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CHRISTIANITY HAS HAD its own ugly historical persecutions, of course. But these days governments in “Christian” nations increasingly refuse to acknowledge their religious heritage, let alone persecute minority faiths.
That is almost never the case in Islamic countries — except, ironically, under ugly secular dictatorships in Syria and, formerly, Iraq. Even in Turkey Islamists are growing increasingly active.
In some majority-Muslim nations, like Kuwait, the government supports Islam but does not disturb other faiths. Christians generally don’t proselytize, but are otherwise free. “We’ve never had any serious interference at all,” Rev. Jerry Zandstra, a pastor at the National Evangelical Church, told me.
More often, however, Islamic governments enforce Islam. Keith Roderick of Christian Solidarity International speaks of “decades of violence, hatred, discrimination, and disenfranchisement.”
Persecution is intense in many Islamic societies. Both the State Department and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) single out Muslim nations as among the most serious persecutors.
International Christian Concern has created “The Hall of Shame,” half of whose members are Muslim states. Even the less brutal Islamic nations usually offer inhospitable terrain for Christians, Jews, and other religious minorities.
Where to start? Saudi Arabia is essentially totalitarian. As ICC explains, Riyadh “has a zero tolerance policy towards other religions.”
The State Department is more diplomatic, but no less clear: “There is no legal recognition of, or protection under the law for, freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice.”
In theory, private worship in Saudi Arabia is okay, but “this right was not always respected in practice and is not defined in law.” Even if the monarchy is committed to modernizing Saudi society, freedom of conscience is on no one’s agenda.
BRUTAL STATE REPRESSION also is evident in Iran, which targets Jews, Baha’is, Sufi Muslims, and Zoroastrians as well as Christians.
The ICC reports: “The 1990s [in Iran] were a time of severe persecution. Spies infiltrated congregations, and church buildings were seized or closed. Seven Christian leaders were martyred and others have had to flee for their lives.”
Sudan’s decades of civil strife and war have killed well in excess of a million people, many of them Christians, who are most populous in the South. Christians suffer discrimination and occasional persecution elsewhere in the country as well. Sharia is enforced in the North. Islam must be studied, even in private Christian schools, and conversion from Islam is punishable by death.
Pakistan makes ICC’s Hall of Shame. Islamabad’s blasphemy law criminalizes criticism of Islam and often penalizes Christians. Christian women are vulnerable under the Hudood Ordinances, which treat rape victims as adulteresses unless they can produce four male Muslim witnesses stating the contrary.
Pakistani mob attacks on Christians and Christian churches are rarely punished. Converts risk death, making foreign flight the only escape for some families. A Methodist pastor, Rev. Emanuel S. Khokha, told me that Muslims “blame us because Christians are linked to America. They blame us for Israel and the problem with the Palestinians. And they blame us because we are Christians.”
Indonesia traditionally leavened Islam with tolerance, but recent government rules make it virtually impossible for Christians to build churches in majority-Muslim areas, i.e., most of the country. Three Sunday school teachers were convicted of the “Christianization” of Muslim children in a trial highlighted by mobs demanding the women’s death.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online