Defending Religion in Public Life

December 28, 2015 | Kate Bachelder
About the author:

An author of children’s books and television programs, the host of a popular radio show, and the biographer of the 18th-century abolitionist William Wilberforce and the anti-Nazi pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas is above all devoted to defending the role of religion in the public sphere, as Kate Bachelder writes:

[Metaxas’s] free-exercise advocacy finds him emphasizing that the First Amendment is not merely a right to think what you want: “It means you must be able to exercise your faith in the market place, in the public square—not just on Sunday.” He takes it further, arguing that America’s founding fathers knew that “the whole nation hinges on that idea,” and that the success of the American experiment depended on, as he says, a “virtuous and moral populace.” . . .

Metaxas notes that there would have been no abolition of slavery without “passionate, devoted, serious Christians,” including Quakers. “Largely the people driving abolition did it because of what they believed from the Bible” and that’s the case “in England and in America. Period.” The civil-rights movement, he adds, “came totally out of churches” from “overtly Christian” figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.

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