Ross Douthat Should Look Closer at Belief-Based Persecution

Post by Columnist Lewis H. Goldstein

Some of you might have seen my status update on FB regarding persecution of Christians and others. This is my reading of Ross Douthat’s op-ed in the New York Times on Sunday, September 14.  At times I will be writing about religion, my beliefs and respect for all be they believe in G-D, be an Atheist or questioning.

This article by Ross Douthat is quite provocative. Many of his thoughts and views are very accurate. Others are questionable. I do not accept his premise that “Christianity is now the globe’s most persecuted religion”. In the Mideast it is definitely the most persecuted religion which still attempts to survive in that part of the world. Jews, who had inhabited in large numbers, many Arab nations for thousands of years are no longer persecuted in those nations because they have fled or have been killed. In Arab nations where they still live they are subjected to hideous persecution. Over the past year incidents of anti-Semitism continues to rise with much fear throughout Europe. We could argue that Judaism is the most persecuted religion.

Douthat is right in stating that the ancient Christian churches of the Middle East are largely ignored by the western Christian churches and by those fighting prejudice. We have seen much prejudice against Mormons in this country. Laws have been enacted to prevent their theology from being practiced. Should we compare the differences between western Christianity and the Christian churches of the Middle East to the differences between the Shiites and Sunnis? To a degree, yes. We constantly see prejudice and persecution of Moslems. Since 9/11 we have seen that uptick. As far as Ted Cruz’s remarks they do not address the many political and theological differences in the Middle East. As Douthat pointed out many Palestinian and Lebanese Christians disagree with Israeli policy. The boos did not reflect anti-Semitism but disagreement with Israel. As one who at times disagrees with the policies of the present administration in JERUSALEM I can understand the frustration leading to the booing.

I do not think that it is correct to compare Hezbollah, Assad, and Islam to ISIL. I, as a man of faith, feel that very often religion is its own enemies. Throughout history the majority of wars and genocides have been caused by religion. Every religion has to look at its own beliefs, believers and other religious beliefs and act to counter persecution against others be they believers or non-believers. Yes, in some parts of the world Christian are the most persecuted. Yes, in some parts of the worked Jews are the most a persecuted. Yes, in some parts of the world Moslems are the most prosecuted. Yes, in parts of the world Atheists, Buddhists, Shamanism, Wiccan and other religions are persecuted. Many no longer exist because if forced conversion by missionaries. I am unsure what the answer is. Possibly, Spirituality by all?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email