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Will Baptists Remain True to Religious Liberty?

Thomas Whitley

Baptist historian Bill Leonard urges them to.

Be true to religious liberty, Baptists urged | ABP: Leonard said it was easy for Baptists to affirm pluralism and freedom of conscience while they were a distinct and sometimes-persecuted minority, but as religious liberty became more the norm, they discovered that, the First Amendment notwithstanding, Americans “grant religious liberty grudgingly” to minority groups.

Now, Leonard said, the pluralism that Baptists anticipated and defended much earlier than many American Protestant groups has prevailed, with cities and towns populated by multiple Christian and non-Christian religious groups and the accompanying “death rattle of Protestant privilege in American culture,” especially in the South and Southwest.

“This loss of religious hegemony forces us to ask: What will become of our commitment to religious liberty now?” Leonard said.

Some baptists continue to celebrate true religious liberty while others seem to have long forgotten this important and large aspect of their history. Hopefully baptists will remember their heritage, heed Leonard's urging, and reaffirm their commitment to religious liberty for all.