Christians, Catholics and the Uncomfortable Debate About Islam: News, Switzerland
Is religion in general at the root of recent anti-Muslim feeling in the West? Columnist Patrik Etschmayer of Switzerland’s News writes that the West must defend its hard-fought freedom – not with Judeo-Christian values, which are just as responsible for wrongdoing as Islam – but with the values of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, during which Westerners had to fight tooth and nail against the Catholic Church to achieve the freedoms most people in the West now take for granted.
For News, Patrik Etschmayer writes in part:
The present difficulty that Europe and the West have with Islam is a reality. But it isn’t a Christian-Jewish problem, as German President Wulff suggested, but rather one of an enlightened and secular Europe. Judeo-Christian Europe, which existed for centuries, was a virulently anti-Semitic continent that over and again used the mini pogrom as a method of debt relief and the provision of new areas for settlement – most recently in the concentration camps of the Third Reich.
It is at this moment that Hitler-youth Ratzinger babbles that this was the act of an atheist regime. Well … sure, Hitler and his cabal were not in fact part of the church; but nearly every bishop – whether Catholic or Reformed – blessed German arms and felt no inhibitions about standing at Hitler’s side. And presumably – how atheist was a regime that had “God Be With Us” engraved on its belt buckles?
Therefore, this time very loud and clear: we live in an enlightened, secular and tolerant Europe. The important things that define our daily lives (and some of which, unfortunately, still aren’t completely in place) like democracy, free speech, religious freedom, equal rights for men and women, Gay rights, equal justice for all, separation of powers, accountability (for government officials as well), compulsory education, and a person’s right to their own integrity and dignity are all things that have been hard-fought AGAINST the opposition of church and religion. The Enlightenment, perhaps one of the most godless eras, gave us more freedom than the previous 1,500 years of Christianity.
If enlightened Europe is to avoid again becoming a place of religiously-motivated sectarian slaughter (does anyone desire a new Thirty-Years’ War?), it’s high time for us to defend the values of the Enlightenment – and indeed to the smallest detail!
It is also imperative to combat discrimination against foreigners. There is almost no better way to rush someone into radicalism than social exclusion.
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