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This blogspot was started by the participants of the 5th International Summer School of ECPYN in Chisinau, Moldova, August 24-29 2008.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Christianity in Decline? (part 2)

In this article I want to talk about the role and situation of Christianity in Europe and North America. I was inspired by Hungarian journalist Gergely Szilvay’s articles and the 5 year report on Christianophobia in Europe, published by OIDCE (Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe).

“485 cemeteries or places of worship were damaged between January 1st and September 30th, 2010. 410 were Christian sites, 40 Muslim sites and 35 Jewish sites.” former French minister Brice Hortefeux, November 2010.

This means that the majority’s symbols are the target of anti-religious or more exactly anti-christian attacks. This is strange for those who know that Catholicism has been the official religion of France for over 1200 years and more than half of the French are still Catholic, but we have to know that in France and in most of Europe, practicing Catholics became a minority.

But we may wonder how can the silent majority be discriminated or perhaps persecuted in extreme cases? Unfortunately the phenomenon exists, just think about women who have always been more in number than men and they are discriminated until today in workplaces, even in Western Europe and North America, blacks have always been a majority in South Africa and they were discriminated for decades under the Apartheid rule.

Anti-clerical movements have always existed in Europe and have strong traditions in many societies, but the events of May 1968 were the milestone of the current situation. In May 1968 thousands of students protested against Charles de Gaulle's government and against the whole society's status quo for a "better world". They rioted in the streets, blocked the entries to universities, their leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit pissed on the wall of the Sorbonne, they also burnt the entrance of the Paris Stock Exchange.

This better world meant more freedoms in education, healthcare (legalization of abortion and euthanasia), further steps in separation of State and Church, more freedom in everyday life (behavior between children and parents, teachers and students), sexuality (pre-marital sex), society and public issues (no compulsory military service, no death penalty), less inequalities, protection of minorities, protection of fauna and flora and "World Peace".

The separation of State and Church is becoming recently separation of Church and Society, the word Church is more understood as “Clergy”. And the new waves of youth politics, the “Pirates” are also harsh supporters of further separation of State and Church.

It is interesting that, as a continent, Europe is the first Christian continent then come the Americas, but since the 1960s the role of Christian religion, Christian churches is weakening and not only because of being old-fashioned but also because of verbal and physical attacks against them. We are living the age of the “dictatorship” of Political Correctness. How could that be?

There are lots of methods related to this issue. Please see below many examples:

-EU officials proposed to delete the Christian holidays from Christian calendars.

-Extreme-left anarchist group called for burning of churches in Germany, they were later acquitted

-Protesters against a blasphemous theatre were arrested by police in France

-Local council organizes an exhibition in which Christian personalities are sodomized

-Event related to Christian religion is mocked on TV

-Masses disrupted by sexual minority activists

-Religious (incl. Christian) symbols banned in schools because of immigrants

-Religious sites hacked

-LGBT march mocking Christians

-Ban of wearing crosses at workplace and subsequent firing of Christian workers

-Public personalities or even Members of Parliament threatened with death for backing traditional marriage

-Silence over discrimination of Christians in Europe and other parts of the world

-Forcing politically correct measures on religious schools

After checking many of the 620 cases collected, it seemed for me after a while that the process/phenomenon is systematic and somebody is behind it. Well, according to OIDCE there are 3 groups behind the acts: radical LGBT organizations, radical feminists and radical secularists. And from a scientific point of view, the OIDCE 2011 report makes the following subdivisions in the discriminatory cases:

I- Discriminative cases

-Freedom of religion (19)

-Freedom of Speech (12)

-Freedom of Conscience (12)

-Anti-Christian acts inspired by the discriminatory laws based on equality (10)

II- Intolerance

-Forcing out of public life (14)

-Acts against religious symbols (19)

-Defamation (18)

III- Acts inspired by hate

A parliamentary report indicated in the UK that the state is failing to protect Christians’ rights whether it is about majority’s rights at work or other issue and lots of specialists concluded the Christians are not making their voice heard. BBC general-director Mark Thompson has claimed Christianity is treated with far less sensitivity than other religions because it is pretty broad shouldered.

The real problem is the passivity of Christians in public life and the smaller self-confidence in talking about Christian faith and identity partly because of fear of attacks and partly because of the successful negative campaign against the Church (pedophilia, Vatican’s dark issues, rape of minors in religious schools etc.) and against people and institutions related to traditions and old aristocratic/national/Christian elites.

Mainstream media and contemporary arts attack these the most. The "traditional" churches (Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist) are weakened and new religions are expanding in the societies (neo-protestants, born again christians, islam, buddhism) which is a concern as religion is a part of the personal and national identity and most people are not aware of this.

We can see that the generation of May 1968 succeeded in their imagination, a lot of these claims were applied but the effects, combined with other factors, are catastrophic:

Europe has the most ageing (Germany, Switzerland) and the lowest fertility rates (Czech Republic, Bulgaria) populations in the world. Tens of millions of abortions were executed, number of population is diminishing even with immigration, more and more children are born without marriage of their parents (Hungary, France), and most of the marriages end with divorce (63% in Sweden).

A hedonistic society based on consumption is in place in most urban areas in Europe and a very large proportion of households and individuals are suffering from debts, consumption has been higher than revenues for a long time, governments didn’t prevent the economic crisis we are experiencing now.

Our mission as young Christian-democrats is to make our voice heard in major topics that are related to people’s everyday life. We have to communicate the advantages of traditions, traditional family, society, family businesses etc.

The people have to know the importance of religion and historic Clergy, even those who are not practicing Christians have the right to know what religion really means.

Freedoms in our understanding do not mean political correctness.

States in the West are failing to protect Christians’ rights because they are under the pressure of tiny but well-organized secularist and minority groups and it is our task to make the voice of the silent, “invisible” majority heard.

“Do the good and talk about it”, we have to show example for the society and form lobby groups in favor of those “afraid” to express their point of view.

It will be a long battle but it will be worth it.

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