Applying religious liberty only to the Christian religion is “self-defeating,” Moore argued.
“When someone makes such a claim, that person is not standing up for Jesus and his Gospel, but standing against them. To empower the state to command or to forbid worship is not fidelity to the Bible,” Moore said. “A government that can tell you a mosque or synagogue cannot be built because it is a mosque or a synagogue is a government that, in the fullness of time, will tell an evangelical church it cannot be constructed because of our claims to the exclusivity of Christ.”
Likewise, Albert Mohler, who serves as president of the Southern Baptist Theological Convention, recently came to the defense of freedom of expression for, of all people, comedian Dave Chappelle. After making jokes that many believed to be transphobic and harmful, Netflix faced pressure to remove Chappelle’s content from the streaming platform.
In response, Mohler said, “The bottom line is, does entertainment cause harm? Is it a form of harm? Is comedy, in the case of Dave Chappelle, a weapon? And is it legitimate for LGBTQ persons and especially trans activists to call for him to be silenced and for Netflix to cancel his program?”
While Mohler was at pains to express that he didn’t condone the crudeness of Chappelle’s humor, he did express concern that restrictions on what comedians and entertainers are allowed to say would inevitably lead to constriction with regard to what religious institutions can say. To Mohler, working to protect the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment, even for a comedian who makes off-color jokes, should be a priority for Christians.
In a recent article addressing Christian Nationalism, Outreach Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ed Stetzer said, “If we believe that the Christian faith transforms lives, we must resist the pull to coerce people into words and behaviors that we know are worthless before God. Instead, we must trust in the power of the Gospel – and only the Gospel – to save.”
“Christians should embrace freedom of religion because we believe that the Gospel is light in the darkness, hope for the lost, liberation for the captive and revival for the dead. We believe that it is, most fundamentally, good news for a burdened and beleaguered world that is crying out for it.”
This article has been updated to include Ed Stetzer’s remarks.