Karen Armstrong, a former nun and the author of a number of popular books on world religions, recently castigated the Pope in the Guardian, and wrote that "Hatred of Islam is so ubiquitous and so deeply rooted in western culture that it brings together people who are usually at daggers drawn." She also made a number of statements about Islam as a religion of peace.
Many of her respondents disagreed with her grasp of history, and said they judged violent Islamists not by ancient prejudices but by the two most obvious things about them – they were Muslim and they were violent. Numerous others – this is the longest published thread I have encountered online – offered their opinions on great sweeps of history and Islamic, Christian, and Jewish scriptures, and were, in turn, "corrected" by others.
Amazing, sez I to myself, as I ran down the thread. There are defenders of reason and freedom and the Enlightenment here; there are defenders of the Pope, Islam, the 12th Mahdi, and even atheism; and there are many who attack Islam and Christianity, but unless I have overlooked a post, there is not one person who is aware or at all grateful for the particular contributions of Christianity and Christians to freedom and civilization.
Humbly I realized that before we researched the Liberty Timeline I was just as unaware.
The Brits who fought so hard for habeas corpus, the right to a jury trial, the idea that no one, not even a king, was above the law were Christians, and sustained by Judeo-Christian thinking. They endured flogging on the streets of London and death on the battlefield and burning at the stake to advance and protect the right to just laws and representative government and freedom of conscience.
Discovering their stories, I felt as if I had removed a blindfold, and was standing in sunlight.