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November 3, 2016 12:00 pm
NC Family President John L. Rustin speaks with Mary Eberstadt, Author of the new book, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, which examines the rise of intolerance against Christians in our culture and why this is not only wrong, but potentially disastrous for the future of our nation.
Aware that there are people out there who are systematically working to reduce their freedom to educate their children as they see fit, and even to acquire Christian education. This is only policymakers with NC family Pres. John Weston thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters.
Our guest today is Mary Eberstadt and influential essayist and all her newest book is dangerous to believe religious freedom and its enemies examines the rise of intolerance in our culture against Christians and why this intolerance is not only wrong but potentially disastrous for the well-being of our citizens and the future of our nation. A frequent contributor to magazines and journals, including Tom, the Wall Street Journal national review weekly standard and first things Gary has authored several books including one our listeners may remember hearing about on this program. The loser letters a comic tale of life, death, and atheism.
This book is a satire in the mold of CS Lewis's Screwtape letters, which is been adapted for stage and just finished a two week run in Washington DC. Mary welcome back to family policy matters.
It's great to have you on the show again. I thanked him thanks for having me will mirror your new book is entitled, it's dangerous to believe, explain, if you would for listeners what you mean by dangerous to believe in what was the purpose behind your writing this book. Well, I wrote the book in order to let religious believers know what's going on out there. I have many pages of footnotes in the book about examples of how having religious beliefs and in particular traditional Christian belief now exact social penalties. Sometimes financial penalties and other problems that Christians didn't used to receive in this country and this is not only an issue for the United States. It's a civilizational issue, John. I really do believe we are at a turning point where Christianity is now being asked to explain itself and justify itself religious believers around the defensive and the reason I wrote the book is that if we are going to witness a great civilizational change like that in which radical secularists want to chase Christianity out of the public square. Then we should have a conversation about it and we shouldn't let it be happening by stealth. You talk about the bias, intolerance and intimidation that American Christians face as a form of soft persecution now course, this is compared to the persecution that often leads to the martyrdom of Christians in other areas of the world you mention, particularly the genocide in areas of the Middle East and Africa. It isn't fair for American Christians to complain about being driven from the public square, being fired from their jobs being dragged into expensive legal battles and being socially ostracized for their faith. Here, when fellow Christians are being martyred for their faith in other countries around the world. Welfare thought that no one would say that there is moral equivalence between what's happening in the Middle East and what's happening to believers in the better off countries of the West. But just because they're not being driven from their homes doesn't mean that Western Christians are in a good place. There are injustices being committed against them to and this hurts the efforts of Christians in the West to help embattled and persecuted Christians elsewhere. It hurts them because if they're spending all their time on the home front fighting legal battles say or doing.
Kind of rearguard things just to maintain their data says Western Christians. These are all resources that can't be applied to the light of persecuted brothers and sisters elsewhere. So these two problems are intensely related to one another and that's why it is not okay to say that Western Christians have nothing to complain about there being hampered in their efforts to help others by the strain on their resources and everything else. Because of this new intimidation, you're absolutely right and I know you sign your books with the intensity of the current attack on religious belief has been propelled in large part by two recent events one the passage of Obama care in the United States and also the United States Supreme Court's decision in the overfilled case, which legalized same-sex marriage in our nation. What exactly is the connection between these events and the religious persecution of the faithful in America.
Well what the Obama care decision.
Went to show just how far progressives would go to pursue their agenda against traditional Christianity the face of Obama care is the Little sisters of the poor. Now these are indigent nuns who take in dying people. People who have been thrown away. Nobody else wants and live with them as a family. It's hard to imagine more self-sacrificing people than these, and yet when these people said in good conscience I can't go along with these requirements of Obama care, the administration went after them and is willing to impose millions of dollars in fines on a group like that just in pursuit of this radical secularists agenda. So that's one example of how far things have gone Mary.
We currently hear about the couple terms, freedom of religion versus freedom of worship.
Know the difference. When we first hear these terms may seem subtle, but explain the significance between these two frames of fall approaches and why it is so important for Christians to understand what these terms mean and how there are attempts to substitute one for the other in our culture today. The Obama administration for two terms now had been switching out that phrase, freedom of worship for freedom of religion and it's a very important distinction here, freedom of worship is something that you could do in your closet at home, freedom of worship sounds exactly like something behind closed doors that you're not supposed to carry out with you into the public realm and it's a very dangerous precedent to be narrowing the definition of what is permissible for Christians in particular to do freedom of religion.
The freedom upon which this country was founded the first freedom is a much more expansive idea and at the funny thing is John the went Christians act on their beliefs by, for example, giving more to charities than other people give in all of these other good works that are well documented in social science.
Nobody seems to ask them to go back into the closet for that, but it's if they take their unwanted traditional moral beliefs into public and defend them that they are then told by progressive that they are exercising too much freedom and I think we need to be very aware that freedom of religion is a much bigger idea than the freedom of worship that progressives want to substitute for it in public documents and in the legal realm was listening to a resource to listen to our radio show online resources that will be a voice of persuasion in your community to our website see family.org note number.
There is a striking hypocrisy in today's progressive credo that seeks to crush all dissent and diversity of opinion in the name ironically so of tolerance. While it is such blatant hypocrisy accepted today and what can we do about it. Well the first thing we can do a John to be aware of what's going on out there. I think one of the most critical battlegrounds and it is a battleground is Christian education. There are systematic efforts in this country I secularists to shut down Christian education during the past 10 years there have been two serious challenges to the accreditation of two major Protestant evangelical colleges Gordon collagen message that's and King's College in New York and in both cases, secularists went after these schools, making them prove that they are worthy of accreditation. In both cases, the school survived, but this is surely only a harbinger of things to come. I quote in its dangerous to believe. For example, from an article written by a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, arguing that no Christian colleges should have accreditation because they are Christian. This is a very dangerous precedent. It is also dangerous to have people going after homeschooling, particularly homeschooling citizens done by Christians. Now John, you and I know that millions of families in this country homeschool their children and assume that they are free to educate their children as they see fit, but there are people out there who argue and again they're all quoted in the book that Christian homeschooling shouldn't be permitted in our democracy, so Christians need to be aware that there are people out there who are systematically working to reduce their freedoms to educate their children as they see fit, and even to acquire Christian education will we see that very much here in return Elana with respect to Christian schools and radical groups on the left who are really trying to either shut down Christian schools or attempt to prohibit Christian schools from taking advantage of our scholarship programs for lower income families in our study. That's another great example of one of the themes in the book, which is the way in which, when push comes to shove secularists and by that I don't mean all secularists done.
I think there is a hard-core of committed secularists who really do exist just to try and remove Christianity from American public life, but those people every single time will choose the sexual revolution over the needs of the poor. In the case that you're describing disabled students deprived of potential scholarships just because secularism can't stand Christian school, I mean that is the perfect encapsulation of what I'm describing, which is that the moral high ground is not held by radical secularism, radical secularism, says to heck with the people who need help, and we need to make this point forcefully out there. I think because moral high ground is where the people are standing were trying to help disabled the infirm, the student who comes from a place where scholarship will change his life.
All of that kind of thing you open your book. It's dangerous to believe with a quote from Pres. Harry Truman who said in a free country.
We punish men for the crimes they committed, but never for the opinions they have, you vendor want to provide a laundry list of recent instances where Christians have been punished socially professionally and legally for their opinions and you talk about the numerous Christians and parents who are now wondering how they will protect their sons and daughters from this growing hostility toward religious faith in our nation. Do you think this is a permanent change in American life, or is there hope for the future. Well, I think. Hope John and one of the reasons I wrote the book was to give hope to people. It is my hope that providing the record and holding it up to the light will change the hearts and minds of some people out there. The left is not a monolith. Even secularism is not a monolith, and in writing the book. I was mindful of the example of Martin Luther King Jr. whose genius lay in his ability to challenge the other side and to do so respectfully and civilly and say are you living up to your stated principles. That's part of what I'm trying to do here is to ask progressives and secularists are you living up here principles of diversity are you living up to your principle of one human family, are you living up to your rhetoric about how we should embrace the marginalized among us because if you look at the record of what secularism is doing the answer all those questions is no mirror were just about time for this week, but I know our listeners wondering where they can go to get a copy of your new book. It's dangerous to believe religious freedom and its enemies.
So could you direct them to where they could do that. I think in general it's available on Amazon.com or from the publisher, HarperCollins, and in bookstores. We hope well, I do want to encourage your listeners.
This is obviously is Mary who so well stated. MM heavily research this is a very significant issue for Christians in our nation today and a growing concern and something that does need to be challenged. We need to be salt and light in our culture, as were called to be, and speak God's truth in love is.
Mary has charged us to do so.
While I just want to encourage your listeners to get a copy of its dangerous to believe in without Mary Eberstadt. I want to thank you so much for being with us on family policy matters and for offering such a well researched and well written assessment of this current trial and challenge for Christian Americans.
We certainly have a lot of work ahead of us but in that battle were so grateful for folks like you who use your talents and skills to help equip the rest of us for the battle. So, thank you so much. Thank you for having the time. Family policy matters production of NZ only to listen to our radio show online, and for more valuable resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina go to my website and see family.org follow us on Twitter and Facebook