At its worst, Protestantism has long been deeply suspicious of all holy things, of the very notion that a physical object can carry anything of the sacred. At its best, such a suspicion is aimed instead at the notion of holier things—of an elite, rarefied sacrality that sets a few things utterly apart. So I’m not among those rolling my eyes at Rep. Bob Brady for seeing something holy in a glass of water.
Insisting that a government office answer to the law rather than to a given official’s religious beliefs isn’t de-prioritizing religious freedom in favor of something else. It is religious freedom.
I was trying to write a provocative article for a readership that includes many people who a) oppose the death penalty for faith-based reasons, and b) take for granted that replacing it with LWOP is a fairly straightforward good. But I should have done more to anticipate how others might see a one-sided article where I saw a narrowly focused one.