There is a worrying trend: the erosion of democratic values in a number of supposedly secular countries around the world.
In the United States, Christian Nationalists are in the throes of ecstatic rapture at the recent nomination of a Catholic zealot, Amy Coney Barrett, for the Supreme Court. Evangelical Christians are salivating at the prospect of dragging America back to its fictional Christian roots. Freedom from Religion Foundation executive, Andrew Seidel, discusses this in The Founding Myth.
In India, a religiously diverse country with secularism enshrined in its Constitution, has seen a disturbing swerve towards Hindu nationalism under the ruling BJP party.
Israel, a bastion of democracy in a sea of authoritarian Middle East regimes, has seen an ever-increasing drift towards authoritarianism recently. Netanyahu, desperate to retain power amid a string of corruption charges, is using the Covid-19 pandemic to restrict protests. Washington Post contributor, Maira Zonszein, notes in a recent article about Netanyahu that: ‘He’s finally gotten desperate enough to deploy tactics Israel routinely uses against Palestinians on its Jewish citizens, too.’
Freedoms are not given, they are won by people who have given their lives to achieve them: ‘Freedom Is Not Free.’ We who have the privilege of living in free societies, and many of our members do not, need to stay on our guard and protect these hard-won rights and resist those who would gladly see these freedoms taken away. We risk losing these democratic freedoms by letting those who enthusiastically support authoritarian leaders or laws and policies based on religous beliefs go unchallenged. We risk encountering what was so aptly captured in that famous line in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith:
So this is how liberty dies. With Thunderous applause.