Moral Equivalence and Religious Freedom

My left-leaning acquaintances consistently attempt to convince me that all religions are equally good and equally bad. This is one instance of the doctrine of “moral equivalence.”

The trouble is, moral equivalence just isn’t true. If you and I were to meet on the street, I could smile at you or I could punch you in the nose. Few would claim that these acts are morally equivalent. And yet if these acts are promoted by a religion, our brothers on the left would have us believe that they are morally equivalent.

Religions are more than the acts of their adherents. Every religion maintains a set of core beliefs which are promoted to their followers as the good and right way to live.

For example, Sura 9 of the Qua’ran teaches Muslims how to deal with members of other religions:

Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

Compare that to the words of Matthew Chapter 5:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Our friends on the left then argue that these ancient texts have no relevance to the events of today, as if the adherents of a religion have no interest in the published tenets of the religion. To this, I would like to answer that we don’t need to. We have modern evidence to provide us with more than enough guidance.

The Roman Catholic Church represents the largest organization of Christian believers. In 1965, the Pope issued a Declaration of Religious Freedom, which states:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The most well-known and respected Islamic cleric currently living is Osama bin Laden. When Osama bin Laden, or his successor, issues a declaration of religious freedom guaranteeing that no man, woman, or child will be coerced into following Islamic law — then perhaps we will have some real moral equivalence in this world.

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