Responding to a recent essay accusing Orthodox organizations of “embracing Christian values” by supporting the rights of employers to decline to pay for abortion and contraception, Aylana Meisel and Mitchell Rocklin write:
[A]s progressive ideas have become more mainstream, . . . many progressives have chosen to demonize . . . those with religious and cultural positions that are now in the minority. . . . In this climate, it’s not surprising that traditionalists of various faiths are solidifying alliances among themselves and with others who care deeply about individual liberty more generally, since increasingly both religious and secular progressives seem to be indifferent or even hostile to religious freedom. . . .
The sad truth of the progressive argument is that it has abandoned liberalism—claiming the mantle of promoting liberty while in fact trampling individual rights. Liberals once believed that a good society is a free society that fiercely guards individual liberties from dictatorial majorities. As members of a persecuted people, and as true believers in the justice of this position, Jews joined this fight wholeheartedly. At the time of the Constitution’s ratification, Jews and Baptists (the latter a group that then faced much intolerance) were some of the most enthusiastic opponents of established religion. . . .
The defense of religious freedom adopted by many Orthodox Jews today is consistent with this honorable legacy. It also conforms both to the Founders’ vision for America and to our need as Jews to safeguard our own rights. . . . It’s high time that all Jews realize that the freedom of other religious communities to follow the dictates of their respective faiths and maintain their unique identities is the same freedom that Jews enjoy as well. We must fight together to preserve something distinct for each of us, and we stand or fall together.
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