Clay Christensen on Religious Freedom



some time ago I had a conversation with a Marxist economist from China he was coming to the end of a Fulbright fellowship here in Boston I've asked him if he had learned anything that was surprising or unexpected and without any hesitation he said yeah I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy the reason why democracy works he said is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does but rather democracy works because most people most of the time voluntarily choose to obey the law and in her past most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week and they were taught there by people who they respected my friend went on to say that Americans follow these rules because they had come to believe that they weren't just accountable to society they were accountable to God my Chinese friend heightened evade that nagging concern I've harbored inside that his religion loses its influence over the lives of Americans what will happen to our democracy where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they too need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws because if you take away religion you can't hire enough police you