Rocky Mountain News editorial page editor Vincent Carrol and
staff member David Shiflett are authors of a new book entitled Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against
Christians are at risk of being shoved to
the margins of public life, victims of disinformation campaigns that
minimize their contributions and maximize their warts contend Carrol
The “cultural elite” members of the media,
artistic, political and intellectual establishments are the villains
of the book.
The authors point out that religious activism
was dominated by liberalism from abolition through the civil right
However, the political coloration changed
as conservative Christians erupted against abortion rights in 1973,
with the Supreme Court’s Roe
decision. Suddenly the elites
equated religious faith with a political position.
“In effect, the stigmatizing of the activist
Christian Right has provided an excuse for a generalized anti-religious
rhetoric, and even demands that people motivated by faith withdraw
from the public square,” write Carrol and Shiftlett.
Tragically, the brunt of this, of course,
is carried by Christians. On
the other hand, still drawing outrage are slight remarks about Jews
or Muslims. However, Christians overall are expected to
stand still and suffer as targets of suspicion, slander, derision
and out-and-out hostility. Religion
is no longer relevant to modern life according to this bottom-line
Anti-religious rhetoric of many Rocky Mountain News letter-to-the editor
writers inspired Carrol to write the book on an even-handed historical
review of both shining and shameful moments.
In fact, what separates Americans today,
“seems to be not our different denominations and faith practices,
but faith itself,” points out Senator Joe Lieberman (Democrat-Connecticut),
the first Jewish Vice Presidential candidate.
He continued,” We are a society of the religious and the secular,
where practicing Jews, Christians and Muslims often more in common
with each other than with their non-believing peers.”
That division, in turn, has led to a secular
orthodoxy” in which religious belief is seen as so menacing that it
must be kept at bay say Carrol and Shiflett.
And to drag Christianity’s skeletons out of the closet, while
ignoring the seminal role it has played in shaping Western civilization,
is the easiest way to accomplish that.
The trust in a rational universe that made
true scientific inquiry possible is forgotten, but remembered is the
suppression of Galileo. The
core belief in equality that gave rise to the ideal of democracy itself
is forgotten, but the Salem witch-burning remembered.
Christianity’s past is treated as something
not to celebrate but something to recover from. That is heresy. And, perversely believers are being tied to the stake by those who
have the most to fear from faith — the Politically Correct inquisition
as America stands by General Omar Bradley once wisely said, “We have
grasped the mystery of the atom, and rejected the sermon on the Mount.”
(Sue O’Brien,” When faith becomes the enemy,”
The Denver Post, January 20, 2002)
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