We’ve been reading about Germany, where Jews and Muslims could face legal consequences for circumcising their (male) children. In Saudi Arabia, witches are getting beheaded. In Nigeria and Kenya, fanatical “Islamic” groups are murdering Christians in batches, and in Mali, they are desecrating ancient Sufi tombs.So how bad are things here?Fortunately, our blog stablemate Peter Berger, perhaps the most eminent American sociologist and student of religion active today, offers a judicious analysis of the claim that religious freedom is endangered in America. He begins:
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced a “Fortnight of Freedom” to last from June 21 to July 4. The event, based on the presupposition that religious freedom is endangered in this country, is planned as a very visible demonstration. The “Fortnight” not only ends with the celebration of the major patriotic holiday, but includes the feast day of John Fisher and Thomas More, both martyrs to the Roman Catholic faith, executed for treason for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England… The planned event will have a closing mass, on July 4, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; the celebrant is to be Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington. In other words, the bishops are deploying massive symbolic artillery. Is the presupposition of the event plausible? Is there a crisis of religious freedom in this country?
Read the whole thing to find out Peter’s answer.