Your Missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
There was the notorious TIME Magazine cover of the late 1960s that declared, “God is dead.” No one ever produced proof of that assertion. In contrast, today I saw authoritative evidence the radical secularism that spawned such a ridiculous claim is absolutely dead-as-a-doornail.
This morning I participated in an informative meeting here in Washington dealing with the issue of international religious liberty. You may know I serve on the board of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy headed by my friend Joe Griebowski. It was in connection with that role that I attended today’s forum.
Several presenters shared insights, opinions and statistical analysis from a variety of viewpoints and data. We heard from experts who were religious and non-religious, political and non-political, government-based and non-government based, American and non-American, even communist—but they all came to the same conclusion: Religious liberty is a very important—if not the most important—of human rights and human concerns. Furthermore, the presence of religious liberty is inseparably linked to virtually every other positive societal factor.
Seems like a keen sense of the obvious right? Not to everyone. In fact, to very few in academia, law, government, international relations, politics and our U.S. State Department. (Note the State Department is the mechanism the U.S. uses to engage other countries.) I’ll concentrate here on what I found to be the most important aspects of what we discussed today:
1) - Religious liberty factors insignificantly on most government agendas—including our own. Notwithstanding that fact, the right to freely practice ones religion factors very high in polls conducted around the world.
2) - Most government entities—again including our own State Department—have operated for decades on a false model—that the world is getting progressively more secular. The numbers demonstrate otherwise—all parts of the world (with the predictable exception of Western Europe) are either becoming more religious or are holding steady.
3) - The consensus is that most governments and government officials, the media and the United Nations assiduously avoid engaging religious questions because they are the ones that are inordinately secularized!
4) - A clear 94% of the world’s population believe in God. An overall 87% consider religion to be an important part of their lives.
How is it that so little attention is given to things religious given these numbers? It’s not only scandalous and demonstratively incompetent to ignore such a vital factor—it’s an almost insane denial of reality.
The facts are clear and convincing: The world is a very religious place—sometimes a terribly religious place. In order to understand it, deal with it and resolve its most pressing conflicts, crises and needs, you must view it through a religious lens.
The Bible says, “The fool has said down in his heart there is no God.” Anyone running for office, running a government or trying to figure out what’s going on without taking religion, spirituality and all they entail into the most serious consideration is foolish indeed!
Your grateful missionary to elected and appointed officials,
Rev. Rob Schenck
109 2nd St., NE
Washington, DC 20002