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Europe from the roots down

"Europe from the roots down" Continued...

Issue: "Simpsons: Fair or Foul?," June 11, 2005

A protestant pastor in Sweden has been sentenced to one month of jail for having said that homosexuality is a sin.

In France a bill has been proposed (and rejected) to punish with up to four years of jail anybody who says that homosexuality is a sin. This would criminalize the moral doctrine of the great monotheist religions and impinge upon the rights of conscience.

WORLD: Does that animosity reflect the habits and thought life of most Europeans or is it, as in America, largely confined to elites and academic institutions?

BUTTIGLIONE: Recent opinion polls show that there is a broad support for traditional values if there is a cultural and political force that clearly and forcefully defends them.

WORLD: Is that animosity at the heart of what you describe as European "radical secularism," and could you define that term?

BUTTIGLIONE: Radical secularism is moral relativism assured as official doctrine of the Union with a thought police (inquisition) against all dissenters.

WORLD: How does radical secularism manifest itself in the important issues facing the European Union: Turkey's membership in the EU, the EU's stance toward the United States on terrorism, and the EU's rejection of you?

BUTTIGLIONE: The radical secularists want Turkey in the EU because that would dilute the Christian character of the Union. In these last months some secularists have been changing their mind, out of fear that Muslims might strengthen the position contrary to moral relativism.

Moral relativists will scarcely be able to say that the United States is right and the terrorists are wrong. They will rather try to describe the conflict as a "clash of integralism." Besides being known for my moral and religious stand as a Christian, I have been criticized for having said that we are at war with terrorism. This language has been labeled as American and un-European.

WORLD: What do you think of the statement by Condoleezza Rice that Europe and the United States are "partners by choice, not because of the inertia of our history, but because of our shared interests, and, indeed, our common values"?

BUTTIGLIONE: I agree. I only wish to add, shared interests and common values are not unrelated to a common history.

WORLD: What common values do most Europeans and most Americans have at this point?

BUTTIGLIONE: We believe in the dignity of each human person and in her/his natural rights. We believe that a family, formed by a man and a woman, has the fundamental function of procreating and rearing children. We think that hard labor and entrepreneurial initiative should be rewarded. We are convinced that there is a difference between Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, and no social system can live for long if it despises virtue. Europeans and Americans are brothers, we share the same values. We are not twins. The accents may be different but our fundamental values are the same.

WORLD: If current trends persist, what do you think Europe will look like in 20 years? In 50 years?

BUTTIGLIONE: I do not think that the current trends will persist. Some of them are destructive. If they persist Europe will disappear. Think for instance of the declining birth rates. Europe (as well as the United States) needs to rediscover the fundamental Christian values of our civilization.

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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