Samuel Gregg, senior research fellow at the
Acton Institute, gave the culminating lecture at Acton University yesterday. He
courageously reminded the 900 conference participants from 85 countries of the
universal duty to seek religious truth.
liberty is important, said Gregg, because it is a precondition for man’s honest
quest for truth free of coercion and according to human reason. Religious
liberty is the primary freedom, and if taken away, all other freedoms can be
to religious persecutions, and infringements on religious liberty worldwide,
Gregg encouraged the Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christian participants
to do three things:
challenged Christians to raise awareness about violence against fellow
Christians worldwide. He gave several eye opening statistics about the global
persecution of Christians including the salient fact that, every day, 273
Christians are killed for their faith.
argued, “Christians need to stop taking government funding” for Christian
institutions. He lamented the slow compromise of identity among Christian
associations that have taken government money only to find themselves
manipulated into a financial dependence that prevents authentic Christian
vision and fidelity to our moral and cultural heritage.
Ecumenism, said Gregg, is the third solution to religious intolerance. He
called for Christians to unite on this front “against the real enemy: social
engineering.” Christians must defend the right to be a leading voice in society
and not allow themselves to be trampled by the tyranny of relativism.
tolerance, says Gregg, recognizes that two people do not agree, but are willing
to treat each other with human dignity and respect for conscience. The word,
tolerance, has been hijacked by bigoted ideologists and become instead, “an
affirmation of the zeitgeist,” concluded Gregg.
is a possibility for every Christian today. Gregg believes no Christian ought
to feel exempt from the threats of global persecution. Following the example of
the Apostle Paul, we need to claim our rights as free citizens and not be
intimidated by social bullies.
This is not
the time to curl up and be silent, but like the saints before us, we are called
to give testimony (Greek: marturia) about the love that dwells within us and be able to
support our faith with reason.