Wednesday, September 28, 2011
This piece, by Jody Bottum, makes for bracing, but important reading. My own sense is that we in the United States can focus too much on (what strike me as) somewhat marginal threats to religious freedom (which is not to say that we do not face some grave and pressing ones), and overlook (what should be) the shocking and outrageous instances of real persecution and violence, of a kind that (thank God, and silliness about "theocrats" notwithstanding) we do not confront here.
I agree with Bottum that the response to the alarming anti-religious (in most instances today, anti-Christian) cannot be to tell the persecuted to behave more demurely. All human beings -- including, say, Christians living in Iran and China and Pakisatan -- have a human right to religious liberty (which includes the freedom to practice, and talk openly about, their religion). For the United States, given our great experiment in religious freedom -- one that it was hoped would "bring lustre to our country" -- it cannot be the right approach to join those who tell Christians to avoid persecution by hiding.