Category Archive 'Coercive Secularism'
03 May 2006

Two Culture Wars in Europe

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George Weigel in Commentary has a must-read essay, discussing Europe’s current unhappy position: faced with growing Islamic aggression and intolerance based in unassimilable immigrant communities, while simultaneously experiencing a continuing assault on her own identity and traditions by authoritarian secularism.

The aggressors in Culture War A are radical secularists, motivated by what the legal scholar Joseph Weiler has dubbed “Christophobia.” They aim to eliminate the vestiges of Europe’s Judeo-Christian culture from a post-Christian European Union by demanding same-sex marriage in the name of equality, by restricting free speech in the name of civility, and by abrogating core aspects of religious freedom in the name of tolerance. The aggressors in Culture War B are radical and jihadist Muslims who detest the West, who are determined to impose Islamic taboos on Western societies by violent protest and other forms of coercion if necessary, and who see such operations as the first stage toward the Islamification of Europe—or, in the case of what they often refer to as al-Andalus, the restoration of the right order of things, temporarily reversed in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella.

The question Europe must face, but which much of Europe seems reluctant to face, is whether the aggressors in Culture War A have not made it exceptionally difficult for the forces of true tolerance and authentic civil society to prevail in Culture War B.

05 Jan 2006

Italian Court to Decide on the Historical Existence of Jesus of Nazareth

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A comedic spectacle worthy of the old-time confrontations between the Communist mayor Peppone and Catholic priest Don Camillo in the novels of Guiseppi Guareschi will soon be playing out in an Italian courtroom:

An Italian court is tackling Jesus — and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.

The case pits against each other two men in their 70s, who are from the same central Italian town and even went to the same seminary school in their teenage years.

The defendant, Enrico Righi, went on to become a priest writing for the parish newspaper. The plaintiff, Luigi Cascioli, became a vocal atheist who, after years of legal wrangling, is set to get his day in court later this month.

“I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression,” Cascioli told Reuters.

Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is “Abuso di Credulita Popolare” (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is “Sostituzione di Persona,” or impersonation.

“The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala,” Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army.

“In my book, ‘The Fable of Christ,’ I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ’s existence,” Cascioli said.


Signore Cascioli is evidently unacquainted with Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews (William Whiston, translation) 63:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

26 Dec 2005

Teacher Debunks Santa to Classroom of First-Graders


Theresa Rodriguez Farrisi, working as a substitute teacher in a Pennsylvania elementary school, last week, indignant that the lesson plan required her to read Clement C. Moore’s 1822 poem The Night Before Christmas to six and seven year olds, responded to what she viewed as the intrusion of religious expression into public education by delivering a diatribe debunking Santa Claus, which sent children home in tears.

She later explained:

Last week I substituted at a local elementary school in Lebanon County. The lesson plan required me to read the 1882 (sic) poem “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore to two classes of students. While I can appreciate the poem for its literary value, the subject matter is offensive to me, and the reading of this poem to the children imposed values upon me which are against my deeply held religious beliefs. I could not in good conscience present the notion of Santa Claus as a truth to the children, and stated so.

No public-school teacher should be required to teach a belief, custom or religion that he or she believes to be false, or be required to pass those purported falsehoods onto impressionable children, without the right to state a disclaimer. Furthermore, freedom of speech and religion, no matter how unpopular the speech or against cultural norms the religion, are protected rights.

A secular public school should not be propagating any kind of religion. The belief in Santa Claus as a divine, magical, omniscient, powerful, giving, loving father-figure, to whom children are taught to make supplications and requests, is a religion indeed — a distorted substitute for the Judeo-Christian God.

The misfortune is that the modest exposure to higher education this woman had in the course of her professional preparation failed to make her a more humane, a more broad-minded person. It simply left her, as contemporary education leaves so many, overly supplied with opinion, and poorly equipped with judgement.

23 Dec 2005

Christmas Censored at Massachusetts School

There is always another political correctness story coming out of New England. This holiday season, the town of Medway, Massachusetts, located southwest of Boston, has a middle school making the news:

MEDWAY — Some parents are scratching their heads after school administrators insisted students call a Christmas tree a “magical tree,” the color red was removed from green and red elf hats, and songs from “Jesus Christ Superstar,” were pulled from a winter concert.

Parent Tracy Goldrick said she has spoken to at least 20 parents who are, at the least, mildly annoyed at “the watering down of Christmas.”

Goldrick’s daughter, Tess, 11, said some of her peers were upset they lost their solos in the “Jesus Christ Superstar,” songs.

In addition, Tess said she was confused when her teachers said the Christmas tree that was part of the scenery for the play would be called a “magical tree.”

“About a week ago, we had to call it a magical tree,” Tess said. “And they changed our red and green elf hats to green and white. I think they didn’t want them to have anything to do with Christmas colors.”

25 Nov 2005

Liberal Grinches Steal Xmas in Boston


Reuters is reporting that Boston has officially renamed the giant tree erected this year in a city park a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree.”

The Nova Scotia logger who cut down the 48-foot (14-meter) tree was indignant and said he would not have donated the tree if he had known of the name change.

“I’d have cut it down and put it through the chipper,” Donnie Hatt told a Canadian newspaper. “If they decide it should be a holiday tree, I’ll tell them to send it back. If it was a holiday tree, you might as well put it up at Easter.”

Canadian response to PC in Boston.

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