Religious Freedom in America  

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"Religious Freedom in America" (2006) is a text by Roger Scruton published in The American Spectator of December 2006/January 2007.


"In September of this past year Robert Redeker, a French schoolteacher, published an article in Le Figaro arguing that Christians, when incited to violence in the name of their religion, can find no authority for this in the life and words of Christ as recorded in the Gospel, while Muslims, incited to violence in the name of their religion, can find plenty of support for their belligerence in the Koran. Although manifestly true, this statement was found to be offensive by a section of Muslim opinion, Mr. Redeker received credible death-threats against himself and his family, and he and they now live in hiding under police protection."
"The reaction of the French authorities typifies the European response. Critics of Islam are not defended, but marginalized, by removing them from society and keeping them under house arrest. Instead of going after those who threatened Mr. Redeker with every weapon available to the law, instead of passing legislation of whatever severity might be required to restore the freedoms that have been gratuitously removed by the newcomers, the European authorities try to bluff their way to peace through appeasement, while pushing Islam’s critics off the stage. It is now increasingly rare for public discussion of Islam and its stance to proceed with the open-minded concern for truth that is necessary if the discussion is to get us anywhere.
"Europe has seen private enterprise censorship of the Islamist kind before: notably when the Fascists worked to take power in Italy and the Nazis in Germany. But Europe has not learned the lesson. People living under secular government, and enjoying the comforts of a modern economy, easily become blind to the deep religious need of our species. They readily assume that religious passions can be quelled by a dose of Enlightenment, and that a sprinkling of skepticism will suffice to quell those perverted passions, like Nazism and fascism, that arise in religion’s place. And when the truth suddenly displays itself, they stare aghast, utter abject apologies, and quickly retreat from the field."

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