martes, 25 de agosto de 2015

Christians worry that the day may be coming when they will no longer be able to freely speak their minds about their faith.

Efforts to Silence Clergy Continue Apace

by William Kilpatrick 

Christians in the U.S. worry that the day may be coming when they will no longer be able to freely speak their minds about their faith. But that day has already arrived in Canada, Europe, and the U.K.

In 2008, a Canadian Human Rights panel imposed a $5,000 fine on the Reverend Stephen Boisson for a letter he had written in 2002 to a small newspaper describing homosexual activists as immoral (the ruling was eventually overturned by a higher court). In the same year (2002), an Ontario court ordered a Catholic school to admit a homosexual teen and his older male lover to the school prom. In 2004, a Swedish pastor was sentenced to a month in prison for a sermon that criticized homosexuality. A year before that, Irish clergy were given notice that they could be prosecuted if they distributed a Vatican publication on same-sex relationships.

As in other parts of the world, homosexuals in the U.S are a protected class. Criticizing them from the pulpit (or any other venue) may soon be considered a hate crime. But homosexuals aren’t the only privileged group. In much of the Western world, Muslims have also acquired a most-favored status. Once again, the trend is most pronounced in Canada and across the Atlantic. Consider two recent headlines:
“Belfast pastor on trial for offending Islam.”
“Quebec bill targets people who write against the religion of Islam.”

This August, James McConnell, an Evangelical Christian pastor, was charged by a Belfast court with making “grossly offensive” remarks about Islam. Local Muslims complained that on May 18, the Reverend McConnell had preached a sermon to his large congregation describing Islam as “heathen” and “satanic” McConnell, who rejected an “informed consent” warning that would have allowed him to avoid prosecution, now faces six months in prison.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, McConnell said he had no hate for Muslims: “My church funds medical care for 1,200 Muslim children in Kenya and Ethiopia. I’ve no hatred in my heart for Muslims, but I won’t be stopped from preaching against Islam.” Ironically, Dr. Raied al-Wazzan, the director of the Belfast Islamic Center and the chief complainant against McConnell, does seem to bear some animus against Christians. Speaking to the BBC in January 2015, he said, “Since the Islamic State took over, it [Mosul] has become the most peaceful city in the world.” That, after the Islamic State had killed or expelled all of Mosul’s Christian community of 60,000.

Al-Wazzan seems to be endorsing genocide. Why isn’t he on trial for hate speech? Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Susan Breen, an atheist journalist, raises that very question: “The fact that Dr. Al-Wazzan will be in the witness box, and not in the dock himself, reinforces Christians’ belief it is they alone who are being victimized and persecuted in our society.”

Rev. McConnell is certainly better off living in Belfast than in Mosul. But, as evidenced by his experience and by the recent Irish vote in favor of same-sex “marriage,” Ireland seems increasingly inhospitable to Christians and their “inflammatory” opinions. The trouble is, Pastor McConnell would probably not have fared much better in other parts of the Western world.


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