The first is that religion is not inconsistent with modernity:
The great forces of modernity--technology and democracy, choice and freedom--are all strengthening religious rather than undermining it. Give people the freedom to control their lives and, for better or worse, they frequently choose to give religion more power... The triumph of pluralism means that all religious beliefs (and indeed all secular beliefs) become competitors in the marketplace. (Pp. 355-356)This discussion fits in well with the economic approach to religion. Many religious goods do not have close substitutes, and the fact that religion has persisted for so long ought to clue us to the fact that religion provides something valuable to many of people's daily challenges.
A second point of the authors is that America has failed to appreciate "the ability of religion to solve problems as well as create them" (p. 362). They consider the USCIRF, which we will study more in this class, to fall short in this respect because it is focused too much on American policy and "does not make a robust intellectual case for religious freedom as a fundamental building block of a civilized and successful liberal society" (p. 362). On the second point, I think the authors expect more from the USCIRF than it was designed to accomplish. Its policy focus is intentional, and a government agency should not be expected to make intellectual arguments--intellectuals and academics should.
But here, then, is the challenge for you: can you make a case for why religious freedom is a fundamental building block of a free society? Or can you make a case for why religious freedom is a stumbling block for a free society?