Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Friday, March 31, 2006

Respecting Other Cultures

In free Afghanistan, the nation American soldiers died to liberate from the Taliban, a man was facing execution. His crime: converting Christianity. I'm told the man was released and has amnesty in Rome, but the Afghan legislature is still calling for his head. Father Richard John Neuhaus wrote this in his blog:

The spirited, if sometimes acidulous, Mark Steyn reflects on the Afghan clerics who are calling for the death of Abdul Rahman because he committed the capital crime of converting to Christianity. In the course of his remarks, Mr. Steyn cites one of my favorite stories about the limits of multiculturalism.

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee"–the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural: "You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

If Pax Americana is to spread freedom throughout the Muslim world, we must include the right to practice one's faith among those freedoms.

3 Comments:

  • In a very rare occasion, I actually agreed with Bill Donohue on this. His last press release included this statement:

    "The Catholic League fully supports House Resolution 736 expressing the will of Congress that religious liberty be respected in Afghanistan. Introduced by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, the legislation denounces the unconscionable assault on Abdul Rahman’s religious liberties, and thereby commits American lawmakers to take a more active role in monitoring basic human rights in Afghanistan. To be plain, American troops did not lose their lives in Afghanistan so that Christian converts could be killed by the new government."

    By Anonymous Diane, at Friday, March 31, 2006 11:18:00 AM  

  • Yes, but what if one religion says that it is a crime worthy of execution to convert to another religion? Is it a suppression of their freedom to practice their religion if we prevent them from executing converts? If we are trying to give people their freedom we have to be able to define true freedom.
    Mary Frances

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, April 03, 2006 12:35:00 AM  

  • Too true. Religious freedom must be bounded by natural law. Society cannont allow religion to trample on people's rights. Human sacrifices, capital punishment for conversion, burning widows at the stake, etc, should all be curtailed on moral grounds. I will point out that "not being offended" is not a natural right, lest anyone think I'm in favor of a naked public square.

    By Blogger Tom, at Tuesday, April 04, 2006 3:32:00 AM  

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