I know my readers are not foreign policy wonks but here’s something they might want to ponder:
This week’s Economist reports that although Syria is a secular country where all religions are welcome, the government has been telling foreigners serving Protestant churches it will not renew their visas. The reason? The churches have been proselytizing.
Reading Jeff Sharlet’s book C Street I would bet anything this isn’t so much about religion as it is about politics: Members of (sic) The Family as the politicians who frequent the Washington house on C Street call themselves, travel a great deal at government expense to foreign countries for the purpose of influencing leaders to ‘accept Jesus without denying Mohamed'.
This is a really kooky idea, but it’s for real. The Ugandan government recently passed a draconian law against homosexuals, who now risk prison and even death as repeat ‘offenders’. If you wonder why American legislators should be fingered, and don’t have time to read the book, read Sharlet’s article Junkets for Jesus in the November/December issue of Mother Jones.
Then if you hear about Syria’s ‘crackdown’, you’ll know that it’s because some governments are less willing than others to have their policies come under the influence of Protestant fundamentalists.