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NeoNote — the American compromise

There's some speculation that religious tolerance and freedom of religion grows out of religious plurality. That was something that was pioneered by American Christians (love them or hate them) by way of the English Protestants. Basically they didn't want another church telling their church what to do. It's not perfect by any means. Even today some American Christians believe that religious freedom means putting Christianity (and specifically their version) permanently above all other possibilities.

But (and this is important), acknowledging other faiths is the only way they can keep others from messing with theirs. I'm not sure it could have happened if they hadn't been so busy arguing over which version of Christianity was going to be "in charge." Their compromise gave other faiths a wedge into the American religious landscape.

As far as I can tell, that compromise is unique to America and to a lesser extent the UK. It's why America has separation of church and state, at least on paper. It's why America is mostly obsessed with protecting religious freedom. These protections don't exist in other nations. Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights only recognized religious rights because of American influence, and it has been one of the most hotly debated items.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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