Religious Freedom Debates: Christianity in Today’s Changing Democratic Societies

In the American society, the Barack Obama administration proposes that religous bodies especially Christian religious bodies would have to compromise their religious freedom right by supporting the abortifacient mentality and culture in an economic strategy the Health and Human Services proposed earlier in January 2012.

A one year grace period has been given to such religious bodies to prepare to forego such fundamental right. Among the affected bodies is the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).

In another development, a High Court judgement in Great Britain has ruled as unlawful the practice of saying prayers at the beginning of every local council meetings in the United Kingdom (UK).

The AlJazeera news aired it on their news bulletin in February, 2012. It was spear-headed by one Secular Society group. Most Christians have objected to this ruling which has been described as a rude shock to a tradition that has been over 200 years old. However, the argument of the legal counsel, himself an atheist, is that religious freedom does not admit forcing the religious beliefs and practices of one group over another.

What the above two stories come to is firstly, the nature of a democracy that seems to guarantee the rights of citizen in a free state. Such system of government preaches the relevance of dilevering the dividends of democracy to the people. On the other hand, it is a sacarstic review of the place of religion in public life.

Earlier in 2010, Benedict XVI on visiting UK, affirmed that the role of religion cannot be confined to a peripheral relevance. It would only amount to an unsuccessful surgical operation of a whole while trying to save some parts and discard the others as unuseful.

What this writer reasons is that Christianity is facing a very important challenge today. Back in the days of the early church, persecutions were of religious nature. The Church dealth with them very well in the definition of some truths of the faith that have stood the test of time.

Not only have they been able to weather the storm of historical harsh opposition but such truths of the faith have aided millions in finding their way to connect or re-connect with God.

One can say that the two scenarios portrayed as coming from the US and the UK are representative of many a democratic society that attempts to redefine what seems to be religious freedom. But in doing so, granted it may have the best of intentions, a lot has in the process derailed.
The essence has been lost and only shadows, ephemerals are now being touted and promoted as true values of such globalised culture. Other shadows depicting this debilitating culutre of a globalised democratic society has ‘new values’ it proposes, namely, same-sex union, homosexual rights to vote, etc.

The nature of this changing modern society whose tall dream of a globalised world and culture can be likened to the fruitless efforts of the technocrats and architects of the Tower of Babel.


About padredanivha

A Catholic priest
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