THE DEBATE ABOUT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. ONLY DO CHRISTIANS NEED IT?

Irish preacher, who was accused of xenophobic statements against Muslims, was acquitted. The judge ruled that the sermon, which he read in 2014 was not as offensive for it to condemn. Pastor James McConnell said he did not want to offend Muslims when he called them a satanic faith, and many Muslims — terrorists. In defense of McConnell’s book was made by one Islamic scholar, who said that the object of the court is freedom of speech for Christians and Muslims.

Americans give a higher priority to the protection of religious freedoms of Christians than other religious groups. In a new survey, “the Associated Press” most called “very important” to protect freedom of religion as a whole. But the numbers changed dramatically when people were asked about specific religious groups such as Muslims. 82% said important protection of religious freedom for Christians, while Muslims 61%, and 67% for Mormons.

Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the organization “LifeWay Research”, says that the best way to protect religious freedom of people is to defend it for all.

MHN: ed, were you surprised by this study, and why, in Your opinion, many said they do not support freedom of religion for people who are not Christians?

Ed Stetzer: About 70% of Americans consider themselves Christians and wish to benefit from religious freedom. But we also need to understand that religious freedom for some, in the end, will be religious freedom for anyone. Religious freedom should be a universal principle throughout the United States.

MHN: about Islam. What if a Muslim were to say that religious freedom means the right to follow Sharia? How about this?

I would say that sometimes these religious freedom come into conflict with each other, and if a Muslim in our country wish to have a system that would restrict the religious freedom of others, we oppose. And we have the leverage to resist.

MHN: How the protection of religious freedom of others ensures our own religious freedom?

In the next 20 years will be a struggle for religious liberty, possible probably one of the most violent conflicts inside of our country not to mention around the world, I want the Christians say: “No religious freedom for me, without religious freedom for all!” This is the first freedom, on it are based all the rest.

MHN: ed, you know the Scripture. Teach us the Bible to respect and protect people of other faiths?

All people are created in God’s image. And the founders of our country talked about the inalienable rights that come from the Creator. This comes from the fact that men and women are created in God’s image. And, being made in the image of God, they may walk away from God or come to some other God. But they are created in the image of God and they have value and dignity. Therefore, we must protect their dignity and value, as well as their freedom to make choices. God is a God who has allowed us to make a choice.

MAN: This is the only problem of American Christianity and or other countries? Are we so selfish?

I guess sometimes we do complain about the so-called “persecution”, whereas most of us in America have never faced real persecution. We need to stand up and say, “no, No! Religious freedom is important everywhere!” And we should encourage their leaders, their government.

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