Some people measure their victories by how effectively they can stifle public faith.
Does it look like a cross? Litigate! Does it sound like prayer? Shut it down! Are we looking at a public display of private faith? Make them stop! Does a business hold to a different code of ethics than yours? Call a judge, and make them stop!
Is theirs a noble goal? Are they doing the world a service by outlawing religion? I’m sure they have their reasons, and — to themselves, at least — either those reasons seem rational and good, or they are so committed to their objective, they’re past caring.
As we consider the State-sponsored chastisement of all things religious, under the supposed guise of “separation of Church and State”, let’s take a moment to consider other parts of the world where the same anti-religious impulse is being stretched just a little farther.
In North America, any public expression of a cross is fair game for fundamentalist atheism to invoke the legal system.
China similarly opposes public displays of religion, despite their formal position of “religious tolerance”. They have forcibly removed the Crosses (against the protests of the parishioners) from more than 350 Chinese churches. Why would 15 churches have been scheduled for demolition during the final week of June in one province alone? Why were Christians threatened with violence (same article) if they made the destruction of their churches public?
Even the New York Times is acknowledging that these demolitions are specifically targeting Christians, and only Christians. The Times article goes so far as to say that this is a deliberate attempt by the Communist Party to counter the “excessive religious sites” and “overly popular” religious activities.
Does the Freedom From Religion crowd cheer this Chinese approach of arbitrarily bulldozing Churches, or does China take their impulse uncomfortably far?
In North America, the courts are used for trumped up charges to strip people (usually Christians) of particular freedoms afforded to all other people. Bakeries in the US, and Law Schools in Canada are being specifically penalized for holding to beliefs which are actually protected under law — not to mention, the Canadian pseudo-courts where “hate crimes” are adjudicated without standard due process, rules of evidence, or the presumption of innocence.
But in Pakistan they take it further. Even Al-Jazeera used the following headline, and sub-headline:
Living in Fear under Pakistan’s blasphemy law — In Pakistan, 17 people are on death row for blasphemy, and dozens more have been extrajudicially murdered.
And of course, the Sudanese case of the pregnant Christian wife of a Christian man on death row because neither she nor her husband would convert to her father’s religious beliefs (Islam).
In North America, Freedom from Religion groups want religious expression (read: Christianity) to go away. It appears they would love to suppress it, stripping it of any protected status, making it subservient to other worldviews.
This is nothing new. It has been done elsewhere, with far less finesse.
I could mention a variety of nations where Christians today face violence, homelessness, arrest or death for simply being a Christian.
Instead, let’s focus on Iraq. Long before Mohammed was ever born, Christians flourished in Iraq. But now, people are saying that the city of Mosul is or will soon be without Christians for the first time since there have been Christians. They were offered the following four options by IS (previously “ISIS”): Convert to Islam; Pay “Jizya”; leave; or die.
Can anyone tell me how any of these various foreign anti-religious movements embody our Western notion of “tolerance”? Not at all? So, could we, maybe, think twice about emulating them?
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