Continuing Threats to Religious Freedom in Western Democracies

Feb 19, 2024 by

By Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism.

International Christian Concern, which focuses primarily on violent persecution against Christians in the non-Western world, is also concerned with the continuing threat to religious freedom in the West, which results largely from failure to respect the religious conscience in the wake of the sexual revolution. ICC sponsored a workshop concerning threats in the West at the recent International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington on January 31. McKenna Wendt, Advocacy Manager at ICC thanked Arielle Del Turco, Director, Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council for organizing and moderating the event.

Cultural Background of Western Threats to Religious Freedom

Del Turco first turned to Aaron Edwards, an author and theologian, who served as a lecturer in theology for seven years at Cliff College in the United Kingdom. He was dismissed from his role at a university in 2023 for a tweet in which he expressed “a Biblical view of human sexuality.” Edwards said that Cliff College was the “last bastion” of Evangelicalism in British Methodism, although he was not himself a Methodist “in his own church polity.” In 2019, it was clear that British Methodism “was going to vote on same-sex marriage.” He said that there were “high-up people” in the Methodist Church who were in same-sex marriages before the church acted to approve same-sex marriage (in 2021). But many people could not really be engaged in discussion, since they view the Biblical doctrine of marriage as an attack on their sexuality, which they consider their identity. Consequently, when same-sex relationships are accepted by a denomination, opposition to homosexuality is not tolerated. Opponents are considered “hateful, harmful, bigoted” are “to some extent … dehumanized.”

Edwards said that “anthropology is [now] the area of heresy and orthodoxy in the public square.” Evangelicals in Britain are willing to defend theology, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, in the public square, but not Biblical doctrine related to human sexuality. But he found that for non-Western students, homosexuality is a non-negotiable issue. Non-Western clergy wonder how pro-LGBT advocates can say that the Bible in fact not only tolerates but supports homosexuality. Bennett said that it is by drawing on many commentaries, that leave the obvious meaning of the text doubtful. By reading liberationist ideologies and queer theory, one can read the Bible differently. Non-Western Christians, however, regard this as “a new form of Western colonialism.”

Read here.

Related Posts


Share This