toleration

No Reciprocity: On the Papal Visit to the UAE

Pope Francis is planning a pilgrimage to Arabia, a land of no reciprocity. Unlike in the West, no religious equality is to be had there, and, for the most part, in practice, no religious freedom either. It is doubtful that the Pontiff will be able to remedy the situation. Aside from Iraq and Yemen, which … Read more

Critics of Christianity Aren’t So Clever

On cue, my recent article, “The Mercy of Intolerance,” prompted some, um, spirited responses outside the general Crisis readership. One gentleman, “Paul,” who was particularly exercised by the piece shot me an email (excerpt below) in hopes of educating me. My response follows. Regis, you and I live in two different worlds. In my world tolerance … Read more

The Mercy of Intolerance

Some years ago, I told a friend that I had visited a local evangelical church. Unhesitatingly, he remarked, “Oh, you mean that homophobic church!” While such remarks reveal a lack of understanding about Church teachings, I can see why some people make them. It’s because of something I call “selective tolerance.” While Christians are known … Read more

On Consulting the People

Should the Church—Christians acting as such, especially those in authority—heed the cry of the people? Less rhetorically, should the Church be guided by public opinion? The answer, of course, is “sometimes.” The people are guided by their needs, but also by their obsessions and illusions, and they ask for good things, bad things, and things … Read more

Catholicism and Christian Pluralism

Have you ever overheard people discussing how world religions are basically the same, and only superficially different? “We have different opinions about the small stuff,” someone says, “but when it comes down to the essential beliefs, every religion is the same.” This has been described as the “God on the Mountain” perspective. God (or whatever … Read more

Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan: Symbols of Islamic Fanaticism

Mumtaz Qadri, a former elite commando and murderer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, was convicted and finally hanged on March 1, 2016 in Pakistan. Qadri killed Governor Taseer on January 4, 2011 over his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Pakistan is among 15 Islamic countries across the globe where blasphemy laws are enforced. In all … Read more

Why Thomas More is the Patron Saint of Statesmen

Wolf Hall, the recent novel-turned-television-series, raises the question of who is right about the actions and legacy of Thomas More (1478-1535) and Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540). The stakes are higher than many realize. As Mark Movsesian explains: In its biased portrayal of More, British history’s great example of religious resistance to state orthodoxy, Wolf Hall is … Read more

When Teaching Truth Stops Being a Church Priority

Basic issues have basic importance. Does God exist? If he does, what is he like? If he doesn’t, can an objective moral order survive his absence? It seems obvious that such questions are crucial to all aspects of life, including our life together in society. That conclusion has inconvenient implications. Christian societies, Muslim societies, and … Read more

Is “Sexual Immorality” a Useful Concept?

The expression “sexual immorality” seems overly contentious to people today. To say someone has acted immorally is usually to say he’s acted in a way that’s morally repellent. But most people don’t feel that way about non-standard sexual activity. It’s not fornication, adultery, or sodomy that leaders of thought consider repellent, but the pharisaical judgmentalism … Read more

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like … Winter Holiday

Lord Alfred Douglas, in a poem from the 1890s, euphemistically branded homosexual behavior as “the love that dare not speak its name.” In recent years, homosexual behavior has gotten quite vocal about itself, causing confusion over “love” and even “marriage.” Religion in general, however, and Judaism and especially Christianity in particular, have been muted—gagged might … Read more

Why Culture War is Unavoidable

A culture is a way of living, a system of habit and attitude, an orientation toward life and the world, that is shared and basically taken for granted within a community. It arises naturally when people live together, since we are social beings who need common habits and understandings to live together happily and productively. … Read more

Why Liberalism is so Illiberal

Have liberals been getting less liberal? Or are they merely letting their true colors show, now that the culture wars seem to be going their way? That’s the question Damon Linker recently broached at The Week, as part of his ongoing effort to persuade liberals to be more tolerant. Linker doesn’t understand why progressive secularists … Read more

John Locke and the Dark Side of Toleration

“A Church then I take to be a voluntary Society of men, joining themselves together of their own accord, in order to the publick worshipping of God, in such a manner as they judge acceptable to him, and effectual to the Salvation of their Souls.”  ∼ John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration It seems likely … Read more

The Illusion of Neutrality

We have all heard what has come to be a liberal dictum, that the State must remain neutral as regards religion or irreligion. One can show fairly easily that the men who wrote our constitution had no such neutrality in mind, given the laws that they and their fellows subsequently passed, their habits of public prayer at … Read more

Is Pluralism a Threat to Catholic Survival?

With few exceptions, American Catholics have given up on the dream of a Catholic society. Instead, they have come to aspire to a seat at the table: a respected position in public life that lets them bring their insights and values into public discussion within a pluralistic system. At first glance the aspiration seems sensible. … Read more

Why Silencing Christians will Continue

The number of subjects we cannot talk about in public discourse are rapidly multiplying. The older notion of “free speech” as a search for the truth through reasonable argument is being replaced. We no longer want to hear speech if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity. We would rather “just get along” than to … Read more

Those Intolerable Catholics – In Locke’s Time and Ours

Often touted as a landmark text in the history of religious freedom, John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration (1689) is remarkable in wisely limiting the power of “the magistrate … to do or meddle with nothing but barely in order to securing the civil peace and properties of his subjects,” and thus of granting “an absolute … Read more

Conscience Freedoms Denied by Liberal Courts

Two recent court cases illustrate the incoherence and remarkable intolerance of “liberal” views regarding conscience. One involves the bottomless pockets of the atheist Michael Newdow, who most recently joined several plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department demanding the words “In God We Trust” be scrubbed from U.S. currency.  Newdow advocates what Richard … Read more

The Intolerance of Liberal Toleration

D. A. Carson, a well-known Reformed theologian and exegete, has written a clear and well-reasoned analysis of today’s imperialistic tolerance from an Evangelical and classically liberal standpoint. He tells us that the new understanding of tolerance has meant a shift from accepting the right of others to hold dissenting views to demanding acceptance of such … Read more

When a Crowd Becomes a Mob

It was Victoria Day in Canada and the Toronto Blue Jays were hosting the Rays of Tampa Bay. The word “hosting,” however, hardly applied to the treatment that one Yunel Escobar, the Rays shortstop, received, who was lustfully booed each time he came to the plate.  When he homered in the 9th inning, he was … Read more

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