News developments over the past weeks have put religious freedom back on the front page. It’s been a great reminder to us why IFWE’s new book, Set Free: Restoring Religious Freedom for All is so timely and needed.
First the bad news. This past week, a federal judge threw out a new “conscience rule” from the Trump administration that was scheduled to go into effect this month. The rule would have helped to protect the conscience rights of health care workers from participating in medical procedures that violated their religious or moral convictions. If the rule was violated, the participating health care providers and other related entities would have federal funds revoked. This reversal is a concern; medical professionals should have the right to bring their faith to work and not have to participate in procedures that violate their conscience.
On the good news side, the White House recently announced a new rule that would redefine the policies that regulate foster care, adoption, and other services for vulnerable children to ensure that faith-based groups are not discriminated against. As Russell Moore writes in The Wall Street Journal,
This is not a narrowing rule that excludes gay people and others from serving children. Instead, the regulation merely ensures that no one is kept from serving, while ending an attempt to stop religious organizations from doing so consistent with their convictions. It’s a welcome statement that the child-welfare system is about the welfare of children—not proxy culture wars.
This is a great development for religious freedom. As Moore points out in his article, the faith-based community plays a significant role in caring for foster children and other vulnerable communities. This new rule is good news for children-at-risk.
As we’ve discussed on this blog before, religious freedom has everything to do with faith and work. Faith is not something that is reserved to Sundays or something we practice privately in our homes. God has called us to steward our entire lives for the advancement of his kingdom purposes for the common good and for his glory. Who we are and what we believe cannot be cast aside when we go to work.
I invite you to go deeper in learning about the biblical roots and history of religious freedom, both in the early church and in America’s founding, and to consider what Christians must do today to protect and defend religious freedom for all. Below is a press release announcing our new book on religious freedom, which was officially released yesterday (Nov. 12) by Abilene Christian University Press.
McLean, VA. – Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE) announced Tuesday the launch of its latest book, Set Free: Restoring Religious Freedom for All (Abilene Christian University Press). With contributions from Christian theologians, historians, and public policy analysts, Set Free explores why religious freedom must be restored for people of all faiths.
Editors Anne R. Bradley and Art Lindsley said this book addresses an urgent need. “Religious freedom is a crucial issue to be discussing in America today,” said Art Lindsley, vice president of theological initiatives at IFWE. “Many are trying to redefine religious freedom in an untraditional way. We believe religious freedom benefits society, protects other rights, and is a fundamental human right. Christians should be at the forefront defending religious freedom for all—contending for justice, not ‘just us.’”
In addition, they said the book provides a historical look at Christianity’s influence on religious freedom and how religious freedom contributes to human flourishing. “Set Free unpacks the biblical roots of religious freedom, how the thread of religious freedom was woven throughout history, and the current-day, practical discussions in the United States,” said Bradley, the George and Sally Mayer Fellow for Economic Education at The Fund for American Studies and the vice president of economic initiatives at IFWE. “As a Christian economist, called to promote flourishing, I’m particularly convinced of the correlation between religious freedom and economic freedom—you can’t have one without the other. This book makes that critical connection.”
Contributing authors include Os Guinness, John S. Redd Jr., Barrett Duke, Hugh C. Whelchel, E. Gregory Wallace, Daniel L. Dreisbach, Joseph Connors, Jennifer Marshall Patterson, Mark David Hall, Stanley W. Carlson-Thies, and editors Anne R. Bradley and Art Lindsley.
Set Free explores:
- What are the biblical roots of religious freedom in the Old and New Testaments?
- How was the thread of religious freedom woven throughout early church history and America’s founding?
- How is religious freedom important for retaining political and economic freedom?
- What’s at stake right now for the freedom of people of all faiths? What should be done to preserve it?
The book is a project of IFWE, Templeton Foundation, and Abilene Christian University Press (ACUP).
Jason Fikes, director of ACUP said, “In today’s charged political climate, tightly held ideologies seek to silence every conversation about religious rights, both for individuals and institutions. Set Free offers a hopeful reminder that every person deserves to have their religious freedom honored.”
Editor’s note: Order your copy of Set Free: Restoring Religious Freedom for All in the IFWE bookstore today!