. Liberal Democracy

“Liberalism very much wants to believe that it is being fair to religion, but what it calls fairness amounts to cutting religion down to liberal size.”

. . . .

“The conflict between the liberal state, with its devotion to procedural rather than substantive norms, and religion, which is all substance from its doctrines to its procedures, is intractable.”

Stanley Fish, New York Times

In other words, liberal democracy and religion, specifically Christianity, cannot coexist when one says “treat everyone the same—because we said so!” and the other says “God doesn’t treat everyone the same!”

American Christians are right to celebrate their heritage of religious freedom, because in a fallen world people will not all agree and God hasn’t given man coercive authority over other people’s beliefs. But no political system can solve all the problems created when some people believe what is false and others by God’s grace don’t. And in our fallen world, most people will fall into the first category.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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