India’s Upset Election Could Spell Promise or Persecution For Religious Liberty

By on 5.29.14 | 12:19PM

India elected a new party into power last week, and only time will tell whether the hopeful predictions of economic growth or the gloomy portents of religious persecution are more correct.

The election surprised analysts because the BJP party—which was so small it has not even had minority governing power since 2004—took 282 seats and the right to elect a prime minister, Narendra Modi. Modi was elected on his record as a decisive leader who turned around the economy of the Gujarat state as its governor.

The BJP's victory was remarkable as an example of a violence- and corruption-free political upset in the world's largest democracy. But Dr. Timothy Shah, whose father hails from Gujarat, finds it worrying.

Modi’s campaign focused primarily on economic issues, but it is ultimately a right-wing Hindu nationalist party. Shah worries that the people’s natural desire for better economic leadership as their country grows could lead to “grave and unintended consequences for democracy and religious liberty.”

"Modi was probably personally complicit in a pogrom that killed 1,000 to 2,000 Muslims in 2002," Shah said during a Heritage Foundation panel yesterday.

Piers Morgan: King of the Chronological Snobs

By on 12.9.13 | 12:10PM

Pastor Rick Warren sat down with Piers Morgan to talk about a variety of topics including homosexuality. Piers Morgan has long be a tireless advocate for same-sex marriage and he can't quite comprehend those who are standing on the wrong side of history. Morgan's argument centered on how Pastor Warren needed to change with the times. He snidely remarked that Warren had an extensive library, but that many of the scholars in his library have come around on gay marriage. How could he, a smart man, possibly disagree with popular consensus? This line of reasoning echoes the general progressive belief that "new is always better." C.S. Lewis thought such arguments were "chronological snobbery." Lewis described how he was disabused of such notions in the story of his conversion, Surprised by Joy.

High Spirits

More Things Wrought By Prayer

By From the November 2013 issue

ABSENT FROM THIS column all summer, I have been walking, in the words of the 23rd Psalm, “through the valley of the shadow of death.” It has been both a dreadful and a wonderful experience.

The ancient power of prayer, allied with 21st-century neurosurgery, played its part in this particular walk. The heroine, also the patient, was my wife Elizabeth. In the early hours of the morning on July 1st, she woke me up with the words “Don’t panic, Jonathan, don’t panic. I’ve got a terrible pain at the back of my neck.”

Three ambulance rides and three hospitals later, it emerged that Elizabeth had suffered a ruptured aneurysm in her brain. It caused a major bleed, specifically a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage. As her next of kin I was warned that five out of ten such victims die in the first four days. Another two die within the next 14 days. Of the three who survive, most are left with some kind of physical impairment and brain damage. Grim odds indeed.

Vanderbilt Drops the Ball on Religious Freedom - UPDATED: Vanderbilt Replies

By on 1.27.12 | 1:29PM

Religious groups at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee are banned from making leadership decisions based on religion, thanks to rules set forward by officials enforcing its "nondiscrimination policy." According to the administration, "membership in registered student organizations is open to everyone and that everyone, if desired, has the opportunity to seek leadership positions."

That "plurality" became a top priority over religious freedom when a gay student claimed he had been "kicked out" of a Christian fraternity. In response, the university examined the constitutions of some 300 groups and found that several weren't in compliance with Vanderbilt's nondiscrimination policy.

The groups included the Christian Legal Society, which violates the policy by expecting its officers to lead Bible studies, prayer and worship at chapter meetings.