The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“How Robust is Religious Liberty in America” -Gunnar Gundersen and Garrett Snedeker in WSJ

by James Wilson Institute on August 6, 2019

In a letter to The Wall Street Journal, JWI’s Gunnar Gundersen and Garrett Snedeker respond to an ongoing debate between David French and Marci Hamilton on the meaning of religious liberty. Gundersen and Snedeker offer a fresh perspective on the discussion, together responding to objections from both the Left and the Right.  They dispel the common and persistent myth that “freedom of religion” was designed by the Framers merely to carve out an individual right of worship.  Properly understood, they argue, religion carries social value worthy to justify government preservation and promotion.  By portraying religion as a public good, Gundersen and Snedeker offer a new strategy to resolve religious liberty disputes within the framework of the Natural Law.

Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790