RFI Executive Vice President Eric Patterson authored an article published today in WORLD Opinions titled, “A culture war brings violence to Latin America” in which he laments how a year of attacks in the region mars International Religious Freedom Day. Patterson writes:
October 27 is International Religious Freedom Day, commemorating more than two decades of U.S. government advocacy for global religious freedom under the bipartisan 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. But religious speech and action are increasingly under assault, not just in far off China or certain Middle Eastern countries, but right here in the Western Hemisphere. This day gives us an opportunity to reflect on what is happening, why it is happening, and what is to be done.
Latin America has become a dangerous place for people of religious conviction who stand against corruption and, surprisingly, for social witness against evils like abortion. Part of this is due to the return of radical leftist dictatorial regimes. The two worst cases in the past half century were Fidel Castro in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Both of these Latin American dictators were decidedly anti-Christian.
Ideologically, they were secular, anti-religious, self-styled Latin-Marxists who not only dismissed religion outright but thought religion to blame for poverty and oppression throughout Latin America. Of course, their own governments offered the worst track records for brutality, corruption, and outright theft of private property. This model of corrupt socialist authoritarianism was followed in the past decade by Brazil’s Lula da Silva, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, the thuggish Ortega brothers in Nicaragua, and others.
Read the full article: “A culture war brings violence to Latin America.”