“During the First World War,” said the anti-fascist politician Gaetano Salvemini, “we used to say that the situation in Germany was serious but not desperate, in Austria desperate but not serious, and in Italy desperate but normal.”
Those of us concerned about religious liberty in America tend to have similar attitudes. Many are cautiously optimistic, and contend that while threats to religious freedom are serious, the situation is not desperate. Others consider themselves to be realistically pessimistic, believing that the issue is desperate but what we should consider “normal” in our secular society. Joe Carter argues that Christians should take the Austrian approach: The state of religious liberty in America is desperate but not serious.
Carter explains why we don’t have the luxury of being conscientious objectors in this latest front of the culture wars and provides practical suggestions for how we can carry out the task of defending and protecting religious liberty in America.
Joe Carter is a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, an editor for The Gospel Coalition, a senior editor at the Acton Institute, and an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator and the author of the forthcoming NIV Lifehacks Bible: Practical Tools for Successful Spiritual Habits.
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