In his April 14 letter, “Social justice here and now” (a response to my April 4 letter, “Where does human respect live?“), Thomas Clark proves my point. Unable to refute what I actually said — that there is a correlation between human rights and the secularity of society — he goes off somewhere else and rebuts a letter I never wrote.
Nowhere did I say that human rights were “invented in Stockholm yesterday.”
Clark mentions Mother Teresa. It’s true that she did great work with the poor — albeit as a charity working to change the structure of a society that creates poverty in the first place — but she also denied women access to abortions and birth control.
Jesuits in South America might have worked to end slavery, but that doesn’t change the fact that the entire continent was “granted” to Spain and Portugal to divide between them by the pope.
Social progress in Europe came as a result of centuries of struggle against the church, which nearly always supported the old order. The Christianity of today — with its social activist wing and its benign, absent-minded vicars — is a compromise forced by the sustained onslaught of more rational and progressive forces.
Christians claim credit for things that [their forebears] fought against tooth and nail. With nonreligious thought still largely excluded from schools, large numbers of people end up believing barefaced lies.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.