Liberal intolerance is suppressing freedom of belief and conscience in the United States, religious and secular panelists agreed in a discussion at Georgetown University.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), joined in the conversation Oct. 27 at the country’s oldest Roman Catholic university on how “illiberal liberalism” is affecting the free exercise of religion.
While both liberals and conservatives can be intolerant, the left controls influential institutions in a U.S. society polarized increasingly over such issues as same-sex marriage, abortion and the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate, members of the panel said.
The problems with intolerance among conservatives “are ameliorated because you don’t have the right in control of the key culture-making sectors in American life,” Moore told the audience. “[T]he left is primarily in charge of culture making right now.”
Liberal intolerance can even reach the level of “a certain form of fundamentalism,” he said. “That is happening on most secular college campuses.”
Another panelist, USA Today columnist and Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers, chronicled the trend in her recent book, “The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech.” In doing research for the book, she found the problem was “so much worse” than she expected on campuses and in the wider culture, Powers said.
Religiously based views on such issues as gay marriage and abortion “are treated as if they are actual attacks” that create harm, she said, adding her book provides “example after example” of this.
Rather than disagreeing and debating, Powers said, the response of the intolerant left is: “We don’t want to hear about it. And if you do talk about it, we’re going to call you a bigot; we’re going to report you to the authorities; we’re going to make you a social outcast.”
Secularist and atheist Phil Zuckerman agreed liberal intolerance happens on university campuses.
“I am ashamed of it; I am angered by it,” said Zuckerman, sociology professor at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. “[I]t is upsetting, and it is disturbing.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press