Rome, Italy, Jul 4, 2012 / 04:05 am (CNA).- The head of Italy's new religious liberty watchdog group warned that present threats of “discriminatory legislation” in the U.S. could eventually result in violence against Christians in America.
“In a climate of discrimination, it is possible that somebody will act upon that discrimination to say ‘the laws are not enough’ and resort to actual violence and this is the realms of hate crimes,” Professor Massimo Introvigne told CNA June 28.
Introvigne was appointed as chairman of the newly created Observatory on Religious Liberty in June. The group is the joint-creation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the City of Rome with the aim of monitoring religious freedom around the world.
The inaugural meeting was held at Rome’s Foreign Press Association June 28. It heard Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore make the case that religious liberty in the United States is currently imperiled by the prevailing culture as well as by legislation such as the recent Department of Health & Human Services mandate.
Introvigne stressed that he did not want to create a “false impression” that he was equating “the bloody persecution of Christians” as presently occurs in some African and Asian countries with “discriminatory legislation in the United States or Europe.”
However, the 57-year-old sociologist suggested that there was a “three stage process” which could lead to anti-Christian violence in the West if action to protect religious liberty was not taken.
“It starts with intolerance which is a cultural phenomenon,” he explained “and then if intolerance becomes so widespread and popular, some politicians will act upon it and introduce discriminatory legislation.”
It is in this “climate of discrimination,” he said, that people can decide to take the law into their own hands and use violence to further suppress Christianity.