Earl A. Pope
It is readily apparent that the whole concept of proselytism is in need of much greater study and objective analysis than it has received. The majority churches in Eastern Europe make many charges of proselytism, and ecumenical agencies frequently agree with them. The question remains, however, as to who will have the courage to tell the majority churches with all their political and social power that they also engage in forms of proselytism by claiming to possess the absolute truth and demeaning other perspectives, by creating and communicating caricatures of other religious communities or demonizing them, by demanding restrictions on the religious freedom of other groups because of their love of power, by instilling false fears regarding the subversion of the nation that they maintain they alone can defend against, and by encouraging discriminatory actions or even outright violence against those who would challenge their religious monopoly.
Earl A. Pope is professor emeritus at Lafayette College, Easton, PA.
Excerpt reprinted with permission from Earl Pope, "Ecumenism, Religious Freedom, and the 'National Church' Controversy in Romania," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 36 (Winter-Spring 1999).
Written permission is required for reprinting or electronic distribution of any portion of the East-West Church & Ministry Report.
© 2000 East-West Church and Ministry Report