One doesn’t need to believe in order to understand the principles of early Protestant political ideas on liberty, the role of the civil magistrate and civil society. Yet, without the Christian faith as a foundation, liberalism will not help us live well together
Here in the West, we like to think of ourselves as liberals. Freedom for all, we say. Individual rights! is the cry heard from Poland to Perth. As liberals we understand society to be made up of individuals, and believe those individuals to be equal, with each possessing inherent moral agency. This equality and moral agency, we believe, mean that each individual possesses a set of basic rights enforceable by law. Our society and our political structures and practices are built upon this liberal ideal. Everybody is free, and everybody is equal. This, it seems, is our most basic political and social assumption.