Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput dedicates his column this week to a description of the Battle of Lepanto leading into an exhortation to remain vigilant in defending religious freedom. It’s a great read and you should see the whole thing, but I’d like to pull out one salient point for our atheist-chic age (my emphases):
Lepanto can’t be reduced to a clash of commercial interests. It was clearly a contest of beliefs; of very different ideas about God, the human person and the meaning of human society. For the Ottoman Turks, conquests in Europe were an expression of Islamic jihad. Conquered peoples were pressed to convert. If they didn’t, they paid a heavy price in discrimination or outright persecution. As for the Holy League, the name speaks for itself. Modern secular, post-national thinkers may look back dismissively on the religious struggles for the identity of Western civilization, but the free ground they stand on was won with the blood of Christian believers. The history of Europe, and therefore of our own nation, could easily have been very different. It wasn’t. Lepanto is one of the reasons.