“I think we’re seeing the continuing unfolding of a new intolerance toward traditional religion in the public square, in the United States and in Great Britain,” said Mary Eberstadt, author of It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, on Tuesday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon.
“There are numerous cases now of people sidelined and stigmatized for their religious beliefs, particularly if they are tradition-minded Christians,” she said, continuing:
We have over here in the U.S., as you know, a long list of cases: the fire chief in Atlanta, who was fired for writing a book about being an unapologetic Christian, or various cases in the military – the young Marine who was court-martialed for keeping an inspirational verse from the Bible over her desk.
“There are many more cases in Great Britain: the delivery driver who was fired for keeping a crucifix on the dashboard of his van, et cetera, et cetera,” she added. “My point is these are not isolated cases. We are seeing a civilizational shift in the West toward an ascendant secularism and away from tolerance for traditional religion.”
When Bannon noted that some radical secularists are intensifying their attacks on religious freedom, even after winning most of the “culture war” battles, Eberstadt agreed that “some of them don’t want to ease up.”
“I think the ones in the activist wing have every intention of crushing the other side,” she said. “But I do think there are fair-minded people out there who may not be completely aligned with religious believers, who may not even believe themselves, but they do think themselves to be tolerant.”
She said she wanted to use her book as “a kind of divining rod to separate out the people who don’t want to see Christianity forced out of the public square, and the people who do, because progressivism is not a monolith.”
“Even secularist progressivism is not a monolith, and I think we can reach open-minded people,” Eberstadt elaborated. “Because I think things have gone so far – and this is the good side of the depressing stuff – that I think even people who are not religious can see that there is an unfair stigmatization of religious believers.”
She hoped her book would serve as a “blueprint to get people off defense, out of that defensive crouch that religious people feel they’re in, and back up on to some kind of offense.”
“I don’t mean that in an uncivil way,” she clarified. “What I mean is that it is fair to call things out. It’s fair to say, ‘Why am I being called a hater? I don’t hate anyone.’”
“It’s fair to invoke the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr., and other great progressive religious thinkers,” she said, “to say, ‘Look, you guys on the other side don’t represent the people you claim to represent. You’re, instead, being inquisitorial and unfair,’” Eberstadt continued. “And I think all of that is fair game, and I’m hoping that the rhetoric in the book is a kind of ammunition for people who are being unfairly castigated out there.”
Mary Eberstadt’s books, including It’s Dangerous to Believe and How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization, are available from Amazon.com.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.