A US lawmaker, Mike Lee has said the United States has a strong history of religious freedom because it’s “a nation of heretics.”
Lee stated this while he was a guest speaker at an event on Tuesday sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies about religious freedom in the Americas.
The lawmaker, who represents Utah in the US parliament said in the United States of America, basically everyone falls into” the category of being a religious minority “in one way or another, at one time or another.”
“One of the reasons why religious liberty has been able to flourish here is because we are a nation of heretics. We were founded by heretics, and we bred more heretics.
“And I am one of them, and I am proud to be one,” added the lawmaker jokingly. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“That’s how you foster religious freedom. You learn to respect heresy. Because people have a right to believe and worship and otherwise exercise their religious freedom.”
When asked how he believed the much-documented rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans might impact religious freedom, Lee responded that he believed it was “important to outline” religious liberty “on the outset and agree that we’re going to defend it, agree that the principle needs to be defended, regardless of its popularity.”
“As religious people, those of us who are religious, also have to understand that as more people count themselves among the non-religious, we become as a group even more of a minority. Each one of us, who belongs to a different sect of purported heretics, becomes even more heretical,” he asserted.