GLEN COVE, NY — A prominent neo-con recently told
me that he hoped the loss of religious liberty is not the price we
have to pay to bring democracy to North Africa and the Middle East.
Of course, he has it backwards. If we have to lose one of these, it
is better to lose democracy than to lose religious liberty. Unfortunately,
the neo-cons and the Obama State Department are fully ready to accept
the persecution of Christians in order to establish democracy in that
part of the world.
Democracy is a flexible word applied to almost every government in
the world, but it usually means the election of at least part of the
government, the right to campaign for office, and the right to receive
political information from all sources.
Freedom is different from democracy. It includes the right to worship
God according to one’s rationally formed conscience; the right
to express and publish opinions; the right not to be punished without
a fair trial; the right to own and use property in any way that does
not harm one’s neighbors; the right not to be unjustly killed,
imprisoned, or deprived of property; the right to make and enforce
contracts; and the right to know what the laws are.
The right to worship God is listed first because it is the greatest
of rights since it affects us eternally, while the other rights usually
affect us only in this life. For the same reason, religious liberty
is much more important than democracy. Furthermore, God is the source
of our rights, and prohibiting worship of him endangers all other rights.
A majority of Moslems in the world believes that death is the appropriate
penalty for conversing to another religion from Islam and for insulting
Islam. It follows that Moslem democracies will reflect the highly intolerant
opinions of their citizens toward Christians, Hindus, Jews, Zoroastrians,
and other religions. This is indeed what is happening.
In Syria, citizens are protesting its authoritarian government. Syria
has one of the most ancient Christian communities in the world. Syrian
Christians are afraid that if the present government is overthrown,
they will be at the mercy of radical Moslems intent on persecuting
In Iraq, which is establishing a democracy, the Christian and Jewish
populations are rapidly fleeing the country.
In Iran, when the United States helped to overthrew the monarchy,
the fanatical Moslems got what they wanted -- government by a fanatical
clergy. Huge numbers of Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians have been
driven out of the country.
In Egypt, the Army is in charge and no official persecution has yet
been launched. Egypt has a variety of large Christian communities.
For several years, Egyptian Moslems have agitated for a more Islamic
government. Many observers believe that if Egypt holds elections too
soon, the Moslem Brotherhood will be swept into power. Egypt could
become a copy of Sudan.
There is no significant religious persecution in Khadafy’s
Libya, but we delude ourselves if we think that the fanatical Moslems
fighting against Khadafy will not persecute Christians.
Even in Turkey, Moslem extremists are scoring electoral victories.
The world is better off with Saddam dead and would be better off
with Khadafy dead. But none of this is true if the price is the extinction
of the right to practice Christianity from Morocco to Pakistan and
the empowerment of the Wahabi, Taliban, and other enemies of Christian
freedom. Yet the neo-cons and the Obama State Department seem to be
advancing just such an extermination.
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2011
by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
All rights reserved.
Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the
New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in
many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles
about the law.
See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.
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