Grateful neighbors wished to honor the seven Brooklyn firefighters riding Ladder 101 who perished after pulling up to the burning north tower of the World Trade Center on a crystal-blue morning nine years and 10 months ago. The community won city approval to rename a portion of a street near the Red Hook firehouse, also home of Engine 202.
When new street signs with the words Seven in Heaven Way went up last month, though, the atheist lobby began to raise heck. It’s “the wrong thing to do,” one American Atheists official insists.
“What’s wrong, actually, is this kind of sweeping intolerance,” Heritage’s Jennifer Marshall writes in an op-ed for the McClatchy-Tribune wire that’s running in newspapers from South Carolina to Kansas to California. “This is no time for confusion over the meaning of religious freedom.”
Religious freedom, the cornerstone of all freedom, is freedom for religion not hostility toward it. Far from privatizing or marginalizing religion, the Founders assumed religious believers and institutions would take active roles in society, engaging in the political process and helping to shape consensus on morally fraught questions.