Sure it’s crass, ill-timed, and verges on bigotry. But Katherine Stewart’s recent op-ed in the New York Times blaming Christians for the devastating severity of the COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t merit returning rancor for rancor.
For one thing, Christians are used to being scapegoated. They’ve been assailed for allegedly inspiring all sorts of calamities, from the collapse of Rome in the fifth century to the gruesome mass shooting at a Florida nightclub in 2016.
Of all the things one could claim about America’s Founding Fathers, among the least controversial is to assert that their bold experiment in democracy also brought about expanded civil liberties—most notably for religious freedom.
But what inspired this achievement? More to the point, just what sort of personal faith did these men adhere to, and how did it affect them?