Russell Moore on the centrality of religious liberty in the 2016 election for evangelicals:
the most important test of 2016 may be the Thomas Jefferson Primary —the race to see which candidates offer a clear, coherent vision of religious liberty when the very idea is contested in American politics.
Jefferson won over the Baptists and evangelicals without pretending to be one of them. After all, he was derided as an infidel by his critics. Jefferson and the Baptists came to religious liberty from two very different starting points. He based it on an Enlightenment understanding of natural rights. They based it on a gospel in which consciences must be free if they are to stand in judgment on the Last Day. The Founding-era evangelicals, such as fiery Virginia Baptist revivalist John Leland, didn’t care about motives, but about who would work to secure freedom. That’s a good model for the next election.