Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saudi money

A small proposal. Why would it be a bad idea to enact a legislative ban on money from abroad to charitable institutions, including universities, think tanks, or on money to engage in lobbying by for profit institutions on K Street, that comes from countries, or from persons or entities in such countries, that engage in systematic religious discrimination as determined in State Department reports? What exactly is the interest in allowing a fantastically wealthy country like Saudi Arabia to buy itself a whole religious following, measured in everything from mosques to endowed university chairs, for the most viciously anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Western form of Islam in the world, while, among other things, criminalizing Christianity within Saudi Arabia? The marketplace of ideas is not what this is about, as demonstrated by its utter lack of reciprocity. It seems to me a perfectly neutral principle on which to exclude foreign money which is creating vast damage in the United States.


Nathan Wagner said...

US-based religious missions organizations and relief groups give a great deal of money and personnel support to churches abroad. To the degree that the US is seen as propagating Christianity, the action you propose, though truly legally neutral, might occasion a response by other nations which are at least partially religiously free of simply barring US-based missions and relief organizations from entry.

If this is a real risk - and I don't have enough of a sense of the global attitudes to US-based missions to know whether it is - there would be a good deal of outcry from US churches, missions organizations, and religiously-based relief groups.

On the other hand, if it functions as an effective lever for religious freedom abroad, they would welcome it.

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