Government Honors Religion Best by Protecting Religious Liberty

Considering ongoing debates over the future of political conservativism in the U.S. in their more elevated form, Peter Berkowitz chastises those who have called for “public life” to be “rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honored by the state and other institutions both public and private.” Such a vision, Berkowitz contends, would abandon America’s own venerable traditions of liberty:

In a much smaller and substantially less diverse country, America’s founders recognized religion’s moral and political significance but rejected its nationalization. They understood that amid diverse Protestant denominations, government support of Christianity would cause bitter divisions within the nation, especially among Christians, by favoring one contested interpretation of their faith. America’s founders knew, moreover, that officeholders lacked expertise in religion, and the disposition and skill to honor it. And they believed that responsibility—limited by basic rights and fundamental freedoms—for fostering piety and cultivating the moral virtues primarily belonged to individuals, communities, and religious authorities.

Even more so in today’s vastly larger and more diverse America: government honors religion best by vigorously protecting religious liberty.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Conservatism, Religious liberty, U.S. Constitution

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security