“Including World War II,” argues Inboden, “every major war the United States has fought over the past 70 years has been against an enemy that also severely violated religious freedom.” The reverse is equally true. “There is not a single nation in the world,” he says, “that both respects religious freedom and poses a security threat to the United States.”
There are a number of possible explanations for this strong correlation. The most compelling is that religious freedom involves the full and final internalization of democratic values — the right to be a heretic or infidel. It requires the state to recognize the existence of binding loyalties that reach beyond the state’s official views.I wonder if those who favor state-sponsored execution of heretics, adulterers, and children who disobey their parents have ever considered that this would not only place them in unpleasant company, but (if Gerson is right) it would also make them enemies of democracy.