The growing secular persecution of Christians


#1

Here is a [fascinating review](“book, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, Mary Eberstadt”) on Yahoo of a newly published book, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, by Mary Eberstadt, that examines the growing hostility of the secular West towards Christians.

‘In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted: "For traditional Christians, Eberstadt provides a language to defend their position, a comforting sense that their persecution is real, and a view of the irony of progressives curtailing freedom…’ - Wikipedia article.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/85628566/mary-eberstadt.jpg


#2

Perhaps, on closer examination of such claims, it’s more commonly the case that claims of persecution are better explained as annoyance at the removal of privilege or the curtailment of their ability to force their views on others.


#3

The US is predicated on freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
This means that people should not be forced to do what offends their consciences.


#4

Probably an accurate statement based on my own experience. A great number of my acquaintances, friends and family are atheist or agnostic and even the most vehemently atheist/secular among them don’t actively persecute Christians. Rather they simply are through with the Christian world view and Christian mores being forced on them by Christians. Now many Christians may see the removal of their world view and mores from the forefront of society as a form of persecution after so much time as being the dominant socio-religious force in the US. But the reality is that it’s not persecution, marginalization maybe, but not persecution. Christians in the US are still free to practice their religion freely and in peace.


#5

Removal of privilege? Oh, boy, not this again.


#6

:thumbsup:

:clapping:


#7

As a BTW for anyone who took to time to try and read the review, the link doesn’t seem to work. Try this one.

An excerpt from the review:

Believers see the recent battles over religious liberty in the courts and in public opinion as a desire to purge orthodox Christian views, particularly about sex and the two sexes, from the public-facing institutions that they have built: their schools, hospitals, and adoption agencies. Instead of their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, Christians are being offered, with a great deal of bitterness, mere “freedom of worship,” narrowly defined to thinking your own thoughts in your head and participating in ceremonies behind closed doors.

Eberstadt documents in exhaustive detail this widespread social urge to rob Christians of their livelihoods and their good names, merely for believing what their churches have always taught, and acting on those beliefs. This is not just a handful of bakers who refused to make gay wedding cakes. There was the U.S. Marine Monica Sterling, who was given a dishonorable discharge for posting the Biblical verse “No weapon shall prosper against me” on her own computer, which a military judge said “could be interpreted as combative.” Or the mayor of Houston, who demanded that pastors turn over their sermons to her for inspection. Religious colleges are faced with challenges to their accreditation. Charity groups and adoption agencies are subjected to continual and costly campaigns of legal assault for acting in accordance with the tenets of their religion. Even in the last few weeks since Eberstadt’s book has been published, Catholic hospitals, which service some of the poorest areas in the country, are being portrayed as an alien and malignant force as the ACLU sues them for not performing abortions.

Eberstadt, in a neat series of chapters, contrasts the self-descriptions of progressives and secularists with their actions. They believe themselves champions of civil rights, while circumscribing the freedoms of fellow citizens. They imagine themselves tolerant, while prosecuting their cultural enemies with the zeal of inquisitors. They make blacklists and call themselves open-minded.


#8

I just read the review this morning.

I also read this morning that in CA, there’s a real chance religious universities will be forced to accommodate particular individual’s gender theories. I.e., not being allowed to turn a theology teacher down because one is gay, or allowing trans to bunk in the areas they identify as. Even seminaries may be affected by this law.

I also recently read that Churches, again in California, may be forced to cover abortions in their insurance.

Now, someone may rejoice at these changes and claim them as just. Please do. What isn’t honest though, is the affectation of impartiality, or that Christians or other religious folk are simply being made to follow the same rules as everyone else without any loss to their religious expression. That dog don’t hunt.


#9

Here is another review of the book:
crisismagazine.com/2016/new-religion-arises-compete


#10

Does the bible not warn times like this will come though?

Says something about people being arrested, tortured, imprisoned, killed, etc all due to the name of Jesus.

I could see this happening in a world with Satan at the controls. We need to be prepared and ready for these times imo.


#11

What are you talking about? It’s the perfect time to be a believer! When else could you be a Muslim, kill in the name of Islam or ISIS or perform honor killings and have people not only try to deflect the root cause but almost be apologetic towards your crime spree? Sure, Christians and Jews (Mostly Israelis) will get the most flak for it, but hey!

Baking a gay wedding cake is no way demoralizing. Saying we should behead homosexuals should be held in high esteem…or put socks in your ears and bury your head in the sand when those little inconvenient nuggets ever come out…


#12

Whilst I agree there’s probably a chance for popular calls for the banning of religion from the modern left, especially since it seems to be the go-to scapegoat for the cause of all humankind’s woes, its removal being viewed as an all-in-one cure for violence and war, among vacuous 20year olds (trust me, I am 20, I know), I don’t think Christians are at the moment being persecuted, nor do I think it will happen with the current governmental trends of moderate-politics.

I say this because quite a lot of the arguments that suggest religion is being persecuted are simply pointing to the state no longer enforcing laws and legal definitions founded in religion. The majority are entitled to their subjective beliefs, just not to use the government to enforce them.


#13

I pray you’re being sarcastic…


#14

I guess you are out of the loop with how the media loves to shield some Muslims from any wrongdoing, even when things that are said are clearly out in the open; even amongst those that call themselves secular are eager to defend that diatribe or certain actions.


#15

You must watch different media outlets than I do. I see plenty of blame being thrown at certain segments of the Muslim population, namely radical Islamists, who are responsible for perpetrating some of the recent incidences of violence in the west like Orlando and San Bernardino.


#16

Really? You didn’t see the hit pieces from places like Salon, Vox, Mother Jones, The Young Turks, CNN, where they tried to bestow the blame on homophobic America and Christians, or imply that we need some catching up to do. What needs to be caught up is unknown, but they say it like they have a point.

That’s not counting the various YouTube channels that also asserted that.


#17

Nothing could better exemplify the persecution than forcing religious sisters to provide abortifacients for their workers and themselves. There was no necessity of that whatever. The “religious exemption” is so narrow that it can only apply to parishes (and even that is doubtful) and to cloistered monasteries. The HHS Mandate was specifically designed to force Catholic organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate conscience or be punished for failing to do it.

Hillary Clinton says we must “change our religion” to accommodate abortion on demand. Does anyone really believe she doesn’t mean to do anything to accomplish that?

And of course, the government suing the Lutheran Church under EEOC, claiming that the government, not the Lutheran Church, had the authority to determine what Lutheran ministers are.

Just because direct government efforts to narrow freedom of religion are presently aimed at fairly limited situations does not mean the spirit of persecution is not there.

It always starts in limited ways. Even the militantly atheist Bolsheviks started slow. Ultimately, freedom of religion was narrowed to prayer within one’s home or within the four walls of a church, and even then it wasn’t safe.

Narrowing the exercise of religion to one’s home and within the walls of a church are exactly what the current administration is striving to achieve.


#18

This is perhaps the most profound root of the problem. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that all of western civilization (including our very own Declaration of Independence and Constitution) at least purport to be based on objective reality, the rejection of the very notion of objectively based beliefs about the nature of humankind is, in itself, the very foundation of tyranny.

If one accepts the principle that all beliefs are merely subjective, then there is no foundation for the law other than subjective beliefs. The only question, then, is whose subjective beliefs will prevail over those of others. If one looks at, say, the Obergefell (gay marriage) decision, it is exactly based on subjective beliefs.

Not intending to be tedious about this, but subjectivism prevailing over long-established beliefs deemed objective, is exactly what Nietszche thought to be so destructive of a rational society. The “Death of God” about which he wrote was not meant literally. It was about what happens when long-held beliefs are swept away by subjective beliefs. It then simply turns into a war over whose beliefs prevail. Ultimately, it gets resolved by the “Superman” who is “beyond good and evil” and has the power to impose his will.
The 20th Century saw a lot of “Supermen” who swept aside mankind’s best attempts at reaching and holding objective principles, and simply imposed their own subjective determinations by force. If principles do not prevail, then force alone inevitably does.

It’s one of the failings of our time, I think, that people do not recognize the Judeo-Christian roots of vast segments of our law, seeming to think long trains of legal reasoning based on religion and natural law somehow emerged out of the heads of legislators and judges, like Athene springing fully armed from the head of Zeus. Laws as seemingly mundane and secular as the Uniform Commercial Code are based on Judeo-Christian principles. If you look at old cases, the judges even admitted it. Now they don’t, but they still apply them, by and large.

But the more our courts resort to subjective judgments, the less secure everyone will be.


#19

Your first link doesn’t appear to be working and now that I am seeing the code, I can see why. Although the text looks like a link, there is no URL. Can you please fix this so I can read the review?


#20

It is a fact that the secular left is persecuting Christians in our nation and the persecution is getting worse. I have to wonder just how much worse it will get before it begins to get better.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.