Thursday, December 02, 2004


France Is The New Satan

"Already armed with 1,149,000 signatures and with thousands more pouring in from Holland since the murder of the film-maker Theo van Gogh, the group claims that most states want some reference to Christianity but were blocked by France." (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, '1m Christians sign EU religion plea', The Daily Telegraph, 25 November 2004; p. 19)

Oh right.

The assumptions of this article, which was linked by Drudge when it appeared, are absolutely stunning:

1) That the fight against 'terra' is a religious one; i.e., not only a battle between freedom-luvin' liberal democracies and those who want to destroy them through, or benefit from, mass murder, BUT RATHER a battle between Christianity and Islam.

Very useful point of view that is. Helpful AND accurate.

Except I don't remember the Christians standing alongside the secularists when the Islamists threatened Salman Rushdie. On the contrary, they tut-tutted that a pointy-headed atheist could be permitted to insult one of the 'great religions' and suggested that their precious blasphemy law should be extended to cover other religions too.

2004 update!! Christian Democrat Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has responded to the Theo van Gogh murder & subsequent tension with the same great idea! (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 'Blasphemy law revival upsets the Dutch elite', The Daily Telegraph, 18 November 2004; p. 19) More firm application of the Dutch blasphemy law (which his grandfather wrote) will solve it! He said that the law would curb "hateful comments" about religion.

Because that's obviously the problem here. When you consider violent crime in depth, you usually find that it was the victim's fault. Bet the Dutch are glad that they've got a guy like him to hold the tiller.

2) That one of the world's most solidly Catholic countries, France, is fighting determinedly for the other side.
There is an undercurrent of thought here that you may not be aware of. It is very widely held amongst the American right that France (the country with the headscarf ban, remember) is supposedly leading the Islamification of Europe as it 'falls to the darkness', as Gandalf might say.

As though the people of BENELUX, Germany and the UK are clamouring for reinstatement of the medieval fantasia of Christendom--or, if they're not, presumably it is because they've already 'fallen'.

Ahem. An average of 1.16m people attend church each week in the UK, and if increasing that diminishing percentage is a good way of responding to the threat of Islamist violence, then I'm a haddock.

I've tried to find some source for the idea that France is standing alone against the tide of Christian feeling, but I can't find anything about the issue at all. Tell me if I'm wrong. The four countries that supported the inclusion of reference to Europe's Christian heritage in the constitution were Poland, Spain, Malta and Ireland.

The lesson of all this is as follows: If you can't get a gratuitous swipe at France in your article, then Conservative commentary is not for you. But if you can, and it's really stark, the mighty Drudge will honour you.

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