[In the 18th century James]…Madison led the effort to enshrine the right of religious conscience in the First Amendment. To Madison, this was the most sacred of all rights. For him, the First Amendment included the most significant principle claimed by the founding generation.
Surely, Fischer and Jeffress believe deeply in their brand of Christianity. They also, no doubt, believe that they should be free to urge their followers to eschew a candidate who does not follow their brand of Christianity. They have, however, failed to grasp the crowning principle of our Constitution ”” the freedom of conscience. They also seem to have forgotten how tenuous religious liberty is.
Before religious leaders in the 21st century declare a religious test for political purposes, they should remember Madison’s caution that their own brand of Christianity could, under such a principle, one day be disfavored in diabolical ways that will lead to persecution.