Bulletin Columns

IWKnights Corner (Bulletin Insert) for July 30, 2017

Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus?

Professor Ryszard Legutko
Scientist, essayist and politician, professor of philosophy at the Jagiellonian University (Courtesy of Great Polish project website)

Last week, we published the first of five questions in a Q&A published within the Knights on-line magazine, the Columbia.  “The interviewee was Professor Ryszard Legutko who spent the first four decades of his life in communist-controlled Poland.  Like many, he came to idealize the freedom and political structure of liberal democratic societies, particularly the United States.  Following the collapse of communism in 1989 and Poland’s democratic transition, he experienced disillusionment as political problems persisted.”

Columbia editor Alton J. Pelowski recently had the opportunity to talk to Legutko about his book “The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies (Encounter, 2016) and about the role of faith in the public square today.

COLUMBIA: You’ve spoken on behalf of the persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East.  What in your opinion should be done in the West to aid Christians and other minority groups who are targeted for genocide?

PROF. RYSZARD LEGUTKO: Christians are suffering persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere — such as in North Korea and places in Africa — yet there is also discrimination of Christians in Europe, and these two things are somehow correlated.  European politicians are very reluctant to talk about the persecution of Christians.  When they do, they use abstract terms like “freedom of religion.”  They evade the issue when they use this weak language. They should be defending Christians as Christians in the same way as the Israelis defend Jews as Jews, not because it contradicts the abstract idea of nondiscrimination.

These same politicians don’t escape into this neutral, abstract language when defending homosexuals, for instance.  Almost every document that comes out of the European Parliament contains clauses where the rights of LGBT people are stated explicitly. You never find such language in defense of Christians.  If we Westerners do not defend Christianity, nobody will, but we are somehow reluctant or unable to do so.

There are many things that can be done to help ensure that the Middle East is not further de-Christianized.  There were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, and now it’s around 200,000. This is not only about Christianity but about the presence of Western civilization in the Middle East. This is also about peace. Christians were the people who stood for peace there.  Now, with them nearly gone, you have what is taking place today.

The preceding piece is the conclusion to an article posted in the Columbia.  You can find the link to this article and other information about us at www.IWKnights.com (Click on Bulletin Inserts) or at facebook.com/IWknights9981.

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