PETTY PONDERING - Europe’s Stir Up Mirrors Our Own-Part Two

(07/11/2005)

By Teresa Starcher

dagwood2us@yahoo.com

In keeping with the negative response to the referendum set before the people by the EU, it seemed their second most objection, to the EU policies was the the membership of Turkey to the EU.

Delving further into their reasoning I not only gained clearer understanding by way of letters written by individual residents but also by articles and commentaries in major publications. Now, you may question why a nobody like me should even give one thought as to what is happening in a country so far removed from our own. My simple one word reply would have to be, HISTORY.

The major factor of this word is that it always repeats itself and another facet of it is that, to our own peril, we learn seemingly nothing by it.

Do you recall reading about Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Pain in your elementary school history books? Were you taught the consequences of their relationship with France?

Without proceeding into a history lesson, let it suffice to say that while these same individuals with the very same belief system sparked a flame in this country that gave birth to a great nation, in France they fueled a bloody revolution of chaos that set the stage for the rise of Bonaparte.

What were the missing ingredients?

What was the primary complaint of the common people during this time in history? What was the religious climate of France as opposed to our own?

I would like to share some more letters from BBC News to better survey today’s opposing viewpoints.

A Frenchman wrote that although he had hopes that the referendum would pass with a yes vote, he feared and predicted that it would not for his letter reads in part “the basic French social/economic model is no longer sustainable, but rather than accept responsibility, the French people blame “liberalism”…The extreme right has raised the specter of “an Islamic invasion”.

While this letter from the UK declares, “The inclusion of a nation where the majority of people worship Islam would show that Europeans are inclusive at a time when “The West” is seen as dismissive of all things Islamic and non-Christian. Also, it is arrogance to say that Europe is Christian when we already have such a diverse array of faiths practiced within the EU, of which most of us are tolerant.”

I particularly enjoyed this response of a man from the UK concerning Turkey being added to the EU. ”Why not, practically everyone else has or will eventually!

One world government here we come.” These deductions may not be far from the mark. According to the May 30th addition of U.S. News & World Report in an article written by Jay Tolson entitled European, Not Christian which states that “ Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, fought hard but unsuccessfully for mention of Christianity in the EU constitution…a mountain of anecdotal evidence suggests that an aggressive form of secularism-what the British religion writer Karen Armstrong calls secular fundamentalism-is afoot in Europe.

Numerous analysts suggest that the spreading “Christianophobia” is tied to a Europe-wide spiritual malaise that is pushing the Continent toward broad cultural and economic decline.” The article continues as Mr. Tolson sites the work of George Weigel, a theologian and senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. In his new book, The Cube and the Cathedral, Weigel makes the case that Europe’s problem “is also ours,”…In Weigel’s view, American high culture is vulnerable to the same kind of spiritual and philosophical amnesia that he believes has afflicted Europe.

The culprit, in his telling, is the atheistic humanism that took shape in the 19th century. Whether in the form of Auguste Comte’s positivism or Karl Marx’s materialism, it attempted “to exclude transcendent reference points from cultural, social, and political life.” In specific, it reversed the view that the Hebrew and Christian God was the source of human freedom and dignity and proposed that this God was the obstacle to both.

Mr. Tolson also points out what he calls another changing demographic character of the Continent. “With Europe’s native –born labor force declining since WW II, the need for more workers helped boost the Muslim population from about 1 million in 1945 to about 18 million today. By now it is clear that many of the guest workers have come to stay- and the addition of Turkey to the EU would bring about 62 million more Muslims into the European fold.

Islam scholar Bernard Lewis is not alone in saying that Europe will be Islamic by the end of the 21st century “at the latest.” To many who think that Europe is more a cultural than a geographic entity, this would alter the very core of European identity.”

So with this it is easy to see why so many voted against the EU constitution as I recounted in part one of this column and it appears as though their concerns were well founded. Mr Tolson also aptly concluded his article with Cardinal Martino asking “Those Roman emperors who wanted to get rid of us, where are they today? And Napoleon, he didn’t like us either. And where is Napoleon today?”

To this, I must add the portentous poser, where will we be tomorrow?


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