EU secularism contra 'Christian extremism'
As Qoheleth observed, there is nothing new under the sun. Or, indeed, under the aggressive intolerance of the secular-humanist crusade for control of the European Union. Only four years ago, the Roman Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, Cardinal Séan Brady referred to ‘EU hostility to religion', noting that 'a succession of anti-family, anti-life and other anti-Christian decisions by Brussels has made it more difficult for committed Christians to maintain their instinctive support for Europe’, and he urged the EU ‘to review its pragmatic attitude that compromises essential human, moral and social values’.
The Cardinal criticised the EU for ‘promoting secularism at the expense of the Christian heritage of the vast majority of its member states’, and he warned that further progress along these lines will have ‘inevitable political and social consequences’. He called for the EU ‘to review its prevailing pragmatism that results in Christians being denied the right to intervene in public debates, or at least having their contribution dismissed as an attempt to protect unjustified privileges, such as the right to employ supporters of the Christian ethos of institutions like schools’. He said the same might be said of controversies over stem cell research, the status of same sex unions, the primacy of the family based on marriage, and the culture of life.
Dr Brady also warned that the founding ideals of the EU could not succeed unless public debate reconsidered more strongly our traditional moral values.
Clearly, such concerns go largely unheeded. Despite almost 2000 of a Europe built upon Christian notions of society, justice and general jurisprudence, history appears to be repeating itself in yet another church-state clash.
reported that Dr Tonio Borg, currently Malta’s Foreign Minister, is being considered for the post of European Commissioner. He is by all accounts highly qualified for the role, 'with academic qualifications in administrative and human rights law, and decades of experience in his country’s Justice and Home Affairs Ministries'. But there's a problem: Dr Borg is Roman Catholic.
And so the hordes of self-righteous secularists are mobilising to oppose his nomination, not because he engaged in fraud, corruption or nepotism. But because he adheres to his church's teaching on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and divorce. Such views, it is posited, are antithetical to 'European values’.
It is a curious understanding of human rights and 'European values' which seeks to deny to the individual the right to hold a particular view on matters of sexual ethics or reproduction. Dr Borg is being subject to a coordinated campaign in exactly the same way as Commissioner-designate Rocco Buttiglione was back in 2004 - his 'sexist' and 'homophobic' views (ie adherence to orthodox Christian teaching) rendered him unsuitable in the eyes of the European Parliament to be an EU Commissioner, and so he was hounded out of an office he was never permitted to hold.
The European Parliament has a quasi-veto on all new Commissioners, and MEPs are being bombarded with letters, emails and tweets from supporters of the European Humanist Federation, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the International Lesbian and Gay Association, who all oppose Dr Borg's appointment - for no other reason than his ‘extremist values’ (ie his faith). It is even more alarming that these lobby groups are funded by the European Commission itself (the ILGA reportedly receives 70 per cent of its annual budget from EU funds).
It appears that any expression - no matter how moderate or reasonable - which conflicts with the dogmatic intolerance of these lobby groups, constitutes ‘extremism’. This is neither liberal nor enlightened. There is in this secular agenda no respect for human dignity or solidarity, for it repudiates utterly all understanding of the human conscience informed by Christian theology and church tradition.
Radical secularists are seeking to inculcate the view that European values are not Christian values, or that Christian values are antithetical to and incompatible with European values. To be 'truly European’ one must hold to the Enlightenment ideal, and since Christianity belongs to the Dark Ages, there can be no place for the Pope's mouthpiece in the European Commission.
And so we arrive at a Test Act: the wheel has come full circle; there is nothing new under the sun. The Christian moral social contract which existed (at least through the lens of ‘Christendom’) is being replaced by a new liberal moral uniformity which is intolerant of the dissident and unorthodox. It seeks to impose itself in order to create social cohesion and control, under the guise of enlightenment and human rights. While the guiding principles of liberalism are respect for and tolerance of the ‘other’, secular-humanism is itself increasingly being seen to be disrespectful and intolerant of the illiberal. This is actually antithetical to ‘European values’. When we cease to tolerate benign dissent, we cease to act in accordance with the European ideal: indeed, we cease to be European.
Whatever the Charter of Fundamental Rights may say ('...respecting the diversity of the cultures and traditions of the peoples of Europe'), there is no space for Europe’s 'spiritual and moral heritage' in the arrogant secular-humanist worldview. Yes, there must be religious liberty, and freedom of thought and expression. But not for those who are appointed to public office, and certainly not if it breathes a word in defence of the unborn, traditional marriage or the family.
It is ironic that those who so frequently complain about unjust discrimination and marginalisation often show themselves to be more vicious, intolerant and hateful towards those who are 'different' (ie Christians, who happen also to constitute the majority). It is perfectly possible for individuals to hold political, public or legislative office within EU institutions while professing a public commitment to the Christian faith. Indeed, liberal democracy is founded upon such principles. One must hope that MEPs understand this point, and pray that they don't crucify Tonio Borg as they did Rocco Buttiglione.