Pastors, lay people agree: Religious liberty declining in U.S.

Christians can regain lost ground for religious liberty but it takes more than talk.

LifeWay Research did the study with pastor, and with other Americans in a second survey, learning that both groups perceived religious liberty on the decline in this country.

LifeWay President Ed Stetzer tells OneNewsNow it’s not a doomsday scenario, suggesting that “majority views” once influenced by the church about morality and culture are now becoming “minority views” among the population.

“And so the question is, How do we protect the religious liberty of devout, self-identified Christians who today are in a minority in our society?” he asks.

Note that Stetzer said “devout” Christians are in a minority. Those views once shaped the broader culture, he says, but now they’re losing the “home-field advantage.”

Among the survey answers, seven out of 10 pastors agreed that religious liberty is declining. Eighty-one percent of evangelical pastors agreed while 47 percent of mainline pastors agreed.

The survey interviewed 1,001 Americans, learning that 54 percent agree religious liberty is declining.

It’s a call to action, but Stetzer says the question is how best to do that. One answer is to recognize that the beliefs of devout believers will be distant from the greater culture. The second answer, he says, is to share the Gospel.

“So part of that call to action is a call to share the Gospel – to show and share the love of Jesus to a hurting and lost world,” he suggests. “Part of that is to protect the rights of people to hold those views so that they don’t get drummed out of society.”

Stetzer concludes people need to take the Gospel outside the four walls of the church and become convinced that declining religious liberty matters.

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