ARLINGTON, VA —The lower house of Belgium’s Parliament
voted unanimously on April 29 to outlaw full-face veils. The Senate
must also pass the measure.
This action follows Switzerland’s referendum in December that
outlawed the building of minarets. The French government is expected
to outlaw Muslim veils by September. President Nicolas Sarkozy has
said, “The burqa has no place in France.”
“Conservatives” everywhere are cheering. Finally, they
say, Europe has awakened to the danger and is taking appropriate measures
to repel the Muslim hordes. Danger, indeed, there is. If existing immigration
and reproduction rates remain as they are, almost every country in
Europe will be an Islamic republic before another half century passes.
Whether these measures are appropriate is another matter. Appropriate
measures rest on accurate identification of causes and the choice of
solutions targeting those causes. What the Europeans are doing fails
in both respects.
This is not the battle of Lepanto, reprised after 438 years. Then,
a vibrantly Christian Europe was under assault by the most powerful
empire since Rome’s. In response to the pope’s appeal,
the nations of Europe assembled a fleet to challenge the Ottomans soon
after the fall of Cyprus to the Sultan. The Ottoman fleet was more
than twice as large, but Don Juan had Europe, fervently praying the
Rosary and beseeching Mary’s assistance, behind him. The Ottomans
were no match for the allied Christian fleet and the Mother of God.
At the moment of engagement, the wind shifted slightly, giving Don
Juan the advantage. The Christians lost 7,500 sailors and soldiers;
the Ottomans lost twice that number and gave up 3,500 prisoners. Thousands
of Christian galley slaves in the Ottoman fleet were rescued. Ottoman
naval power in the Mediterranean was broken, never to recover. Thanks
to Lepanto, the New World became the chessboard of England, France,
Spain, and Holland, rather than of the Ottomans.
When, some years back, Europe was cobbling together the treaty to
establish a permanent European government in Brussels, the pope asked
for a written nod of recognition of the continent’s Christian
legacy. His request was brushed aside.
That dismissive attitude betokens the principal cause of Europe’s
present predicament. Europe’s magnificent cathedrals are conspicuously
empty of worshipers. Christianity is passé, and various forms
of neo-paganism are marching through the national cultures. The percentage
of Muslims who take their religion seriously, even in the belly of
this neo-paganism – perhaps partly in response to it -- is much
Europeans revel mindlessly in la dolce vita, delay or shun marriage,
contracept with every hookup, abort the contraceptive failures, and
push their birth rates far below replacement level. Muslims revel in
the arrival of every child and eagerly await the culmination of their
demographic warfare. Call it revenge for Lepanto, if you will.
Only one thing can forestall their victory — a revival of Christianity
I mean serious Christianity. A Christianity that sets aside enmity
and legal repression; that recognizes that the duty of each Christian
is to display the loving and beautiful face of Christ — in feeding
the hungry, succoring the poor, and visiting the sick and dying —
to a cynical world; and, yes, in loving our enemies by, as St. Francis
of Assisi counseled, constantly preaching the Gospel, by words if necessary.
Europe was more in need of Mother Teresa than India.
Jihadism is best countered by conversion to Christianity, an extremely
difficult thing to do with Muslims, admittedly, but not unheard of.
Pagan Rome tried for almost three centuries to stamp out Christianity
with bloody persecutions and relentless repression. That approach did
not work out well for them. Attempts to ward off Muslim ascendancy
by invading their countries, propping up their repressive governments,
and, after we have opened our doors to their immigrants, restricting
their religious freedom will not work out well for us, either.
Islam is essentially an Arab resuscitation of the ancient Christian
heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, and which
once claimed the allegiance of a majority of Catholic bishops as well
as of several emperors after Constantine. Islam also shares the strong
streak of iconoclasm found in Byzantium.
The field on which this war is being fought, therefore, is fundamentally
theological. In one camp are the believers in a Trinitarian God, that
inscrutable mystery of a communal, yet undivided, Love that is the
source of all being. In the other camp are the Arians and their theological
heirs, who are scandalized by the notion that the majestic and unapproachable
Lawgiver and Judge could stoop, in person, to the level of His creatures.
To a Muslim, the most unforgivable crime is shirk (association or sharing
of God), which is what all true Christians do.
Ultimately, of course, victory will belong to those who possess the
truth — but the fate of Europe may be lost in the mists of time at
the final denouement. What the truth Europe now faces is that it has
abandoned the field to its mortal enemy.
And America is well along the same path.
The Unrepentant Traditionalist is copyright © 2010
by Frank Creel and the Fitzgerald
All rights reserved.
Frank Creel, Ph.D., a columnist and author, was an English teacher
in the Peace Corps in Turkey. He is fluent in the Turkish language
and in Arabic script.
See a complete biographical sketch.
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