Mar 12, 2010

Freedom to Proselytize

Jim HutchensBy Dr. James M. Hutchens
The Jerusalem Connection

Rabbi Brad Hirshfield said: “Far from being a threat to religious freedom, proselytism is one more expression of it. In fact, in countries in which proselytizing is illegal, people are literally dying for the right to share their beliefs with others. We should be far more concerned about those nations in which one is barred from sharing their beliefs than we are about individuals who may annoy us with the overly enthusiastic religious salesmanship.”

God says: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” … “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

The Jerusalem Connection says: Where true freedom of religion exists there is freedom of speech – which implies freedom to proselytize. Where there is no freedom to proselytize there is no genuine freedom of religion or freedom of speech. Make no mistake, these are inseparably linked. In the world of Islam proselytizing warrants the death penalty. Forget about freedom of religion or freedom of speech wherever Muslims rule. While we welcome the acceptance and affirmation of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Christian Zionists, we are sadly aware that freedom of religion in Israel basically means one is only free to practice his own religion. Proselytizing is illegal. Too many Christians have been kicked out of Israel for what has been called “missionizing activity.” Israel needs to do some internal house cleaning regarding proselytizing if it is going to have true freedom of religion. Bigotry and intolerance lies at the core of anti-proselytizing efforts. It only reveals an insecurity and lack of confidence in ones own religious beliefs. Israel can do better than this.

Related Links

I am Jewish, can I become a Christian? -
Morocco Rejects Criticism for Expelling Christians Accused of Proselytizing Abandoned Muslim Children -
Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus - Michael L. Brown (Book)
Is Proselytizing Bad for the Jews? - Jews for Jesus (Ruth Rosen)