The Park51 Muslim community center and mosque set to be sited in the rough vicinity of ground zero has inspired weeks of vitriol and inspired angry protest scenes featuring aggressive bigotry. A Muslim cab driver was stabbed in New York this week, his assailant charged with an anti-Muslim hate crime. The right blogosphere is calling for “peaceful” revolution against our perhaps Muslim president who, in supporting the right of the Park51 planners to go forward, is “by word and deed now a terrorist sympathizer.”
Never perhaps before in U.S. history, including directly after 9/11, has the threat of discrimination and bias and aggression toward Muslim citizens run higher.
Denver’s Archbishop Chaput, an eloquent man with a busy speaking schedule, this week in Europe preached about the threat to religious freedom– not the threat posed to American Muslims by overzealous champions of the “Christian nation” meme, however, but the threat posed to Christians by the rise of a “state-encouraged atheism.”
The Catholic News Agency reports that Chaput spoke Tuesday to the Canon Law Association of Slovakia.
Chaput explained [that] today’s secularist ideology envisions “a society apart from God” where “men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves,” sharing no higher guiding principle than “satisfying their needs and desires.”
This seemingly benign vision, he warned, leaves no place for the Church’s work of evangelism, teaching, and activism.
Taking a chapter from U.S. political debate running since Pres. Obama was elected, Chaput used Nazis and communists as reference points for the way U.S. society is now shutting down liberty:
A comprehensive attack on religious freedom, and specifically upon Christianity, the archbishop explained, has already begun. He told the Slovakian audience that this attack promotes an “aggressively secular political vision and a consumerist economic model.” Its end goal, he said, is to replace God and the Church with technology and social engineering.
In light of such events, he warned, “the Church’s religious liberty is under assault today in ways not seen since the Nazi and Communist eras.”
A big thinker, Chaput is talking about enormous almost abstract web-like power dynamics and systems of control, systems that can win us over without us being aware that we have been won over.
As we all know, though, YouTube can also speak eloquently, often about the immediate world around us and its different kinds of power dynamics and threats.