The Decline and Rightward Drift of Religion in America; Movement toward Tolerance in Morocco

As religion in America is churning, with growth largely limited to Evangelicals, Morocco seems to be inching toward greater religious tolerance, according to the Middle East Eye. The trend toward religious conservatism in the United States is disquieting, but Morocco’s nascent movement toward greater tolerance is a positive step.

I have no brief for the clandestine proselytizing by fundamentalist Christians in Morocco while I was there; it is a version of Christianity I find particularly distasteful. However, the state should remain neutral with respect to adherence to or propagation of religious views and protective of the rights of minorities.

Separation of “church” and state would be a tremendous leap for Morocco, where political stability is still bound up with religious orthodoxy, and the King styles himself Emir al Mu’minin — Commander of the Faithful.Proselytizing of Muslims is still a criminal offense.

We are still a long way from abandoning it in the United States, although there are legitimate concerns over the growth of right-wing Christianity, the increasing politicization of religion, and growing intolerance of Islam under the banner of “religious freedom” — an ironic code for intolerance. A civil society coupled with freedom of conscience is essential for any democratic state. If America is to remain a democracy, it must maintain it, and if Morocco is to become a democracy, it must embrace it.

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