Editor’s Note: This column was adapted from The Socialist Temptation.
You’ll remember that when I sketched out the socialist position on freedom I mentioned freedom of worship. Freedom of worship is not only a fundamental American liberty, but also very much part of our tradition. Not for nothing is it called “America’s first freedom.” Long before there was a Constitution, our ancestors came here to pursue freedom of worship. And while their ideas of religious liberty were both limited and very different from ours, they started an evolving tradition of increasing freedom of conscience, which helped America avoid the religious strife other Western nations suffered.