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Religious freedom expert Dr. Paul Marshall visits Campbellsville University

Oct. 7, 2014
For Immediate Release

By Terry Harris, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Dr. Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and author of more than 20 books that are translated into over a dozen different languages, spoke at Campbellsville University’s Kentucky Heartland Institute on Public Policy (KHIPP) forum and chapel service this past week.

The KHIPP forum was held Sept. 30 in the Banquet Hall of the Badgett Academic Support Center. Chapel was held Oct. 1 inside Ransdell Chapel.

Dr. Paul Marshall speaks at Campbellsville University at chapel. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel DeCoursey)
Dr. Paul Marshall speaks at Campbellsville University at chapel. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel DeCoursey)

Marshall discussed religious freedom, blasphemy and free speech. His KHIPP speech was about how freedom is threatened by new restrictions on blasphemy and criticizing Islam.

Blasphemy is the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things, and in places such as the Middle East, it can cost someone their life.

“In the Middle East crimes such as blasphemy can get you thrown in jail or maybe even killed,” Marshall said.
Accusations of blasphemy are usually vague, such as: “creating confusion among Muslims,” “friendship with the enemies of god” and “imitating Christians,” he said. All of these accusations are enough to land someone in jail for an unset period of time, he said.

“Islamic politicians are often the cause of these accusations by manipulating the public. The real threat actually comes from the mobs, vigilantes and terrorists. For 35 years, none of the people who have been charged were executed, but still end up dead due to mobs. If you insult the Quran or Mohammed, there is a real chance you could end up dead,” Marshall said.

The real victims are people like Apostates, who are converters or non-believers of the traditional Islamic faith, Williams said. The Sunni, Shia and Sufi factions can get themselves into trouble based on where they are, by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time he said.

“People who follow the Baha’i faith are not even considered citizens of Iran, making it completely okay for people to do whatever they want to them without there being any legal consequence,” Marshall said.

Marshall gave countless examples of real life people who were either forced to resign, imprisoned, or had no choice but to go into hiding after being accused of blasphemy. In places such as Iran, there actually is religious freedom as long as you don’t insult Mohammed, The Quran, and believe exactly what they do.

“Even all the way in America there are still problems,” he said. “The common excuse for self-censoring is that they’re being ‘sensitive’ to other religions, but the truth is that even in America people live in fear. For example, there have been several occasions where the creators of the popular T.V. show South Park were almost assassinated because of jokes containing either Mohammed or The Quran,” Marshall said.

Marshall spoke again at chapel on Wednesday where he destroyed some stereotypes about the church.
“Most people assume that the church mainly contains old white or western men,” he said.

The truth is that 65 percent of nominal Christians live outside the west and 80 percent of active Christians do as well. Of the world’s 10 largest Christian communities, only two of them are western. There are Christians in every part of the world – not just Europe and North America.

Marshall talked about how the church is facing violent persecution in 35 countries. He believes there will always be persecution, just like there will always be terrorism, but there are ways to reduce it.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is