De-Christianizing the West in order to save it?
yet another conservative, who, in order to defend the West from Islam, defines the historical, Christian West out of existence. Writing at FrontPage Magazine
, Robert Spencer
recounts the brutal murder yesterday of Dutch filmmaker (and great grandson of his famous namesake) Theo van Gogh by a Moslem fanatic who on an Amsterdam street shot van Gogh several times, stabbed him repeatedly, slit his throat with a butcher knife, and left a note containing verses from the Koran on the body.
After the murder, the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende astonishingly said that “nothing is known about the motive” of the killer, even though van Gogh had been under death threats for making a film criticizing the Moslem treatment of women.
Spencer rightly criticizes the horrifying taboo, practiced by the Dutch Prime Minister (or should we call him the Dutch Eloi-in-Chief?), against noticing any negative facts about Islam and Moslems. But the way Spencer frames the issue is alarming:
[I]t is still largely taboo in Europe—as in America—to raise any questions about how ready that population is to accept the parameters of secularism…
The deaths of [Pim] Fortuyn and now van Gogh indicate that the costs of maintaining this taboo are growing ever higher. One of the prerequisites of the hard-won peaceful coexistence of ideologies in a secular society is freedom of speech—particularly the freedom to question, to dissent, even to ridicule. Multiculturalism and secularism are on a collision course: if one group is able to demand that its tenets remain above criticism, it no longer coexists with the others as an equal, but has embarked on the path to hegemony. [Emphases added.]
Notice the way Spencer simply takes it for granted that our society—European and American society—is “secular.” While I can’t speak for Europe, the reality is that America was never publicly called a secular society until the last decade. This business of “we are a secular society” is very
recent, and rather shocking, sort of like saying, “We have always been a multicultural society,” or “We have always been a gay-friendly society.” In truth, it was always understood, even by people who themselves were secular and even hostile to religion, that America sees itself as a nation under God. Public discourse in this country routinely deferred to religion or at least did not openly disrespect it. We did not have an official religion, of course, but religion, namely Christianity plus the minority religion of Judaism, was understood to be part of the essential character of our nation and our guiding light. Our main public rituals, such as the swearing in of the president, were performed under the auspices of the Bible, and made references to God. Both houses of Congress had and still have chaplains who deliver daily homilies to the respective chambers. The description, “America is a secular society,” never
appeared in mainstream journalism prior to the 1990s and would have been considered an offense if it had. But now we’ve gone so far that a conservative writing at a conservative publication simply assumes that the essence of America is secularism. What then happens to our religious character? It is impossible to maintain both that America is a nation under God and that America is a secular society. These are mutually exclusive propositions.
Spencer means well. His purpose is not to attack American religion and culture but to erect a bulwark against Islam. But, like most anti-Moslem “conservatives” today, he does this by envisioning our society in strictly liberal terms, that is, as having no cultural or religious character of its own, as practicing tolerance toward all groups and beliefs. He then uses that standard of liberal tolerance to criticize Moslems who refuse to conform to it.
What Spencer doesn’t grasp is that it was secular liberalism and its rejection of the West’s historical Christian substance that led us to open our borders to non-Western cultures and to admit all those millions of Moslems in the first place. Does he imagine for a second that Westerners would have ever permitted that mass influx of Moslems if the West had still thought of itself as Christian? But Spencer, instead of seeking to undo the error that led us into this quagmire, wants to proceed further in the same direction. In response to the crisis created by the Moslem presence in the West, which was brought about by secular liberalism, Spencer wants to secularize the West even more.
Spencer has it exactly wrong. If we want our society to have the strength to resist Islam, then we must rediscover and restore our own historical and spiritual roots as a distinct people and civilization. That includes our religious roots, faith, and character. Secular liberalism cannot be the answer to a civilizational disaster that was created by secular liberalism.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 03, 2004 01:04 PM | Send
What Western Europe needs now is a traditional conservative, semi-clerical party guided by Judeo-Christian principles and Eurocentrism.
Most Western European countries already have what Mr Girin proposes, and have had them for decades. They haven’t done well in the polls.
What Western Europe needs is many more children from the patriotic, Christian remnant. One bright spot in the collapsing birthrates, though, is the inevitable death of secularism. Even now, the cohort being born has to be significantly more traditional than the whole population, as it is here as well.
Mr. Auster has captured exactly that point which cuts to the heart of the problem as it relates to the reasons for our problem with Islam.
But the evolution of secularism in America cannot undo its effects as they relate to Islam even if it were tossed into the garbage. The concept of “Secularism” is utilized in this case as an ideological weapon against a decidedly more hands on Islamism.
Essentially, had America continued defending its Judeo-Christian identity, rather than rejecting it in favor of liberalism and the multicultural model those millions of Muslims (and others) would not have been allowed into our home in such numbers.
The myth of American secularism, of taking God out of the Pledge of allegiance, removing the Ten Commandments and such constitutes an assault on the core of American Identity.
I think Robert Spencer is fighting the Jihad against Western civilization with the only weapon available in his arsenal and contrasting Western secular societies to Islamic states seems to provide the necessary impact.
For Spencer to frame the issue of Islamism in terms of the endangered traditional American morality would place his argument in direct ideological conflict with Islam. That of course would generate charges of right wing extremism.
Traditional conservatism on the other hand is better suited to directly confront multiculturism; the Trojan horse of the Islamism Spencer is fighting.
I think both movements could benefit from the creation of a coordinated front.
European conservatives, at least the Christian sort, were destroyed in the wake of Germany’s downfall. It’s interesting that many naive Europeans followed the Nazis because they saw this political movement as the only bulwark against the radical secularist societies then being cobbled together and led by communists. Even Churchill – a very Christian man – foe as he was to the Nazis, was a fervent anti-socialist. But the very fabric of European conservatism, at least that portion of it that was overtly religious, went down the tubes with Germany. Churchill and other leaders, including eventually DeGaul, soon followed the extreme right to oblivion. In short, there is no longer a center left in Europe. The number of Europeans who share the same beliefs as traditionally conservative Americans is very small. And whenever they venture to speak out, they are labeled fascists and racists. Europeans have lost faith in the civilization of their forefathers and they have lost faith in religion. They are ripe for conquest. And I believe they are about to get what they deserve.
Mr. Griffin, they may deserve it, but PLEASE don’t wish it on them. Our fate is tied to theirs. Instead, pray and hope for a restoration of the soul of European man. And that means one thing in my opinion: that they rediscover Christ.
You have rather spectacularly misunderstood me, and set up an opposition where none need exist. Your critique here seems to me to strike more at multiculturalism than at secularism, and to suffer from a certain equation of the two on your part. I ask you to think carefully about the meaning of my phrase “multiculturalism and secularism are on a collision course,” which you italicize from my article.
“But like most anti-Moslem “conservatives” today…”
The above description of Spencer sounds similiar to what CAIR labels him as. They use “Islamophobe” or “xenophobe”.
I am against immigration and view Islamic immigration specially dangerous.
Am I then rightly considered an anti-immigrant anti-Muslim “conservative”, which sounds rascist?
How do I defend myself against such charges from the point of veiw as a conservative?
I think Andrew misunderstands the meaning of the phrase: anti-Moslem “conservative”. The point is not to level an accusation of being anti-Moslem; just about everyone on this site is anti-Moslem. That is considered a sign of sanity among non-Moslems. The point of the phrase was to put “conservative” in quotes to indicate that the battle against jihad was not being waged on truly conservative grounds by Mr. Spencer; rather, it was being waged using the assumptions of liberalism.
I understand that point clearely Mr Coleman. But my question was how to defend myself as an anti-Muslim anti-Immigration conservative against the enivetiable charges of rascism and xenophobia.
I take it for granted that we are all anti-Muslim in the sense that they seek hegemony and modification of our society. Hence, I (we) believe it is not in our interests to allow them uncontrolled access to our country.
I am just too tired from not sleeping last night. I lost all ability to spell!!!
One of the most successfull traditionalist parties in Europe is the Vlaams Blok. It made spectacular gains in Flemish Belgium and is the largest party in Antwerpen. What is also interesting about its rise is that Flemish Jews, especially in Antwerpen support the the Vlaams Blok because it is the only force than can stop the Jew-hating Muslim thugs. As a Jew, I wish that such an alliance (Jews and the Far Right) take place in every Western country. Unfortunately, not too many of my fellow Jews agree with me.
Thanks to Mr. Coleman for that useful clarification. However, Andrew’s concern still has validity in that I was mistaken in using the phrase “anti-Moslem.” I would not normally use the phrase “anti-Moslem” to describe myself or my position, since, to my mind, it connotes the idea that one is simply against all Moslems, will oppose them in all circumstances, will always construct any fact about them in the most negative light, will always take the side of non-Moslems against Moslems in any dispute, and so on. It would be like immigration restrictionists calling themselves “anti-immigrant.”
So I should have referred to Mr. Spencer’s position and my own in more precise and descriptive terms rather than using a label. For example, I might have said that, as far as I understand him, he believes—and I agree—that Islam is inherently a threat to our civilization. That describes a proposition that I believe and would be willing to defend anywhere, rather than suggesting that I just have a free-floating animus against one billion human beings.
Also, I’ve had correspondence with Mr. Spencer about my article, and it turns out that his view is not what it appeared to be in the passage from his article that I quoted. He understands that America is supported and undergirded by Christianity and he is not challenging that. He agreed with me that the phrase “secular government” would have been more accurate and less troubling than “secular society.”
Perhaps more on this later.
I didn’t realize that Mr. Spencer had posted his reply to me here. I got it as an e-mail, didn’t realize that it was a VFR e-mail, and simply wrote back to him, and he replied.
I ask this question with a bit of ignorance, so I was hoping my friends here at VFR could put some flesh on this:
Using some shabby deductive reasoning, I assume that a free, liberal, secular societal structure tends to decay character, strength, and religiousness.
I also assume that Muslims in Europe are exposed to this society.
Hence, if MTV, etc. transformed America, why won’t MTV, along with European taste for drugs, sex, booze, you name it, do the same to Islam? Can Islamic children hold out in Holland? Or will they eventually find themselves in a coffee hosue smoking pot with all the other westerners?
I don’t think Muslims will be corrupted by the MTV culture anytime soon. Like Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals, and other similar groups, religious Muslims have segregated themselves from the of the secular Western societies. Personally, none of the Orthodox Jews I know have been corrupted by the MTV culture and all of them are glad not to be in contact with it.
I don’t think Muslims will be corrupted by the MTV culture anytime soon. Like Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals, and other similar groups, religious Muslims have segregated themselves from the of the secular Western societies. None of the Orthodox Jews I know have been corrupted by the MTV culture and all of them are glad not to be in contact with it.
I agree with Mr. Girin’s wishes. There needs to be a reconciliation between Catholics and the Chosen People. Which reminds me, I really must send money to the forsaken Jews in Russia.
To many Muslims there is obviously no concept of secularism. The Quran provides a comprehensive approach to ordering both society and government under Islam, hence our problem assimilating them. Muslims themselves, actually call for “Integration without assimilation”.
The distinction of a secular government as it was administered earlier in our history did not mean the absence of the influence of religion. There was a firm yet innate understanding of the parameters of religion in government and not a total rejection as is the recent example today. The void created by the secularists could be a dangerous avenue of approach for the Islamic influence on many levels.
Muslims could hardly be bothered with our distinctions between secular societies or secular governments, most want neither. However our understanding and willingness to recapture the foundations of our civilization would be key to fostering a conservative revolution in America and heading off the possible mutation of our country along Islamic lines.
While it is good to hear that Mr. Spencer has communicated by email with Mr. Auster and everyone is on the same page, I don’t see any clarification posted at FrontPage. Having read the entire article to get Mr. Spencer’s quotes in context, I have the same objections to the words that Mr. Auster italicized in this blog entry that Mr. Auster had.
Let me take one specific example. “Multiculturalism is on a collision course with secularism.” Here I take it that multiculturalism, in this context, refers to allowing mass immigration of Muslims into the Netherlands, while also proclaiming that their culture is as good as any other culture. I see the problems with this, but I don’t see how they have anything to do with secularism. Things would not be any better in the Netherlands if it combined its current immigration policy with an official declaration that it is a Christian nation, with Christian public expression and even Christian teaching in public schools. Theo van Gogh would still have been killed. What does the secular nature of Dutch government and/or society have to do with it? If there are Muslims there, and they take their own blasphemy laws seriously, one of them will kill him eventually.
I agree that with Mr. Coleman that Spencer needs to do more clarifying. I think I gave him too much in my last comment. The problem is, he satisfied me by saying that the American founding arrangement was based on Christian belief and Christian culture, but he still calls that arrangement secularist. And that’s just not right. Secularist means having no reference or relationship to God. That was never true of America. Also, I retract my phrase “secular government.” Even our government was never strictly secular. Our officials take their oaths of office on the Bible. Our government—not just our society—is under God, and is understood as being under God, even though we have no established religion. I’m going to forward this comment to him and see if he responds.
If you folks would just read a little closer, you would have noticed that Eugene Girin has put forward a radical and potentially epoch changing proposition. It may be a fantasy, but if it worked, it could turn Europe around. Mr. Girin, I never thought a Jew could suggest something like that, and I have the deepest respect for your courage. Now if you can only get the knotheads on the right to drop their silly antisemitism…
I gather Mr. Griffin is referring to Mr. Girin’s comment of November 3 at 6:48 PM that Jews should work together with Christian Western patriots to protect the West from the Moslems. Of course. This is key. I’ve made the same point many times with regard to paleocons and Jews in the U.S., specifically in regard to the Israel issue. Those two groups are hopelessly polarized at present. But if the neocon Jews dropped their double standard (nationhood for Israel, Universal Idea-hood and open borders for America), and if the paleocons dropped their anti-Semitism (which to a certain extent is triggered by that double standard), the two groups could join together on the basis of a single standard of standing both for American national survival and Israeli national survival. At present, the neocons want the second and are indifferent to the first, while the paleocons want the first and are hostile to the second. The paleocons are purely reactive. They see the neocon double standard, and instead of saying, “You neocons should have a single standard and support American nationhood as well as Israeli nationhood,” they say, “Since you don’t support American nationhood, we won’t support Israeli nationhood. Since YOU have a double standard, WE will have a double standard too.” This is the way many paleocons are. They reason like children. They justify some wrongful position or act of their own because, they say, the other side is also doing something wrong. “Mommy, he did it too!”
I think Spencer is thinking in terms of the global jihad, which also involves America. Secular or Atheist governments are harder for Islam to influence and most non-secular governments are Islamic theocracies.
Clark Coleman, I disagree. I think it is a grave mistake not to acknowledge Christianity in the European Union’s constitution because that puts its cultural future up for grabs. Loss of identity is the result and as a conservative, you see the importance of defending our Judeo-Christian heritage here. Our future is dependent upon theirs.
I don’t understand what Mr. Auster means here:
“…if the neocon Jews dropped their double standard (nationhood for Israel…”
Can someone please clarify?
Just for the record, Andrew is not disagreeing with anything I said, although he thinks he is.
I stated that Theo van Gogh would have been murdered regardless of the secularism or lack of secularism of the Dutch government. Andrew is apparently taking my statement that this “wouldn’t make any difference” with respect to the murder of Theo van Gogh as a statement that acknowledging Christianity in Europe would not make any difference in general. I would never make such a statement.
The neocon double standard is that Israel gets to define itself as a nation with an ethnic and religious identity, to the point that it can legally discriminate against non-Jews, in order to preserve itself, but the USA is not allowed to define itself ethnically and/or religiously, and must instead permit itself to be permanently altered by mass immigration of those who don’t share our culture.
Just imagine the following scene. In a Munich beerhall packed with skinheads, an elderly Jewish rabbi steps up to the speaker’s podium. The quiet is overwhelming. “Ladies and gentlemen,” says the rabbi, “I appreciate your letting me speak here today. Obviously, there is much that divides us. And just as obviously, those divisions are about to destroy both of us…”
Just imagine the following scene. In a Munich beerhall packed with skinheads, an elderly Jewish rabbi steps up to the speaker’s podium. The quiet is overwhelming. “Ladies and gentlemen,” says the rabbi, “I appreciate your letting me speak here today. Obviously, there is much that divides us. And just as obviously, those divisions are about to destroy both of us…”
The earthquake would be felt from Mecca to New York.
As for Clark Coleman: I have no intention of publishing a clarification at FP, not because no clarification is necessary in this case (although I’m not convinced that one is), but because if I started rewriting all my articles that were misunderstood or about which people raised questions, I would do nothing else. This may be because of my own failures and limitations as a writer, but it is also because of the fact that I work in a controversial field. My views are misunderstood and misrepresented outrageously on a routine basis, and I do not think it productive to devote my time to answering all these critics. My articles are like the #12 bus: I publish at least one a week, so another one will be along in a moment, and if one cares at all about what I think, ultimately, I hope, any misapprehensions will be corrected in the course of things.
Also, I simply am not a multiculturalist. I have made it quite clear, or tried to, in my book “Islam Unveiled,” that I don’t think the West can defeat the global jihad without recovering its own spiritual and cultural resources. I do think it would be a good thing for the Dutch to remember their Christian heritage, but I don’t think that in itself would have prevented the murder of Theo van Gogh. They need to recognize and deal forthrightly with the fact that Islamic blasphemy laws are obviously valued by many Muslims in Holland, and that this shows that they have admitted a large population into the country with views that are incompatible with its current constitution and its cultural values. They need to acknowledge that even though Holland has largely abandoned Christianity, its secularism is based on principles, such as the equality of rights and dignity of all, that are inexorably Judeo-Christian and derived from Christianity — and that it is dangerously naive to assume that people who do not have Jewish or Christian cultural backgrounds will share these principles (although Hindus and Buddhists also don’t seem to have too much trouble with them).
As for your own remarks, I think we do have a disagreement over wording. I would call the decision not to establish a religion a secularist decision. I do not believe that that means having no reference to or relationship with God, and I do not believe that such was ever true of America until relatively recently. I once did some research that involved delving into the papers of the presidents, and found quite enlightening the heavy and unselfconscious religious references that filled the official remarks of the early presidents — continuing, in fact, into the 20th century. American secularism — using the word as I (no doubt erroneously) understand it, as non-establishment — was likewise founded on principles (as I point out in “Islam Unveiled”) that are inexorably Judeo-Christian, and it is just as dangerous here as it is in Holland to assume that people from Islamic culture will immediately accept principles, such as freedom of conscience, that do not exist in Islam.
It is true that there has been increasing anti-Semitism on the right in recent years. I’ve written about it a lot here at VFR and have had exchanges with anti-Semites of various stripes in which they have exposed themselves. There are some really nasty types out there.
But here we are speaking of regular paleoconservatives, not of virulent anti-Semites. There is some anti-Semitism in the paleoconservative movement, but it is not of the most virulent type, not by a long shot. More often it is anti-Israelism rather than anti-Semitism. Mr. Griffin’s comparison of American paleoconservatives with German Nazis is way off-base.
Mr. Coleman I know what I think, thank you.
I think your broad statement about the Netherlands and Christianity naturally applies to the European Union in its entirety.
“…Theo van Gogh would still have been killed. What does the secular nature of Dutch government and/or society have to do with it?”
The difference between random but increasing acts of Islamic violence and state sanctioned Islamic law implemented.
Anti-Israelism, sometimes referred to as anti-Zionism is more often than not camouflaged anti-Semitism in my experience.
Thanks for the clarification Mr. Coleman. I’m not sure I’d agree with it though. The right of return if implemented would destroy Israel. To view the absorption of millions of descendants of Arabs who never lived one day of their lives in Israel would spell disaster and is not fair. Israel has the right to manage its immigration policies as it sees fit.
I know there are countless permutations of this argument, but calling an issue of Israeli national security a double standard is like calling Israel’s security wall an “Apartheid wall”.
Mr. Spencer’s insistence on describing America’s non-establishment of religion as a “secularist” political arrangement is simply wrong. It is wrong as a matter of historical fact. From the Founding up to very recent years, America never described its own system as “secularist.” Mr. Coleman reminds me that the first session of the United States Congress sent Bibles to the vast Northwest territories to promote Christianity on the frontier. Religion was considered the essence of America, a belief that was heightened in the Cold War, during which America distinguished itself from godless Communism by putting the phrase “One nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. In the 1950s, America was a society of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. People believed in liberal tolerance among these groups. But it was a liberal tolerance among RELIGIOUS groups. The substance of America remained religious and mainly Christian.
I wonder how Mr. Spencer’s defends his insistence on calling such a society and such a political system “secularist,” which, I repeat, it was never called prior to very late 20th century. So where does he get the basis to call it that?
Also, his deference to America’s Christian nature is purely historical, that is, he says our secularism could only have arisen from a Christian culture. That is true, but in effect, he is only bringing in Christianity because it leads to secularism. Secularism remains his standard of the good and his description of America. This is simply wrong.
By “secularism,” I think Mr. Spencer really means liberalism, the idea of a neutral public space where there is a certain degree of tolerance of different views. If Spencer would say “liberal tolerance” instead of “secularism” he would avoid the problem I’m having with him.
You say: “Mr. Coleman reminds me that the first session of the United States Congress sent Bibles to the vast Northwest territories to promote Christianity on the frontier. Religion was considered the essence of America … In the 1950s, America was a society of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. People believed in liberal tolerance among these groups. But it was a liberal tolerance among RELIGIOUS groups. The substance of America remained religious and mainly Christian.”
I meant to allude to exactly that by my reference to the presidential addresses and to the Christian derivation of the principles of Western governments.
It seems to me that you are intent on maintaining what is an ever-diminishing point of disagreement, for it seems to me likely that you and I regard the history and present state of the US in largely the same way.
If you wish to create an opposition between us because of our differing understandings of a word, instead of uniting to face a foe who would target people who hold both of our perspectives (if indeed they differ in any substance), then have at it. But I for my part am going to focus on more pressing matters.
Mr. Spencer doesn’t respond to my direct question about his justification for calling America “secularist,” but instead says that he and I have more important matters to attend to. With all due respect to Mr. Spencer, the description of America as a “secularist” is not a trivial issue. If Mr. Spencer said, “America is and always has been a multiculturalist country,” or if he said, “America is and always has been a sexually liberationist country,” and if I disagreed, that would not a mere disagreement over the meaning of words. It would go to the very essence of the society we say we are defending.
I regret that Mr. Spencer doesn’t regard this issue as worthy of his response.
I think Spencer does. He admits America’s religious roots and agrees with you that America has only recently *become* secularized.
“I would call the decision not to establish a religion a secularist decision. I do not believe that that means having no reference to or relationship with God, and I do not believe that such was ever true of America until relatively recently”.-Robert Spencer
After reading his article and his posts here, I think Mr. Spencer has used a term - secular (and secularism) - that doesn’t correctly describe the traditional America. The non-establishmentarian facet of that America is hard to describe in a single word. To make matters worse, many Europen countries were explicitly establishmentarian until recently. The best word I can think of is pluralism. “Secular” and “secularist” are words used by the anti-religious left in this country to describe their agenda of driving traditional Christianity and Judaism from public life, which puts a negative connotation to the word for most of us here.
In fairness to Mr. Spencer, I think his own position is very close to that of most of us here at VFR - if I read his last two posts correctly. While the article talks of an impending clash between the multiculturalists and secularists, in real life these are the same folks. I’ve not heard a peep from Barry Lynn or Abe Foxman about Muslim classes in public schools. They only attack Christians, and occaisionally Orthodox Jews. The real conflict is between Islam and the West, with its Judeo-Christian tradition of religious pluralism. Unilke Muslims, the Jews and Christians in Holland didn’t put out a contract on the nihilist gadfly Van Gogh.
I think that Mr. Spencer has explained himself well, and I understand that it is not necessary to publish clarifications at FrontPage. On most of the points he has made, I think there is broad agreement here.
I think Mr. Auster has dealt effectively with the significance of the word “secularist”. I think that writers should choose words carefully in order to communicate clearly. If Mr. Spencer wants to insist that this is a mere quibble, that is his right, but it is a strange attitude for a writer.
I still think my original point was not communicated clearly, especially given Andrew’s replies. Let me try again. Multiculturalism and secularism are both detrimental to any society, American or European included. European nations such as Holland would be better off to reject both. However, if Muslims are allowed to enter a society in significant numbers, they will cause conflicts with non-Muslims. It does not matter, in this one respect, that they entered because of liberal multicultural policies that welcome all comers because all cultures are equally to be embraced, etc. If an overtly Christian, conservative, anti-secularist, anti-multiculturalist country were to admit a large number of Muslim refugees from some war zone somewhere, perhaps because they thought this was a good act of Christian charity and did not realize what a mess they were getting themselves into, there would still be events such as the murder of Theo van Gogh. Furthermore, the Muslims would still breed like rabbits until they became a larger and larger percentage of the population, and would eventually achieve hegemony and impose their beliefs on everyone.
Thus, I was trying to cut through the fog in Mr. Spencer’s analysis of the murder in Holland. Reduced to the essentials, it is a conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims, and it occurs everywhere in the world that Muslims in large numbers live with non-Muslims, whether the non-Muslims are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, secularists, conservatives, liberals, multiculturalists, Soviet communists, etc. Therefore, I don’t find it insightful to talk about Muslims coming into conflict with secularism, or with muticulturalism, or to talk about secularism coming into conflict with multiculturalism.
“The difference between random but increasing acts of Islamic violence and state sanctioned Islamic law implemented.” No, the difference would be caused by having 55% Muslims rather than 5% Muslims. It would not be caused by the presence or absence of secularism in the Dutch government. Give me a Holland with 55% Muslims some day, and I will tell you exactly what will happen to the Theo van Goghs, regardless of what their constitution says; and their constitution will be rewritten pretty shortly.
Actually, it won’t even take a 55% Muslim population. Get around 25% where they are a significant minority and they will force changes at the threat of violence.
I largely agree with you on your statements and understanding of Islam as expressed. I also agree that Mr Spencer is by far, largely on the same page as us.
To restate my point, just think of the havoc Muslims can cause to Europe in the absence of any Identity rooted in Christianity. I was thinking that a strategic defensible position against Islam would have been best served by anchoring Europe’s Christian foundation in their constitution.
As far as secularism and such, it sometimes gets very complicated when batting around complex ideas in a compact way on a forum like this.
P.S. What is the exact definition of a “secular society”? I take it to mean freedom of religious conscience. Secular government I understand as no establishment clause. Finally, can atheistic governments such as China’s or the former Soviet Union be defined as a form of secular with no official acknowledgement of God?
Mr. Coleman, I equate the absence of secularism, not the presence the danger to Europe it does make a difference.
But since European secularism is rather healthy at the moment, the danger is in the long term loss of cultural identity which could lead to the weakening of secularism. And considering the relentless assertive nature of Islam, it could lead to the introduction of Islamic influences into government.
I am of course speculating.
“What is the exact definition of a “secular society”? I take it to mean freedom of religious conscience. Secular government I understand as no establishment clause.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. America never had an established religion, but it was not a secular society, it was a largely Protestant Christian society and saw itself as such.
Secular means “this world.” It means the opposite of transcendent or religious. When you say secular, you are EXCLUDING the religious. I looked up secularism just now and here was the first definition I found: “a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations.”
Obviously this does not describe America at any time in its history. America’s non establishment of religion simply meant that no particular denomination would be officially favored or be forced on anyone. But it was assumed that the society itself was religious, and the government recognized and appealed to Christianity in all kinds of ways. Secular liberal/leftists are currently trying to make America into a secularist society, i.e., a society that excludes Christianity from any public presence or expression, and they are using the war on Islamic extremism to advance that evil cause by saying that our enemy is “religious fanaticism,” by which they mean any serious religion, by which they really mean any form of Christianity that is not under the thumb of liberal secularists. My problem with Mr. Spencer is that by calling America “secularist” he is, whether consciously or unconsciously, helping advance the cause of these leftist secularists.
Freedom of religious conscience could also mean freedoom FROM religion.
I always assumed the establishment clause meant that there was no establishment of an official state religion in America, why am I wrong?
And to refer back to Mr. Spencer’s article, when he writes that the challenge is for Europe and America to “accept the parameters of secularism,” he is, whether he realizes it or not, calling on America to accept “a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations.”
In his 1210 post, I think andrew2 may be misconstruing Mr. Coleman’s position, or at least its emphasis. Conservative (whether paleo or traditional) annoyance at the double-standard has less to do with Israel than it does with America. Israel is a Jewish particularist ethno-state, and cannot be otherwise if she is to survive as a Jewish state. Many conservatives (including me) understand this and support Israel’s right to be, and to be Jewish. Most paleo-conservative opposition to Israeli policy stems from opposition to perceived Israeli abuse of Palestinian Arabs and resentment of the Israeli lobby’s power in the United States rather than from any dislike of Jews.
Jewish organizations in the United States fully support (and demand that all Americans and our federal government support) a Jewish ethno-state that effectively relegates non-Jewish Israelis to second-rate citizenship, even if doing so should prove detrimental to American interests. At the same time, and from their beginnings, American Jewish organizations have been the most aggressive proponents of mass immigration to the United States, heedless of the consequences for native Americans. In addition, they have been the most vociferous groups advocating banishing all traces of Christianity from American public life, thereby severing our links to our historic traditions and our origins as a nation. These organizations’ actions, and the causes they support (with great success), have the effect of dissolving traditional American society. They insist that Americans respect Israeli particularism while absolutely refusing to respect American particularism and traditions - especially our Christian traditions. The double-standard is blatant, and breathtaking. One points it out in public, however, at the risk of professional ruin.
By and large, the double-standard is not the doing of Israelis (although, entirely understandably, they take advantage of it), but of Jewish Americans. Conservatives I know want to mount a cultural and religious self-defense of America, not deprive Israel of the right to preserve her Jewish identity. HRS
“I always assumed the establishment clause meant that there was no establishment of an official state religion in America, why am I wrong?” We have to choose our words carefully. There is no established Christian church in America. Based on the religious wars of Europe, the founders wanted to avoid choosing the Church of England, or the Presbyterian Church, or the Puritan church, as the official church. They considered the country to be Christian, but not officially Anglican or Puritan, etc.
Christian but not specifically Anglican or Puritan is a long way from “secularist”. That is the bone of contention with Mr. Spencer’s choice of words.
There is a difference between secularist and secular. My old Webster’s New Collegiate defines secularism as “indifference to or rejection of religion and religious considerations.” It defines secular as “not overtly or specifically religious,” as in secular music.
Even if Mr. Spencer were just speaking of secular rather than secularism, it would be wrong to call America a secular society or even a secular government, given the religious elements, the deference to God and appeals to God, that have always been a part of it, and that make us so different from, say, Communist regimes or the secularist states of today’s dying Europe.
Of course, secularism is much stronger and more objectionable than secular. Unfortunately, Mr. Spencer used secularism and secular interchangeably in his article.
“Secular”, like “cult”, has a positive religious meaning to Catholics: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13675a.htm
When the head of Bob Jones University (whose name was probably Bob Jones but whose ordinal I forget) called Catholicism a “cult”, I remember thinking, “Of course, and every well-educated Catholic already knows that!”
Since you build a case that Spencer is actually calling for a secular state, i.e., one that rejects religion and religious considerations, it would seem to fit into his anti-Islamist framework and oppose his conservative beliefs. It is however unreasonable to think he does because he has stated the complete opposite. So it is most likely the phrase that must be misapplied.
I am really not sure what you mean by Israel relegates non-Jewish Israelis to second class citizenship. By that you must mean the Arabs in Israel proper are discriminated against. I understand everyone in Israel has equal protection under the law. Can’t say the same for any other country in the region. You charge that “Jewish organizations” have been active banishing all traces of Christianity from American public life, are you referring to the ACLU and former Jewish lefties like David Horowitz (Who has thankfully had an epiphany)? You’re charging Jewish organizations in America and Israelis i.e., “The Jews” with undoing America. That is dangerous territory to tread.
You’re not telling me anything new. I’ve said exactly that twice in my above posts. I of course know that there was/is NO official state religion, there is only the WESTERN TRADITION and that includes Judeo-Christian principles as our guiding light.
Thank you all.
Of course, in Christendom, you had the articulation of society into the secular power—the empire—and religious power—the Church. But that secular power was fulfilling its necessary and ordained functions within an explicitly CHRISTIAN order, where ultimate spiritual and moral authority came from the Church. So secular didn’t mean what modern people mean by secular, i.e., total de-Christianization.
I stated that I thought secular meant freedom of religious conscience i.e., to follow ones conscience with regard to religion. I was not wrong based on the definition you provide:
“not overtly or specifically religious,”
This thread is helping me actually understand the terms in context better. If we are confused about the meaning of secular, secularism, society and government varieties, imagine the general population. We need an information campaign!
First, I want to thank Mr. Griffin for his kind words. I believe that the alliance between the Jews and the Far Right is realistic and inevitable in the face of the Muslim Threat. Rabbi Meir Schiller has been a vocal supporter of Afrikaner and Ulster nationalists, a Jewish woman was elected on the BNP ticket in England and another Jewish woman was elected on the FN in southern France.
There has indeed been a double standard amongst many American Jews. This point has been made by the eminent paleoconservative Dr. Paul Gottfried.
The bottom line is that American Jews must stop supporting mass immigration and the erosion of Christianity and must accept that America is a Euro-Christian nation. The sooner my fellow American Jews accept this, the better for all of us.
“America’s non-establishment of religion” must be qualified by the most important, and most neglected, word in the First Amendment: “Congress”. Several states had established churches which survived ratification. In New York, the Episcopal Church was established at the county level— though only in a few counties. Massachusetts kept her state church until the 1840s.
Mr. Spencer is thoughtful but mistaken when he says, “They need to acknowledge that even though Holland has largely abandoned Christianity, its secularism is based on principles, such as the equality of rights and dignity of all, that are inexorably Judeo-Christian and derived from Christianity….”
Rights, as Matt has taught, discriminate against others. Rights, man-made laws, are discriminations. A law or principle is either moral or immoral; dignity is pride, and Christianity, from a Catholic perspective, says excessive pride about anything but God is sinful. (Sin can be either venial or mortal; so pride is not always a mortal sin.)