In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Robert Kagan wrote, “Only with the advent of Enlightenment liberalism did people begin to believe that the individual conscience, as well as the individual’s body, should be inviolate and protected from the intrusions of state and church.” It is widely thought, as Kagan assumes, that religious freedom is the work of the Enlightenment. Only with the decline of religious faith and the end of the religious wars engendered by the Reformation did liberty of conscience gain a foothold in the emerging secular states of Europe. Or so the story goes.
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