domingo, 28 de agosto de 2016

The left is still mostly at peace with the American Jewish community because the latter is predominantly irreligious, socially liberal, and politically progressive

The Battle for Religious Liberty Will Be Won on the Field of Education

by Peter Berkowitz

A striking correlation exists between the decay of liberal education and the belief that government should push American citizens toward progressivism.

The first clause of the first of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution enshrines religious liberty. The opening words of the Bill of Rights accord this honor to religious liberty because, if government were to establish a state religion or interfere with the free exercise of religion, our other precious liberties would sustain a blow. It is a short step from government’s prescribing beliefs and dictating practices concerning citizens’ fundamental duties and highest hopes to government’s depriving citizens of their property and imprisoning them for deviating from the state’s religious—or irreligious, or anti-religious—orthodoxy.

The First Amendment also underscores the intimate connection between the protection of religious liberty and the exercise ofpolitical liberty by immediately following the prohibitions on governmental establishment and state regulation of religion with guarantees of freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition of government.

Any threat to religious liberty in America, the Constitution’s Bill of Rights teaches, endangers all liberties.

In “Who’s Afraid of Religious Liberty?,” Richard Samuelson bracingly argues that the threat to religious liberty today is real and growing. He starts with the threat to Jews: the alarming resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, accompanied by a hugely disproportionate number of hate crimes against Jews in the United States and the “anti-Israel agitation” and “anti-Semitic vilification” that are common on American university campuses but have “leapt beyond the precincts of the academy to infiltrate American political discourse.” And this threat, maintains Samuelson, is compounded by a dangerous transformation of Americans’ conception of liberty in general and of religious liberty and liberty of association in particular. In a misguided quest to use government to eradicate every form of and vestige of discrimination—that is, drawing distinctions among people—progressives, he writes, “isolate, impugn, and penalize dissenting views held by Americans of faith” that undergird “the conduct of their religious lives.”

The campaign to eradicate dissenting opinion through the force of law, Samuelson argues, represents a perversion of the political principles on which America was founded. To secure individual liberty, the Constitution established a limited government. The limits were designed to reflect the distinction between the public sphere, rightly regulated by government, and the private. The latter included a diverse and vigorous civil society in which individuals enjoyed wide-ranging freedom, not least the freedom within broad boundaries to believe, think, speak, and act as they wished and to associate or not with whomever they pleased.

The enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Samuelson writes, marked a turning point. While intended to serve the noble goal of ending government-sanctioned discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin, the act was hijacked by progressive activists. In the name of ending discrimination, they have used it to outlaw private conduct that does not comport with contemporary progressive norms.

Religion is the new front. Legal efforts to compel Christian photographers and Christian bakers to participate, contrary to their religious beliefs, in same-sex weddings when plenty of other photographers and bakers are available are no longer inspired by the entirely proper aim of protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination in the public sphere but rather seek to bring the faithful to heel and show the pious who is boss by circumscribing their exercise of religion and controlling their associations.

One might have hoped that the writings of Robert Conquest, Arthur Koestler, George Orwell, and Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn about the horrors of Communist totalitarianism would have decisively taught that the ambition to outlaw departures from state-sanctioned opinion through government-imposed uniformity of thought and conduct culminates in tyranny. But the contemporary legal campaign to curb the free exercise of religion in order to establish the left-wing interpretation of liberalism as America’s state religion shows that such hopes are misplaced.

The assault on liberty, Samuelson speculates, may be one cause of the tremors shaking American politics: “In today’s fevered political climate, one cannot help wondering how much of the felt national anger might be traceable to the juridically-abetted effort to force all Americans onto a uniform cultural page.” He concludes that Jews have both a “collective interest” and a “historical responsibility” to help restore “a healthier understanding of liberty,” one that “would be good not only for traditional Jews and Christians but for all Americans.”


No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario